Something that really confuses me (newbie)

Discussion in 'Australian Snakes' started by MouseNo4, Oct 16, 2019.

  1. MouseNo4

    MouseNo4 Not so new Member

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    Is how common contradictory advice is among owners, breeders and sellers regarding pretty much everything.

    The shop I purchased both my snake and enclosure from tells me something will be perfect, yet my local pet shop who has had snakes for YEARS will swear black and blue that the other information is completely wrong.

    Neither has any kind of vested interest in getting me the 'right' information, so there isnt any real reason to lie or bullshit.

    I mean, i own a Stimson's python and the reptile shop tells me UV lights are not really needed and that it is merely optional. Yet my local pet shop who has had many snakes for years, tells me UV lights are absolutely necessary and i am encouraging poor health by NOT having them.

    Frustrating.
     
  2. Sdaji

    Sdaji Almost Legendary

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    Misinformation comes from a mixture of stupidity and bad intentions.

    UV is not relevant keeping Stimson's Python (I've been keeping and breeding reptiles for decades, I'm a qualified biologist). In terms of honesty and bias, people working at pet shops are typically like the love children of used car salesmen and politicians. In terms of competence, they're typically not much better. You get a few knowledgeable ones but they're rare, and honest ones are even more rare. They are all there to make money, which they primarily do by selling things. Telling you something is essential is a way to sell it to you. Shops convincing customers things are essential is a big way that myths are created.
     
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  3. MouseNo4

    MouseNo4 Not so new Member

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    So the problem exists - how do you get the CORRECT information and WHO do you/should you trust? A dedicated reptile shop? A big pet store chain? Someone who has owned many snakes for years? Some random person on a forum? (no offense)
     
  4. Herptology

    Herptology Well-Known Member

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    Trust people who have been doing it for decades and aren’t Making money by helping you

    Books are also a good thing

    You sort of have to average out the info you get, 20 well known breeders vs 10000 idiots

    Pet stores are in it for the money
     
  5. MouseNo4

    MouseNo4 Not so new Member

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    True but by the same token, internet people are in it for the fake internet points.

    Sadly... i recently lost my python book... so i am probably going to have to buy it again. It was a book with a brown and cream snake's head filling up the front cover. I forget the title.

    https://books.google.com.au/books/a...l?id=5asOGQAACAAJ&source=kp_cover&redir_esc=y

    This was the book i lost.
     
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  6. Herptology

    Herptology Well-Known Member

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    That’s a very good book!

    I’m not too sure how Better to explain it, listen to the pros instead of everyone else

    For example I only prioritise about 10 people’s experience and tips above others on here, they will know who they are! And this is only because I know of their experience and their contributions towards the reptile hobby

    And on say Facebook, I only trust people who I have mutual friends with (big reptile people x big reptile people, with reputation)

    Don’t bother with pet stores anyway, they mark their prices through the roof ESPECIALLY for food! About 2-3x the price you can pay from somewhere like rodent farm or people such as yellowtail
     
  7. MouseNo4

    MouseNo4 Not so new Member

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    I guess that is one such question i have not thought about. Where to source more food once the food i was given with the snake, runs out. I just assumed the local pet store would stock them. It isnt like he would eat 10 mice a week. More like 10 mice in 10 weeks.

    And another point of rigorous debate is the, and i quote, ''click clack'' my little boy is currently housed in. Numerous websites and python owners state that having him enclosed within a small plastic enclosure is better for him, with substrate, water bowl, hide and a heat mat is 100% sufficient until he reaches about 12 months old or so.

    Yet there are many others who would argue until blue in the face, that doing so is wrong and that because a snake is a wild animal and would not be within such a tiny enclosure in the wild, that keeping a young snake within one will cause health problems.

    I have chosen the former as the ''correct'' answer, though it annoys me that there isnt a straight, black and white answer to debates such as this.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2019
  8. GBWhite

    GBWhite Well-Known Member

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    Yes the problem exists and it's mainly due to either inexperienced people offering poor advise that has been passed onto them and/or pet shops trying to make a profit by sell unnecessary items. You've asked for advice and got it from one of the most experienced keepers on this forum. I fully concur with everything Sdaji has stated.

    The best thing you could do would be to buy yourself the same book or similar outlining the best practice for keeping Stimpson's Pythons. The author of the book you referenced, Mike Swan has been involved in reptile for eons and you couldn't get much better info. Alternatively these are also available:-

    Keeping Children's Pythons by Greg Fry and Adam Green

    A Guide to Australian Pythons in Captivity by Adam Elliott.

    I have kept reptiles for over 50 years and during that time have worked for Reptile Parks and Zoos as well as maintained my own collection which has involved keeping and breeding not just members of the Children's Python complex (which includes Stimpson's Pythons) but a huge variety of different species of Australian snakes and, like myself, have many, many very experienced keepers as friends and associates with years of experience that have never used UV for their snakes.

    You'll also find that the vast majority of very experienced keepers maintain their hatchlings in "click clacks" for the first 12 months and do this to minimize health issues that may arise from maintaining them in a larger enclosure. Snakes aren't fussed with aesthetics and can be maintained rather easily so long as the requirements for their well being are provided (i.e. warmth, water, food and clean environment).
     
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  9. Sdaji

    Sdaji Almost Legendary

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    Knowing who to take seriously is a challenge for newbies. Once you're experienced and highly knowledgeable you can almost immediately recognise who is genuine and knowledgeable and who is an idiot or a con man, but by that stage you're beyond the point of critically needing advice.

    This piece of advice will serve you well and it doesn't only apply to reptiles, it applies to everything you will every do in life; be very wary and sceptical of advice from anyone who has something to gain from you believing that advice. Pet shops exist to make financial profit from you. A very few of them will be honest with you and give you good advice, the vast majority will lead you up the garden path. In over 30 years of being extremely interested in reptiles I can't recall ever learning anything about reptiles in a pet shop, and I couldn't begin to count the number of lies I've been told, as well as misinformation given to me in good faith by inexperienced staff. A fun game for any experienced herper is to walk into a pet shop, pretend to be a newbie interested in buying their first snake and asking for some quick advice. It's quite disturbing what you get told.

    Books are generally good. Any idiot can post on the internet (although a discerning reader will be able to tell who is an intelligent poster and who is probably a moron) but most people will never write a book or magazine article. I used to have a regular column in the main Australian reptile magazine and I wrote articles for all of them over the years, although unfortunately they've now all gone out of print. Having said that, even books contain misinformation at times. One thing to keep in mind when reading books (and most online information, care sheets, etc) is that they massively err on the side of paranoia and caution. They are more virtue signaling than genuine care advice. They won't say 'realistically, everyone does xyz and that's all you need' they will say 'you should do abc' and the abc is way beyond what anyone including the author actually does. You'll see them talking about absolute precision temperatures (the American ones are particularly prone to this) when in reality no one knows what temperatures their enclosures are at the hot and cold ends every day of the year to within half a degree. Few large scale keepers change water bowls more than weekly, many do it every second week and a fair few even less. They get fastidious on pointless details and accuracy which removes focus on the important issues and the big picture and leaves newbies quite confused. There are also cases of people deliberately publishing misinformation to mislead people in order to reduce the chances of competitors having breeding success, so you need to be careful. Sadly, even some of the biggest names with the best reputations are quite dishonest and in some cases outright sinister.

    Look at how long people have been around. When I was first keeping reptiles I didn't know what the internet was so things worked differently, but it's easier these days. For example, we're here on APS. I first joined APS in 2004 (I was actually in a laboratory at the time with a gecko in a test chamber hooked up to that computer) and during that time I've seen many people lie and rip people off and so constantly change their name/accounts over the years to try to escape their reputation. The ones who stick around long term maintaining their integrity are worth listening to. There are plenty of people who will lie to your face and stab you in the back in this hobby, many of them are very petty, but there are also some of the best people you'll ever meet in the herp world. Some of the best and worst people I've ever known have been ones I've met through the herp scene.
     
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  10. -Adam-

    -Adam- Not so new Member

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    I'm in a similar boat to you - I've seen some contradicting advise, and it's not easy to figure out what to do.

    I think there is multiple reasons for misinformation, and I don't think it just comes down to shops just wanting to make money (although I'm sure that's part of it).

    I at least like to think that most people are genuine when they give you advise - the problem is that the knowledge that they have may have been from a bad source, so they believe what they say themselves, but they're passing on bad advice.

    In saying that - agenda's of people with advise is a problem and needs to be considered.

    There are people pushing their own agenda's out there.

    Pet shops are one and has been mentioned.

    Another example that's not pet shop related that I came across the other day is an online article from PETA saying that we shouldn't keep snakes because a survey in the UK showed that at least 75% of reptiles die from stress within one year!!!

    Now is that an article that is about sharing the truth of the matter as it stands, or have they gone out of their way to find the worst statistic available to them possible to push a prejudice notion of what they want to believe because they were biased before they even started the investigation?


    My thoughts are to ask as many people as practically possible - don't just get an answer, get the logic behind the answer and even if you think it sounds good and you agree with it - challenge it as best you can first.

    As an example, you mentioned:

    The former advise sounds logical at first and when I first heard the same I thought - cool - that makes a lot of sense.

    However I decided to play devils advocate to it and see if I could come up with a counter argument.... and I did. Snakes born in the wild are straight out of hatching and that's the only environment they know. All their movements are voluntary as well.

    When you buy your first snake - it's been hatched for a while. What is it familiar with? Large open areas in the wild, or is a small click clack or small slide tub all it's ever known since it was borne?

    I figure it's all well and good for people to argue the 'in the wild' point - but these snakes were bred in captivity so their previous experience is going to be different from day 1.

    So now that argument (at least to me) has lost a lot of weight, and puts more weight on the breeders suggestions because they have more experience to back up what they say.



    Then there are the people that have been in the game a long time but are running with old beliefs that have since been dis-proven as we have better understood snakes. For some older people - they may just go with what they've always known because it works for them and this is the information they will pass on. This isn't just a problem for herp's - it goes across almost everything. There is wisdom in age - but unfortunately a lot of old wives tails or incorrect notions can also be perpetuated.


    Personally I think forums are great, provided you are aware that there is a high risk you will get some bad advice, but thankfully some people more knowledgeable will get on and correct others. Which one is right is the hard part.

    In the end - I think you need to get as much information as possible from as many sources, weigh the credibility of the information and come to your own conclusions from that.
     
  11. Mick666

    Mick666 Well-Known Member

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    Sdaji knows his stuff better than most, any advice from him is from years of experience.
     
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  12. nuttylizardguy

    nuttylizardguy Active Member

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    Best advice I've seen given is - do your research BEFORE buying the pet , not after .

    Take everything you read or are told online about care and husbandry with a grain of salt , a lot of poor advise given online.

    Buy from a breeder and ask them LOTS of questions about care needed, generally wont go wrong.
     
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  13. cement

    cement Subscriber Subscriber APS Veteran

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    Yeah well, truth is you can research until the cows come home but that still won't fully prep you for caring for a reptile. And as previously mentioned there are some very experienced keepers on here (which is a forum), and sorry but seeing as breeding snakes isn't rocket science even some breeders are still newbies themselves....

    The reason (which I guess should be mentioned), that snakes don't need uv is because they eat whole mammals, which includes fur, feathers, bones, muscle and organs. Now compare that to say a lizard that eats bugs and plants. The lizard needs the UV for vitamin D which then helps metabolise calcium from their food, where snakes get plenty of calcium and other nutrients from their whole prey. Snakes can live quite happily in complete darkness as well like in a roof, all they need is heat and a way to escape heat. They bask to warm up and that's about it.
     
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  14. -Adam-

    -Adam- Not so new Member

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    Agreed - in fact I think that can probably be related to almost anything. I know it was the same with us when we took our first-borne home from the hospital! Read all you want, listen to all you want - but you're never fully prepared.

    However in saying that - I'm still glad we prepared ourselves as much as possible. There's a difference between prepared as best as possible even though you can't be fully prepared, vs not being prepared at all. ;) I think the wisdom comes with understanding that you've done all that you can - but being humble enough to realise you still have much to learn.
     
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  15. cement

    cement Subscriber Subscriber APS Veteran

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    Thats a great way to put it... you can be prepared but the real learning only comes from experience.
     
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  16. Sdaji

    Sdaji Almost Legendary

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    Plenty of insectivorous reptiles naturally get no UV. There are plnety of geckoes which are underground until after the sun goes down and before it comes up. Some spend their entire lives in caves. Plenty of other examples too of course. There are also other insectivorous animals like frogs which eat insects and are outright photophobic and thus never get UV, but obviously live out their lives okay.
     
  17. cement

    cement Subscriber Subscriber APS Veteran

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    OP is asking about snakes and uv. Can you explain why snakes don't need uv then? And what happens to say a bearded dragon if they don't get uv?
    --- Automatic Post Merged, Nov 12, 2019, Original Post Date: Nov 12, 2019 ---
    --- Automatic Post Merged, Nov 12, 2019 ---
    Misinformation more likely comes from good intentions from someone who hears about or reads something, without being involved long enough to know the truth.
     

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