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Discussion Starter #1
I may in the coming months have a spare 4x2x2 vivarium and I'm considering (amongst other options) having a snake in there next. I'm just a little confused as to the differing advice when it comes to what my size viv will allow me to house. (Just to be absolutely clear here - I'd be looking for a snake that could live in the 4x2 for its entire life - I absolutely cannot upsize). RSPCA caresheets seem to say that a snake should be no bigger than the length of your vivarium, whereas several other places seem to say the general rule is the length of your vivarium plus the width. Could somebody experienced please clarify?

I know that using a heatlamp rather than a mat means I'm restricted to snakes with little to no extra humidity requirements, but my main interest is in colubrids, so this would still appear to give me a lot of potential options. More than anything though, I just need to know for absolutely certain, what fully grown adult length of snake is my limit for a 4x2x2. My dream snake is probably an MBK, but some people have said an MBK can exceed 5ft, which if the RSPCA sheets are right, means that's off the table for me? Is that correct? To be honest, if it is, I'd probably look at a California King as a smaller option, but I'd just like to know what my max snake length is more than anything so I can then really dig in to what my potential options are.

Thanks!
 

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You don't need to follow the RSPCA directions - it's just a guid and to be honest I don't know many people keeping a 20' retic in an 20' vivarium. If you take their suggestions to the letter you could have a 8' x 1' x 1' viv that meets their requirements as the viv is the length of the snake, but it would hardly fit let alone turn round ! - this may explain the poor thinking behind the "enclosure length = snake length" suggestion


The dimensions of an enclosure have been discussed at length - just use the search function to see what has been discussed. So long as the snake has the space to move around and thermoregulate. A 5' corn snake would be fine in a 4 x 2 x 2 - If you can go larger all the better There are loads of people who keep a 4' snake in a 36" x 18" x 18" enclosure. It only becomes a problem when you try and keep a 7 or 8' boa in a 4 x 2 x 2. No one is going to prosecute you if you have a 5' king or con in a 4 x 2 x 2.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
You don't need to follow the RSPCA directions - it's just a guid and to be honest I don't know many people keeping a 20' retic in an 20' vivarium. If you take their suggestions to the letter you could have a 8' x 1' x 1' viv that meets their requirements as the viv is the length of the snake, but it would hardly fit let alone turn round ! - this may explain the poor thinking behind the "enclosure length = snake length" suggestion


The dimensions of an enclosure have been discussed at length - just use the search function to see what has been discussed. So long as the snake has the space to move around and thermoregulate. A 5' corn snake would be fine in a 4 x 2 x 2 - If you can go larger all the better There are loads of people who keep a 4' snake in a 36" x 18" x 18" enclosure. It only becomes a problem when you try and keep a 7 or 8' boa in a 4 x 2 x 2. No one is going to prosecute you if you have a 5' king or con in a 4 x 2 x 2.
Interesting & reassuring! I wouldn’t want anything over 6ft anyway. I’m not new to owning reptiles, but I’d be a first time snake owner if I went this way, so would definitely be sticking with a manageable size! Bit of a left field one, but can you keep a clean up crew in with a snake? Aspen shavings appear to be a popular substrate choice so I’m not sure if that’d affect that possibility or not.
 

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Some people use bioactive setups - sealed enclosure at the base, soil/sand mix, real plants and various beetles that break down the detritus. It wouldn't really work with Aspen as you have to think about the natural environment for the creatures that make up the clean up crew
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yeah fair point. Not a deal breaker by any means. More of a possible added bonus. I’d need to make some adjustments to the viv for a snake. Namely a lock on the sliding glass doors & cages for lighting. But again, perfectly doable I’m sure.
 

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You could get a melanistic Thayer's/Variable Kingsnake. They're like a mini MBK, getting to between 3 and 3.5ft long. Looks the same, doesn't get as big and Mexicana complex kingsnakes aren't as bitey as Getula complex kingsnakes in my experience.

Variables/Thayer's also come in a bunch of other naturally occuring colours and patterns too, so if you ever wanted to get it a mate/get the bug and want more of them in the future, you can get some variety.

Prestige Corns, Dragon Aquatics and Birmingham Reptile & Pet all keep/breed melanistic Thayeri.
 
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