Seasonal outdoor cages for snakes?

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Paul White
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Seasonal outdoor cages for snakes?

Post by Paul White » August 31st, 2012, 12:12 pm

Does anyone have experience with this for big snakes (my retics). There's about 4-5 months out of the year they could live outside OK I think, and I'm wondering if it might be viable to build a larger outdoor cage for them--house one outside one week, then move it back inside, and put the other one outside. Something like modifying an 8' diameter stock tank maybe.

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justinm
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Re: Seasonal outdoor cages for snakes?

Post by justinm » August 31st, 2012, 12:27 pm

As large as they are i would think you could rough one out with stud and heavy gauge fencing. If anything small or dumb enough comes in oh well right?

Paul White
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Re: Seasonal outdoor cages for snakes?

Post by Paul White » August 31st, 2012, 3:12 pm

I'd be worried about them getting out underneath it--they can be...determined. Also I'm not sure how I'd do a door. But maybe if I just use some heavy plywood and seal it for the bottom, then mount some 4 bys or something to around the corners?

I don't want them to get some nasty diseased wood rat or starling though! They get perfectly good rabbits and chickens.

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chris_mcmartin
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Re: Seasonal outdoor cages for snakes?

Post by chris_mcmartin » August 31st, 2012, 6:46 pm

Why not use mesh/fencing for the bottom as well? That way, you could allow vegetation to grow through, without worrying about escapes.

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Seasonal outdoor cages for snakes?

Post by Kelly Mc » August 31st, 2012, 7:15 pm

what a cool project. Maybe you could see about zoo enclosures especially those in warmer climates and get ideas . St Augustine and I think zoo in belize has/had pythons outdoors. Alot of times a zoo enclosure isnt built specifically for a single species - but for size, and living spatial principle of inhabitant. So by broadening your research beyond 'Outdoor Python Enclosures' you will find more material and cull what is relevent to your needs.

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Seasonal outdoor cages for snakes?

Post by Kelly Mc » August 31st, 2012, 7:36 pm

The foundation could be concrete basin that you could fill partially with topsoil and grow grass. Having a substantal portion above ground would offer security and minimize them pushing nose against /working on the line of demarcation between the enclosure and outside.

If a large reptile is enclosed in grid big enough to admit the tip of snout they often dont percieve of it as a solid obstruction and will continue to push against it, disregarding damage to themselves. So fencing must be small and not crossover but galvanized smooth. They mostly do it in corners at ground level where they can muster bodily leverage,or any place where they percieve some weakness or mysterious favor. So having a solid periphery up a couple feet or so will keep them from being able to do that.

VICtort
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Re: Seasonal outdoor cages for snakes?

Post by VICtort » August 31st, 2012, 8:32 pm

intriguing idea, Kelly makes some good points to consider. They make a plastic coated type of wire that may have some function. I would go to zoos and see the aviaries and maybe steal some ideas. Make sure the plastic is UV resistant before installing. I would check with the tegu/Cyclura/Iguana folks who have long ago made the move outdoors.

Security is a real concern, a python unattended can get into a lot of trouble...so you must be ultra diligent and make a very sound design. Believe it or not, there is a small Zoo down east of Cabo San Lucas, BCS. I recall seeing a very large Burmese python, which was kept outdoors year around down there. It looked healthy and very large...not so the Crotalus that suffered in a "pit" with minimal cover and crowded conditons.

With lots of cover and hiding places, I would think your pythons might settle in better. What is it you expect to derive from the project? Are you theorizing it is a quality of life issue or do you think there are health benefits derived from the sun? Certainly these outdoor enclosures are a bonus for Chelonians, Crocs, Cylura, Ctenosaurs and many other Saurians and some monitors....but I know of relatively few people who have done it with serpents. Many indigo and diamond python breeders have considered it, but I don't know how it worked out. With such a powerful and impressive and strong beast as large retics, you will really have to weigh the risks and benefits. If they should escape, we will likely be reading/hearing about you in the press. Also, some reptiles are said to exhibit different behavior when exposed to the sun, sometimes dramatically so i.e. Heloderma I wonder if it will enhance the often already spicy reticulated python temperment? It won't be fun if it becomes a battle removing them from the enclosure...

This project will not be cheap if you do it right, but if you are going to stay in your home for decades, it could be really impressive and versatile. The neighbors will talk about it...so there goes some privacy. Think about including a very easy to wash out water feature, it will be used.

Good luck and have fun, you will no doubt learn a ton...Vic

Paul White
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Re: Seasonal outdoor cages for snakes?

Post by Paul White » August 31st, 2012, 8:50 pm

mostly a quality of life issue; if I built it off the back or side of my shed I could go to 12x8' or so, and provide tubs suitable for soaking and possibly branches/trunk sections for them to climb on. I regularly take mine out now, and the sun doesn't seem to trigger a freak out mode on them (thankfully).

I've got 6' privacy fences around my yard with very good gates :D Just finished it up this week actually, been replacing sections at a time. There's stilll one section, but it faces a neighbor that likes the snakes. You can't see in from the streets at all anymore.
However, if I build it and it doesn't seem to work for them, I can put in some tortoises or something probably.

My biggest concern is heat; our nighttime lows never average above high 60s any time during the year. I'm not sure how hard it would be to install an outlet I could use to provide a heat mat or something inside a retreat. Security is a close 2nd. I'm sure the wood would be strong enough (if I get paranoid I'll use straight 4x4s) but the door is what is concerning. Maybe 3 latch points instead of one?

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Seasonal outdoor cages for snakes?

Post by Kelly Mc » August 31st, 2012, 9:35 pm

Paul White wrote: Maybe 3 latch points instead of one?
The very bottom one should be the type that drops into a post. And the closure a tight one. Its standard all exotic outdoor animal enclosures except hoofstock. Its not the escape thing but the fact that if a snake or large lizard finds the give they have been known to cumpulsively work on it and jack their faces up.

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Jason_Hood
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Re: Seasonal outdoor cages for snakes?

Post by Jason_Hood » September 1st, 2012, 6:52 am

Paul it has been done by the Australians for years and it has been copied by the Barkers and Crutchfield in the states. It works very well and gives more options to the snake. What many of the outdoor enclosures offer is a interior retreat. Like they would build it off the side of their house or reptile building and it allows the snakes to go in or out on their own. If that is not an option then a kids fort or something should be inside to allow complete cover. A large water pool that is either built in or heavy enough plastic to allow tipping over or a large bore drain plug is a good idea. And not black! The water gets too hot and the container gets too dirty. I saw one in Florida that the guy used chain link and concrete and poured the concrete right through the fence at the bottom... seemed pretty secure. Good luck and post some pics!

Jason

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Seasonal outdoor cages for snakes?

Post by Kelly Mc » September 1st, 2012, 8:25 am

Its often called a Nighthouse. They are attached to virtually every zoo enclosure. Basically a heated room or cubicle that in temperate climes is usually secured with the animal inside.

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Seasonal outdoor cages for snakes?

Post by Kelly Mc » September 1st, 2012, 8:32 am

When I worked in florida and also in ca in the warmer east bay I knew quite a few people who had outdoor enclosures, some permanent but usually semi - fairweather quarters.

Lots of things happen that have happened for a long time.

Paul White
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Re: Seasonal outdoor cages for snakes?

Post by Paul White » September 1st, 2012, 8:51 am

I'm thinking that I'd build a house inside it with 2x4s or something, and mount a radiant heat panel in there.
As far as water, I'd just move my 5' stock tank inside the cage and use that. It's got a drain at the bottom side of it. I may prop it up on cinder blocks to allow for a cool, elevated hide.

I'm going to talk to my dad and brother this weekend and see if they think they'd be up to helping me build it over Christmas.

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Seasonal outdoor cages for snakes?

Post by Kelly Mc » September 4th, 2012, 7:04 pm

Paul you are such a cool guy for doing this . . Retics are such an athletic, intelligent great serpent. Such a window of observation you will have that many keepers dont - who's big snakes are never given the opportunity to experience a space of on-scale enriched dimension.

I wonder how many others too, will be inspired by your project and do the same for their charges. I am a romantic and cant help thinking about unknown beautiful giants breathing fresh air, tongue tips analyzing blades of grass and feeling the sun on their spectacular skin - Dazzling.

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regalringneck
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Re: y-knot ... outdoor cages for snakes?

Post by regalringneck » September 23rd, 2012, 4:08 am

... and y limit it to snakes ?

... a bit stylishly l8te 2 the party ... but ive had whole communites of herps; multiple sps. of lizards, snakes, & tortoises in mine over the years ... w/ rock piles, oak snags, subterreanean refugia ... its really a gr8t way to keep nature close by ... : }

Image


... heres a coupla rock boas fd one winter day basking together under a caprock in there ... finding the baby rosys & chuckwallas each fall was always fun ...

Image

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Seasonal outdoor cages for snakes?

Post by Kelly Mc » September 23rd, 2012, 4:29 am

Excellence. Truly.

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regalringneck
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Re: Seasonal outdoor cages for snakes?

Post by regalringneck » September 23rd, 2012, 8:04 am

... morn'n Kelly, glad you like it, i sure did ... & have since moved ... : { ... but out into the real desert ... : }

...now folks down in florida really have this enclosure concept worked out ... these "lanai's" (or something similar sounding) are really quite the structures, i gotta have one ... eventually ... so ck this one out :

Image

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Seasonal outdoor cages for snakes?

Post by Kelly Mc » September 23rd, 2012, 5:53 pm

I would love to live in the desert :thumb: :thumb:

Hey Regal if you ever decide to take it easy and hire a grateful hand to do your grunt work - Im available and will relocate :D

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Nshepard
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Re: y-knot ... outdoor cages for snakes?

Post by Nshepard » September 23rd, 2012, 6:37 pm

regalringneck wrote:finding the baby rosys & chuckwallas each fall was always fun ...
So, they breed and hibernate out there? That is pretty cool!

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Seasonal outdoor cages for snakes?

Post by Kelly Mc » September 23rd, 2012, 6:53 pm

I see such scenario has a re-definition of captivity, of herpetocultures highest caliber.

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Nshepard
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Re: Seasonal outdoor cages for snakes?

Post by Nshepard » September 24th, 2012, 6:11 pm

@regalringneck, I am really interested in the "old door captive breeding" project. Do you have more photos or information on making your subterreanean refugia? That is really neat, reproducing a herp assemblage in your backyard!

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Re: Seasonal outdoor cages for snakes?

Post by Jimi » September 25th, 2012, 6:21 pm

...now folks down in florida really have this enclosure concept worked out ... these "lanai's" (or something similar sounding) are really quite the structures, i gotta have one ... eventually ... so ck this one out :
Those things are hurricane bait, I wouldn't put anything but harmless natives and locally-established exotics in one!

Cheers,
Jimi

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regalringneck
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Re: Seasonal outdoor cages for snakes?

Post by regalringneck » September 25th, 2012, 6:52 pm

... Kelly, you're hired @ 10x your current rate :D

Nshepard; buried 3 & 4" pipe, w/ an epoxy + gravel coating so they have traction, drain holes so they dont flood, buried under a large mound of soil w/ a rock pile assembled on the mound! If I was doing it again; id also bring in romex cable & put a heat unit in an underground masonry chamber for monitors & such : }

Jimi ( Hendrix ? : ... brother here i heard you was daid ? ) ... no argument but they can probably take the wind load pretty well, just not the falling trees :p

b-well / rxr

Jimi
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Re: Seasonal outdoor cages for snakes?

Post by Jimi » September 26th, 2012, 8:50 am

(Hendrix ? : ... brother here i heard you was daid ? ) ... no argument but they can probably take the wind load pretty well, just not the falling trees :p
Too funny about Mr Jimi. Yeah, he choked on his own vomit, he's daid indeed. Anyway - it's not an affectation, that's my real name and really how it's spelled. Blame (or credit) my mom for that. I like it fine, it's a little different.

As for wind firmness - in 2004 in FL, when Hurricanes Charlie, Francis, and Jean all pounded the peninsula in rapid succession, those aluminum lanais were pretzeled all over the place (in some subdivisions every single house has one). Perhaps materials and/or build specs have improved, that is the typical pattern after all, but...a screen room is still a screen room.

Anyway, no worries with "argument", just folks exploring ideas & anecdotes politely. Maybe my built-in bias for structural integrity requirements is unusually high due to my interest in venomous keeping. "No screw-ups, period." If it was just treefrogs and anoles or such, well, that's different I guess. The old joke about keeping a $2 screwdriver in a $300 toolbox might apply?

I really like that enclosure you showed from a previous backyard. Sweet! (What was that framing material above the masonry?) If you're now out in "the real desert" I take it you can now just have free-ranging wild "yard pets" you get to enjoy as they come and go? Kinda like Terry down in Green Valley?

Cheers,
Jimi

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Seasonal outdoor cages for snakes?

Post by Kelly Mc » September 26th, 2012, 3:38 pm

Jimi wrote:

I really like that enclosure you showed from a previous backyard. Sweet! (What was that framing material above the masonry?)

Cheers,
Jimi

Agreed. Its perfect. Especially important to this outdoor encl thread was illustration of the solid base above ground level. . It discourages compulsive pushing/digging behaviors when enclosing large species. If a person has a specimen that they have part time or full time outdoors and their animal doesnt do it - lucky you - but when they do it is relentless and will end up in self injury.

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regalringneck
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Re: Seasonal outdoor cages for snakes?

Post by regalringneck » September 26th, 2012, 7:22 pm

.5 " structural tubing w/ .25" galv hardware cloth, a 6' sliding window & a 4' x 4' screen hinged door; worked very well, no problems w/ cats & hawks, but 2x i actually had neighborhood kids &/or buddies release stuff in there w/o my permission!
There is also a center support in a concrete footer.
& I agree w/ you on the hots Jimi ; gotta be a super solid locked enclosure/room to responsibly possess them in our crowded cities.

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