Anyone keeping snakes? - Router Forums
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 42 (permalink) Old 08-05-2013, 09:48 AM Thread Starter
Contributor of the Month
 
OPG3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Country: United States
First Name: Otis
Posts: 1,985
 
Default Anyone keeping snakes?

As many of you are already aware, I keep snakes (yes, they are all alive). This is a hobby that I have participated in since 1961 NON-STOP! Long story short: I was like the kid that had to tie a pork-chop around his neck to get attention from his dog...

My brother was excellent at sports - which my Dad was very proud of. David excelled at any sport, baseball, football, basketball, softball, soccer, rugby, golf and even horseshoes! He could learn a new sport very quickly and become a top player. He is also an avid hunter and fisherman.

I, on the other hand; didn't even qualify for Water-Boy. Since I had tried the pork-chop trick and it didn't distract our Dad from David's excellence in sports, I felt very much in need of some way to have something in common with our Dad. I later learned that our Dad had taken an interest in snakes as a teenager, so I suddenly took an interest in snakes in order to get his attention. David stayed-away from the snakes. This was good for me.

Now, 52 years later; I have a lot of experience with snakes and other reptiles. I finished my short college career in 1971 and applied for a job at the Atlanta Zoo - to work in the Reptile Building. I got the job and became a professional reptile keeper at age 17. This, however; brought with it several problems. One of these problems was that Zoo policy and Worker's Compensation Regulations prevented persons under 18 from working with the venomous snakes and lizards. With a full, thick beard (since age 15), I looked older and this disappointed the "higher-ups" at the Zoo. The rules simply didn't want me to get a fatal snakebite, but seemed to completely ignore the fact that I was left working with Crocodilians. Certainly, the "Crocks" were non-venomous, but nothing was mentioned about working with animals that could (in a couple of cases) swallow me whole! It only took about 6 months for me to see that working with hungry animals that thought of me as a "snack food" could shorten my career!

Well, this story could go-on to be a full book of interesting experiences, but I will now change into the purpose of this thread:

A few years ago, I decided to build some extra-nice, super-efficient, built-in cages in the basement of our new home. Previously, I had a miscellany of styles of cages, as my collection of snakes had reached a population of 135 specimens. I had 3- employees whose sole jobs were taking care of these snakes. Joy and I were in full-travel mode, and I was running a super successful business with dependable key employees who kept it running like a well-oiled machine. It was soon discovered that I had a form of cancer called "melanoma". Melanoma brought me to a screaching halt - but only temporarily for about a year. I had several surgeries and now, several years later have a "clean bill of health" - for which I am very thankful. The travelling slowed to a crawl, and Joy became increasingly handicapped (she has Sjogren's), so I downsized the collection to about 60 of the legless critters.

In 2006, I began the built-in cage building process. During this process I decided to change the style of doors to be fitted for these cages. My original design called for sliding-glass doors, but I decided that I wanted something more innovative, so I came-up with a design that I've now had in-use for several years and I could not be more pleased with. We have daily guests (often groups) that view the snake collection. Many of these guests come to see, handle and photograph a few of the super-rare snakes which reside in our collection. A very good (teacher) friend was recently visiting from Savannah, Georgia and brought with him a car-load of teenage "star students" who had a keen interest in visiting. This friend is about to endeavor a build of a similar magnitude and wanted me to give him information on the construction. I made some sketches for him and they are attached herein:

I honestly do not know if any of the readers will have any interest in this subject matter, so if anyone wishes; I can post additional info or photos.

Otis Guillebeau from Auburn, Georgia
Attached Files
File Type: pdf 1.pdf (29.7 KB, 226 views)
File Type: pdf 2.pdf (21.5 KB, 74 views)
File Type: pdf 3.pdf (21.5 KB, 41 views)
File Type: pdf 4.pdf (19.1 KB, 45 views)
File Type: pdf 5.pdf (27.3 KB, 44 views)
File Type: pdf 6.pdf (28.1 KB, 43 views)
File Type: pdf 7.pdf (47.7 KB, 47 views)
File Type: pdf 8.pdf (80.2 KB, 101 views)

OPG3

Tweak everything!
OPG3 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 42 (permalink) Old 08-05-2013, 10:00 AM
Registered User
 
bdusten's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Country: United States
First Name: Dusten
Posts: 97
 
Smile

That's amazing I love reptiles! I'm partial to turtles and tortoises, but when I was in school we had a monitor lizard everyone was afraid of it. Not me I use to take it home over the summer and any short breaks we would have throughout the year. I'm in the process of building an inclosure in my basement for my red-footed tortoise(Floyd). I want to get a couple of leopard tortoises but I have to get the inclosure built first, so I would love to see and hear more about your little friends.
bdusten is offline  
post #3 of 42 (permalink) Old 08-05-2013, 10:10 AM Thread Starter
Contributor of the Month
 
OPG3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Country: United States
First Name: Otis
Posts: 1,985
 
Default

Construction of the cages is quite elaborate, and candidly; I spared no expense. These were designed to last for many years, as this may be our last home ever.

Since this is only about the doors, the following info may prove helpful...

I figured when I built these that there is no better situation for full access than for the door to simply “get out of the way”.

I also figured there is no locking mechanism more dependable than gravity.

Door materials were #1 (clear) Southern Yellow Pine, galvanized 1/4" hardware cloth and brass (rigid) handles.

Not shown in the drawings are brass handles that are sturdy enough for me to open any door with one hand – even though there are two handles per door.

I used a Kreg Pocket Hole Jig and 1.25” long SQUARE DRIVE screws to connect the stiles (vertical) to the rails (horizontal) of each door frame.

The snakes cannot access the pocket holes where the screws are inserted – because those are under the screen.

The doors are fitted with ¼” (squares) galvanized hardware cloth.

Each screen of hardware cloth was carefully cut to the necessary dimensions and spray-painted with 3- coats of brown RustOLeum (what a pain, but I am glad I did this).

I used a router to create recesses for the hardware cloth – so the snakes could not get a cut or scrape from a wire end or edge. (I am really “picky” about stuff like this).

I used a pneumatic stapler to attach the hardware cloth to the interior of the doors. The hardware cloth (as opposed to the originally intended glass) makes for ease of misting the snakes in situ - which is often very important in the husbandry of arboreal, rain-forest species. I can simply spray water through the doors!

I have also written in sharpie (on the interior of the top rails) the cage number appropriate for each door – to prevent mix-ups, as some are very close to the same size. The finish on the wood for the doors is MinWax "Walnut" (the entire room is done like this, including the ceiling). This dark finish gives me the look I was hoping for - which is like a hotel at night with interior lights on!

Otis

OPG3

Tweak everything!
OPG3 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 42 (permalink) Old 08-05-2013, 10:30 AM Thread Starter
Contributor of the Month
 
OPG3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Country: United States
First Name: Otis
Posts: 1,985
 
Default

Dusten, Turtles and Tortoises are really cool! Over the years, I've taken care of numerous species of turtles (aquatic) and tortoises (terrestrial). The bulk of those animals were at the Atlanta Zoo, or at Fernbank Science Center (also in Atlanta). At the Zoo, we had many types of both (turtles and tortoises) and I really enjoyed them all! We had some Galapagos Tortoises and Aldabran Tortoises - which were kept in an "indoor-outdoor situation". They were allowed outdoors during the days when the weather permitted, and were herded back inside before we locked-down for the evening.
They consumed massive quantities of salads with vitamin/mineral supplementation!

When I was younger and had a much less hectic schedule, I kept several aquatic turtles. Softshell Turtles were my favorites along with (not in the same environment) Alligator Snapping Turtles. Softshell turtles actually use something called "Anal & Pharangeal Respiration" which works in a way remotely similar to "Gill Respiration" used by fish. Howard Hunt of the Atlanta Zoo was the first person to document this oddity in nature. I helped on the project by collecting data and compiling reports. Really cool!

There is a lady who works for a business of mine that I first met because her husband and I were "snake-collecting friends". The husband keeps and breeds tortoises, as well as snakes. Red Foots and Yellow Foots are his favorites! Too much work for me! Daily feeding, daily cleaning, UV this and UV that - all make-up to a lot of work in my opinion. The Red Foots especially seem to have very trusting personalities!

If you're ever in the Metro Atlanta area, please look me-up or PM me prior to your visit. You are welcome to visit our collection.

Otis

OPG3

Tweak everything!
OPG3 is offline  
post #5 of 42 (permalink) Old 08-05-2013, 10:32 AM
Registered User
 
bdusten's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Country: United States
First Name: Dusten
Posts: 97
 
Default

Would love to see some pictures if you have any. I have several I've started and I'm not happy with them so I have parts laying around that I've decided to discard I want it to be as perfect as I can get like you said it's their home and I want him to be happy. How is your wife doing I am so sorry to hear your going through all this. Have you gone under any treatment?

Last edited by bdusten; 08-05-2013 at 10:35 AM.
bdusten is offline  
post #6 of 42 (permalink) Old 08-05-2013, 01:46 PM Thread Starter
Contributor of the Month
 
OPG3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Country: United States
First Name: Otis
Posts: 1,985
 
Default

Dusten, Thanks for the well wishes. I am actually a two-time cancer survivor, now. Both times were melanoma, but I have been cancer-free now for about 7 or 8 years. Joy is under a doctor-monitored care regimen, as this is a disease that simply progresses forever, we understand; until there's a cure - she will remain on a lot of prescriptions.

We actually have some lizards, too - but only a couple. I have a "loose" (running free) Tokay Gecko who keeps the basement bug-free. I also leave him some mealworms out in the open that he is free to feed-on at will. I see him just every few weeks as he runs across walls, windows, etc. He spends a lot of time in my tropical plant room - which is in a brightly sunlit room also in the basement. There are always bowls of water out for him to drink from.

A really good friend of mine who was a fellow reptile keeper died about 3 years ago. His son didn't keep-up with the hobby and sold all of the animals remaining except for one Ocelot Gecko. The son joined the US Army over a year ago and I am keeping that little gecko until the son comes back (3- more years?). He is really cool and eats crickets and mealworms.

The only CAPTIVE LIZARD that we currently own is our Blue-Tongue Skink - he is of the Northern (Territory) variety, but was actually born in Athens, Georgia in the collection of one of my long-term employees about 7 years ago. It was a pre-arranged acquisition, so I got him as a tiny-little guy about the length of my thumb. My girls named him "Cobalt" and he is super-cool. The pictures were taken just a few minutes ago - one in the Reptile Room and the other in our back yard. Cobalt loves to be outside in the sunshine, but his presence attracts numerous birds (including hawks and owls), so I have to stay really close because I do not want him to be taken and/or eaten!

Blue-Tongue Skinks go through dietary preferential changes as they mature. When he was just a really little guy, his preferred foods were "wiggly" - mealworms and crickets (vitamin dusted, of course). Eventually he would eat store-bought baby food of the fruit or vegetable types - with larval mealworms wiggling in it. After a few weeks of this he would eat baby food. As he got older his need for protein was satisfied with "wet" dog food / fruit baby food mixed. Over a couple of years he lost his taste for the dog food and is now 7 years old and completely vegetarian. Many people have "huge" Blue Tongues for sale and they will be 14-18" long. As you can see in the first photo he is larger - not a record size, but certainly a respectable size.

Cobalt is afraid of dogs, except Molly - our Boston Terrier. They are best friends! They can spend hours together just curling-up together or licking each other! It is really funny to see. When other dogs approach, Molly gets "protective" of her little friend and the lizard widely opens his mouth, holds-out his tongue, turns jet-black and runs toward any other dog! I have never met a dog that didn't turn-tail! Even my middle daughter's highly-trained Rottweiler peed on our basement floor when the lizard ran for her! It's the only thing that ever "backed-down" that Rotty.

Take care!
Otis
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	COBALT_1.jpg
Views:	67
Size:	175.1 KB
ID:	64108  

Click image for larger version

Name:	COBALT_2.jpg
Views:	70
Size:	397.7 KB
ID:	64109  


OPG3

Tweak everything!
OPG3 is offline  
post #7 of 42 (permalink) Old 08-05-2013, 08:55 PM
Registered User
 
JOAT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Country: United States
First Name: Theo
Posts: 6,214
 
Default

Tortoises, fine. Geckos, very cool; on Sgt of The Guard duty in Nam, used to love watching them run across the ceiling, catching bugs attracted by the light. Snakes? Isn't that what 12ga shotguns were invented for?

Mine was colon cancer, in 2000. One operation (great scar), chemo, colonoscopy every three years (another one coming up in Sep, bah), and no probs since.

"It ain't what you're told, it's what you know." - Granny Weatherwax
Gather the villagers, pitchforks, torches; we march at dusk!
Some days, the supply of available curse words is insufficient to meet my demands.
.....Call me a craftsman, artisan, or artistic, and I will accept that. Call me an artist and you will likely get a quite rude comment in return. I am not a @#$%ing artist.
JOAT is online now  
post #8 of 42 (permalink) Old 08-05-2013, 09:59 PM
Registered User
 
bdusten's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Country: United States
First Name: Dusten
Posts: 97
 
Default

Cobalt is beautiful! I can't imagine a dog not backing down from him. My dogs would hide.

My Tortoise is particular on what he eats, he only likes the romaine from certain stores I don't know if they are different type but it looks the same but he knows the difference. I got him when he was young I've had him over 7 years. I was wondering if you knew if the pyramiding on his shell is because he is young or was he misfed before I got him. It took years to get the blue paint off him. I was walking through the mall and saw him at the pet store I couldn't stand to see the small aquarium he was in so I went in and named him Floyd.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	101_0328.jpg
Views:	63
Size:	512.1 KB
ID:	64128  

Click image for larger version

Name:	101_0325.jpg
Views:	54
Size:	602.1 KB
ID:	64129  

Click image for larger version

Name:	101_0326.jpg
Views:	55
Size:	345.7 KB
ID:	64130  

bdusten is offline  
post #9 of 42 (permalink) Old 08-06-2013, 06:40 AM
Registered User
 
neville9999's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Country: Australia
First Name: Neville
Posts: 1,840
 
Send a message via Yahoo to neville9999
Default

Otis we have 9 of the worlds 10 most deadly snakes so come and get as many as you like. Neville
neville9999 is online now  
post #10 of 42 (permalink) Old 08-06-2013, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
Contributor of the Month
 
OPG3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Country: United States
First Name: Otis
Posts: 1,985
 
Default

Theo, I am thinking those may have been Tokay Geckos or Wall Geckos in that part of the world. Many (but not all species) geckos have adhesive pads on their toes that enable them to "gain purchase" on just microscopic particulate surface interruptions. Some desert forms of geckos do not have these pads - simply toes with claws or something resembling a fingernail.

Dusten, Floyd is a really handsome tortoise! SERIOUSLY? - WAS HE PAINTED? I didn't think anyone was uninformed enough to still do that deadly practice. It causes a myriad of problems for the victim turtles & tortoises. Pyramiding is associated with dietary deficiencies - but I don't know enough about it to even carry-on a good conversation. I have several friends who keep and/or breed tortoises that I feel confident can give you a definitive answer. Floyd needs to be on a diet that includes a wide variety of fruits and vegetables with vitamin and mineral dusting. I assume you're keeping Floyd in a pesticide, herbicide and insecticide-free area of your yard and away from dogs, cats and especially raccoons! Floyd looks like he could win a blue-ribbon for coloration and uniformity! PM me if you need me to get you in touch with some of my tortoise-keeping friends! Give me your email address and best phone number in the PM and we can go from there. With good care, etc. tortoises can easily live 50 - 80 years, so their developmental dietary needs have long term ramifications!

Please tell Floyd to have a good day!
Otis

OPG3

Tweak everything!
OPG3 is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Router Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in











Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
One Of The Differences Between The EXpert And The Beginner... Jerry Bowen Tools and Woodworking 128 08-02-2018 02:45 AM
Snakes, Et Al JOAT Lobby 44 09-02-2013 09:24 PM
Some More On Keeping Cast Iron Clean Jerry Bowen Tools and Woodworking 18 10-26-2012 09:42 PM
Keeping Panel from sticking to Rail/Stile Joint groff5 Tools and Woodworking 5 03-01-2010 04:40 PM
Keeping my router locked in "on" position? MakitaMike Table-mounted Routing 4 08-03-2009 05:31 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome