Children's Python – nutrition and water
Children’s pythons must be supplied with clean drinking water at all times. Water should be provided in a shallow dish that is large enough for the snake to curl up in and submerge its whole body, while being easily accessible for the snake to exit and enter. The water dish should be appropriate to the snake’s size and juvenile snakes should be provided with smaller shallow water dishes.
Water dishes should be cleaned and refreshed daily.
Snakes that are shedding may need to access water to help soften the skin that they are shedding. If a snake appears to be having trouble shedding their skin, they can be placed in a secure container with a lid and a shallow depth of warm water (25 to 29°C) to soften the skin for a period of time no greater than an hour. The snake’s keeper will then have to remove the retained skin manually (It should be noted that when soaking a snake like this the water depth in the container should be no higher than halfway up the snakes body as if it is any higher the snake will have to constantly swim and there is a risk of drowning if the snake tires.)
When a snake sheds its skin, it is also important to ensure that the skin has come away from the snake completely as sometimes it can get caught and retained on parts of the animal which can lead to constriction and health problems. A couple of the more common areas that this can happen is the tail tip and the eyes. Retained skin in both these areas can be difficult to notice, therefore after each time the snake sheds it is essential that it is closely checked over.
One of the most common issues with retained skin is if caught on the tail tip it can constrict the tail reducing blood flow that in turn leads to necrosis and the loss of the end of the tail and may also lead to infection that could be life threatening.
The best and most common commercially available food for feeding snakes is whole mice. These can be purchased frozen from reptile stores and some pet stores and can be purchased in quantities that will last several months and kept in the freezer until needed. Frozen mice can be purchased in a range of sizes to allow appropriate sized mice to be purchased for the size of the snake. Frozen mice must be defrosted and fully thawed prior to feeding.
Feeding live animals to snakes is prohibited in schools.
A typical feeding schedule for a juvenile snake is one appropriately sized mouse per week. An adult snake is typically fed once every 2 weeks. When snakes are going through their “skin shedding cycle” (the eyes appear a blue-grey colour and the skin becomes dull and opaque) they will often refuse to eat and do not need to be fed.
Great care should be taken while feeding snakes as there is potential for them to mistake a handler's hand or arm for their prey, leading to accidental bites. Snakes should be fed using a long pair of forceps or similar tool to ensure that the food is held away from the handler's hand and arm.