Category Archives: Projects

Snake Report

Lately I’ve gotten really interested in snakes. Our school is getting a snake named Ratters soon. Right now he lives with Jess until we have a cage for him (which she’s building). Since holding him and Jess and Zack’s other snakes a couple months ago I’ve been to a serpentarium (click to see my post about this trip) and Repticon.

After Repticon I asked my mom what it would take to for me to be able to have a snake, and she told me to write a thirty page report about snakes addressing the pros and cons of having a snake, as well as how to take care of them and keep yourself safe whilst doing so. I’ve been working on it for a couple of weeks (including over spring break in Universal) and I’m a quarter to a third of the way through depending on how you look at it.

So far I’ve written about rosy boas and I’m in the middle of writing about Pueblan milk snakes. I’ve explored how to care for the individual snakes in regards to food, water, heat, humidity, the enclosure they’re in, and shedding. Every kind of snake is so different in the care that they need! Rosy boas shouldn’t have too much access to water in case their cage gets too humid, but Pueblan milk snakes should have a water bowl big enough for them to soak in at all times.

Here’s what I wrote about rosy boas. Please let me know if I’m missing things, any information isn’t totally correct, or if you have experience with snakes and/or other reptiles. Distinguishing fact versus fiction with online information is hard, especially when I come across wildly varying articles and blog posts.

Rosy Boas

This is the rosy boa. They can come in many different colors including, but not limited to, rosy pink, salmon, orange, brown, gray, white, and black. They are easily identifiable by the three stripes down their backs.

Description

Rosy boas are are considered excellent beginner snakes for many reasons. They are easy to find because of their popularity and they are not expensive. You can get a Rosy boa for as little as 25 dollars. Other snakes cost hundreds, and even thousands, of dollars! Also, rosy boas’ temperaments are perfect for new snake owners and children. They are slow moving, docile and enjoy handling. They are also small snakes, even as adults. Their adult lengths are usually 2-3 feet, with very few reaching 4 feet. Their diameter as adults are around the size of a golf ball.

In the Wild

Rosy boas are found in the Southwestern United States and Northwestern Mexico. They live in rocky places where they can hide under rocks. It is best to buy a captive-bred snake for a couple of reasons. First, if you buy a wild-caught snake their temperament won’t be like a captive-bred snake that was handled from birth. It may also have parasites and injuries. Even if a wild-caught rosy boa didn’t have any such issues, if too many of them are taken from the wild there could be a potential problem with population. It is best to purchase snakes from breeders who know about the individual snake, its parents, and any issues it might have. Breeders should also let you know if they have any concerns about the snakes. They should be able to tell you how the snake is with eating and handling, and what the snake’s enclosure will need for your snake to thrive.

Enclosure

Because rosy boas are small, their enclosures don’t need to be large. Adults do very well in 20 gallon tanks, which are usually 24 x 13 x 13 inches. The enclosure needs to be escape proof because rosy boas are known for trying to escape. The top should be made out of a specific kind of screen, because the snake may try to escape and injure itself if it’s too rough or the holds in the screen are too large. Instead, the top should be made out of a softer screen with smaller openings.

This tank would be an ideal tank (minus the cactus and leopard gecko; never house snakes with your other pets). This tank is selling for about $170, but it is also possible to build your own tank with a kit for less money.

All snakes need something called substrate. Substrate is the material on the floor of the enclosure. Substrate can be wood chips, sand, and many other things. The substrate you choose should depend on the type of snake you have and what it needs. Different substrates contribute different things to the humidity, heat, and comfort level in the  enclosure.

In the rosy boa’s case, it’s best to use newspaper, paper towels, wood chips, or CareFresh. Carefresh is like the bedding for hamsters or other rodents. Substrate should be changed every two months, and immediately if there is any smell. Also, with rosy boas, if any water is spilled in the substrate it should be changed immediately as this can lead to serious health problems. Besides the bimonthly cleanings, spot clean the enclosure 2-3 times per week.

Another part of the setup should be hides. Hides can be anything from elaborate little homes and (fake) skulls from the pet store to tissue boxes. Hides make the snakes feel safe. Some snakes like hides better than others, so for some hides aren’t as important.

Rosy boas like to have two hides; one on either side of the enclosure. One hide being the warm hide, and one being the cool hide. The temperature of the enclosure can be managed by heat tape or a heating pad and thermometers. The gradient of the enclosure should be the low 70s on the cool side and the high 80s on the warm side.

Something else very important when it comes to snakes is humidity. Some snakes, like the reticulated python, require very high humidity. Other snakes require very low humidity. Rosy boas are one of the latter. They live in very low humidity areas like deserts, so the humidity of the enclosure should not be more than 60%. If the humidity gets too high, the snake can quickly get respiratory issues. This is very dangerous and can quickly lead to death.

Water

To keep the humidity down for the reasons mentioned above, you shouldn’t give your rosy boa constant access to water. Instead, put a water bowl in for 1 day 1-2 times per month. This way, your rosy boa still has access to water and the humidity won’t reach a dangerous level. As long as the snake eats well, the snake will stay hydrated from the mixture of biweekly water access and mice.

Food

Related to the water is the food. Rosy boas only need to be fed one mouse 2-4 times per month. The age of the mouse will correspond with the size of the snake. Baby rosy boas will eat the baby mice, called pinkies, while adults can eat small adult mice. When you get the mouse, it will be frozen. When it is time for your snake to eat, take the mouse (it will be in plastic packaging) and submerge it in warm water. To make sure the mouse is completely defrosted, squeeze it in the middle. If it is completely soft and you don’t feel anything frozen, it is safe to feed to your snake. After feeding, snakes should not be handled for two days or until the mouse is no longer visible in the body. If the snake is handled at this point then it may regurgitate the mouse, and nobody wants that.

Thanks for reading!

Winthrop Eagles

This week, as you probably know, was the beginning of March Madness/March Mayhem/NCAA Tournament. In case you don’t know, this is a tournament between the top college men’s basketball teams in the country. There are 64 teams who play each other until there is a winner.

There is a college called Winthrop University out of Rock Hill, South Carolina. This year, Winthrop made it into the NCAA tournament for the the first time in (I believe) ten years! The reason this is exciting for me is because my family knows two of the players; Anders and Bjorn Broman, who are brothers. Because we know them, we get to go to a lot of Winthrop’s home games.

There was a Selection Sunday watch party at the Winthrop Coliseum my family went to. Winthrop was the number 13 seed and was going to play against the number 4 seed.

Thursday, March 16th the Winthrop Eagles played the Butler Bulldogs in Milwaukee. They unfortunately lost by 12 points, but it was still a really good game to watch. It wouldn’t have been such a sad loss if it wasn’t the last time I’ll see the seniors (Keon Johnson, Tevin Prescott, Josh Davenport, Hunter Sadlon, and Roderick Perkins) play.

I’ve decided to draw all of the Winthrop players and then get it autographed! I have drawn 14 of the 16 players on the team, including red-shirted players. Here’s my progress so far!

winthroppicwinthroppics

My NaNoWriMo Project

This week I got a little bit behind on my Wings Sprint, so I’ve decided to blog about something else.

If you’ve been following my blog for around a year, you should know that every year I participate in a program called NaNoWriMo. That’s an abbreviation of National Novel Writing Monthy (Which is November). I have participated and won 2 times and plan to win this year as well.

The idea is that you write an entire novel in the month of November. For adults, the minimum word count to win is 50,000 words. As a kid, I can decide what my word goal is. In 2014 I won with 12,000 words and in 2015 I won with 14,000 words (maybe 15,000, I’m not positive about that). This year I want to write 18,000 words. Kids can change their goal up until the last week of November, though, so if I need to I can lower it to be more realistic for my schedule and what’s happening in my life.

This year I’m super excited about my plot! I was actually a bit too excited, though, and I’ve already started writing. I have a few thousand words. I’ll start a new document once November starts so that I can keep track of what I wrote solely in November. I don’t believe this is unfair as long as I don’t use my writing from the summer as part of my November writing.

I’d be interested in started a group on this site if anyone else was going to participate this year! I really suggest it enjoy it every year. The feeling of satisfaction when you’re done is awesome.

Message me if you are interested!

Drawing Portraits!

For the last two days or so I’ve been really enjoying drawing portraits. I’ve also started enjoying watching basketball more and more in the last few months. The reason I’ve started liking basketball recently is because my Dad is friends with two members of the basketball team at Winthrop University; where my Mom is going to college to get a degree in psychology. The players on the team are Anders and Bjorn Broman; they used to live in Minnesota where my Dad is from. They can usually get us player seats (seats that are behind a basket and in the first few rows) at the home games. We have gone to practically every single one (probably 3-4 missed at the VERY most) and I have started to understand it a whole lot better. Therefore, when we couldn’t get tickets lastnight (Thursday night) we watched the game on ESPN. While we were watching I drew a portrait of Keon Johnson; the featured player that night. I finished it up this morning and I am SUPER happy with how it turned out.

Then today, @animalfreak9 told me to draw Bjorn Broman, and I did! I worked on it for at least an hour; possibly two. I’m a little less happy with how that one turned out, but my Dad guessed who it was right away, so it’s good enough!

My plan now is to draw all of the teammates of the basketball team and then mail then to Anders or Bjorn. I’ll try to remember not to sign it (I forgot with both Keon and Bjorn 🙁 ) and then enclose a riddle with it. They’ll have to figure out who it is 😀

Chances are they’ll never find out and I’ll just ask my Dad to tell them it was me. The only time I met the two was when Anders, Bjorn, their parents Jill and John, their sister Anna and her husband were over at our house for dinner. I served Anders and Bjorn cake and that was the extent of our contact so it’s quite possible they’ll never know.

Here are the pictures!

Keon Johnson                                          Anders                    Bjorn Broman

keon  bjornanderskeonbjorn Keon on the left/top, Bjorn is the other one.