My quarantine enclosures.

For quarantine enclosures, I utilize large plastic storage containers, modified with ventilation grommets, lighting, and heat panels. I've found that the benefits of such setups are many-fold - they're inexpensive, durable, lightweight, easy to clean, and easy to modify. Furthermore, the opaque sides of such enclosures can provide heightened security, which is especially important when acclimating freshly imported specimens that are recovering from the ordeal of the export process.

To set up a quarantine enclosure, I begin by installing some 1 1/2" vented grommets for ventilation and a 1 1/2" cord grommet for the heat panel and lighting cables. One can also simply drill holes around the upper perimeter of the storage tote, but I find that the ventilation grommets provide superior ventilation and also result in a more finished appearance.

In this enclosure, I also used a hole saw to cut out a 2 1/2" opening, which can be closed with a corresponding nylon plug, as shown below. This allows me to easily place snakes back into the enclosure after handling, without needing to open the whole lid, thereby avoiding accidentally closing the lid on an active snake's tail. It also creates less stress on the snakes placing them back into the enclosure using this method.

Once all the grommets are in place, I add a few climbing branches. For arboreal colubrids, it's optimal to provide branches that intersect, creating broader support areas where the snakes can comfortably bask. I make sure to strategically use a few screws to firmly affix the branches in place, so the snakes can't move them around and potentially injure themselves.

Next I drill a hole to feed in the temperature probe, and affix it in place using copper wire shaped into two U-nails. It's very important that the probe isn't somewhere it can be easily moved around or disturbed, as that can result in disastrous consequences. Because this enclosure utilizes a vertical heat gradient, I place the probe at the highest point (nearest the heat panel) and hook it up to a thermostat which regulates the temperature. In this case, the basking areas on the branches approach 88-90 degrees F, and the temperature beneath the hides on the floor of the enclosure are usually in the low-to-mid 70s F, with a gradient in between.

For substrate, a number of different materials can be used with good results - from newspaper, to paper towels, to peat moss. In this case, I offered a bioactive substrate mix seeded with springtails to help keep the enclosure clean and odorless, and simply because I prefer to offer more naturalistic displays whenever possible.

A multitude of different hiding options is a good idea with freshly imported snakes. In this case, I have offered one simple plastic hide, and a second hide filled with moist sphagnum moss which also has a built-in water bowl. These are good options as they offer different temperature and humidity gradients, particularly as the hide with the built-in water bowl stays cooler due to the water temperature.

Because many freshly imported snakes can become stressed by bright lights, I like to add some plastic or silk foliage to offer them a bit more cover.

Lastly, I install the heat panel and light to the lid of the enclosure, feeding the cords through the cord grommet - and just like that - an effective, inexpensive, and long lasting enclosure!

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