By your rodents from a reputable dealer that feeds rodent block to their animals and not dog food or bread- as either ingredients are like feeding fast food to the snake and rodent. Your snake doesn't need a rodent filled with a bunch of "fillers"..
Adult or Baby
I usually recommend that people get a sub-adult or adult snake. Such snakes are established eaters, not easy to lose thru a small crack in the lid, and easier to find when they do get loose. A snakes colors can change radically from a hatchling to an adult. A orange snake can change into a purely red snake or a pink snake into a white one. You don't know what the finished adulthood colors will be until they are grown. Adults are generally cheaper in the long run then a hatchling - whatever you save on initial price of a young snake will be put back into the snake in upkeep and food. Adults are usually more settled down then young snakes and aren't nippy (like milk snakes can be). On the flip side it is truly magical to watch a snake that is 7 inches and as thick as a pencil grow to a 3 ft adult in a matter of years. In the end its your preference
Can I keep 2 snakes in the same tank?
You can keep more then one corn, rat, and some milks in the same tank. This is HIGHLY DISCOURAGED to keep king snakes in the same tank. All of these snakes CAN be cannibalistic. Anytime you keep two or more snakes in the same tank you risk them injuring, stressing each other out, or even killing each other. Also if one snake gets sick likely your second snake will also get sick. Personally if you've the space for two tanks get two tanks. It cuts down on oopsi clutches, regurgitation due to stress, cannibalism , and spread ailments. If you are set on putting two snakes in one tank- make sure they are similar size, same gender , its NOT during breeding season ( males will kill each other during breeding season for mating rights) , and that they are the same type of snakes. DO NOT PUT BALLS IN WITH CORN SNAKES, OR ANY SNAKE IN WITH A KING OR MILK SNAKE!
If you just got a new snake and are set on giving your established pet a friend- wait 30-60 days before putting the new snake in the same room with your snake. ALL NEW SNAKES -EVEN FROM ME- SHOULD BE QUARANTINED FOR AT LEAST 30 DAYS to make sure they are healthy.
Health- Concerning Eating
How often do they eat? What size food item do I feed?
You should be feeding your snake once a week. Most snakes are agreeable to this arrangement. You will try and feed snakes prey that is no thicker then the thickest part of the snake. If the item is thicker then the snake DO NOT FEED IT TO YOUR PET. Your snake may not be able to swallow it and become very frustrated when it can not eat its dinner. If your snake does manage to swallow the extra large size meal it may regurgitate when the stomach can't digest the prey because it is too big. You can actually end up killing your beloved pet by feeding an item that is to big - the meat can rot in its gut or even internal injuries can result. You should also avoid feeding during shed especially with hatchlings. Sometimes the shed will catch on the prey item and stop digestion as well as purging the item from the body.
Reasons your snake may not eat and what to do:
1. It is a hatchling and is not yet established on eating or has never eaten . This does occasionally happen. Sometimes it takes a hatchling a month or more to get into eating- they are still digesting and living off the yolk from their egg for the first month of life. So if its not eaten in a month do not worry but you may need to force feed.
1b. Hatchlings are more prone to suddenly stop eating after they've been eating fine for several weeks or months. If this continues more then 2 feeding cycles you may need to brain or scent your pinkies to entice your little one to eat. Braining is not for the faint of heart- you take a f/t or pre killed pinkie and use a knife to poke the head. After this is done you go ahead and squeeze the pinkie a little so that the brain matter is on the head. If your doing this and live somewhere that you have access to frogs or lizards I'd recommend you scent the meal as well. You can break off a lizard tail and smear the blood on the pinkie. If you can't find a lizard take a frog (just a little green one) and rub it against the pinkie so that it smells of brain and frog. Go ahead and feed your snake at night in a container it can't see out of. Leave it till morning and see if the snake has eaten. This usually works in the more stubborn feeders. I'd recommend that you get a snake that has eaten 2-4 times over a non-eater if you are a novice with snake keeping. If this does not work you may need to force feed your snake.
2. It is winter time and the snake is slowing down. Many of these snakes will automatically start burmating ( a fancy word for snake's hibernation). People wishing to breed snakes will brumate them, starting at Dec 8th they stop feeding their snakes and two weeks later they lower the temperature down into the 60s . In February they start raising the temperature over a week period of time after valentines day. If your snake eats only occasionally during the cooler months and is spending more time "sleeping" this is ok. Please read a Care Book before attempting to burmate your snake.
3. A live prey item attacked your snake and now its afraid of its meal. You change your snake over to pre-killed. Yes this actually can happen, and they can remember that they where attacked.
4. Your male snake is around the female snakes and has decided that he'd rather mate then eat. Sometimes male snakes will go up to 3 months without eating when the breeding season starts. If this is the case please make sure that he is a healthy weight- (you cant' see ribs or easily feel them) . If your snake is a little skinny , male and not eating you need to take him out into a different room away from he girls so he can get some weight on him.
5. Your female suddenly stopped eating for the last month and is getting fatter. Sometimes females will stop eating once they've become gravid. Others will attack their food. Monitor her weight and make sure she has a small food item offered each week and one a day after she lays eggs. If she does not start eating within a week of laying eggs she needs to go to a qualified veterinarian.
6. The snake skipped a meal. If this is not normal for your snake give him 2-4 wks and do a health check after each meal. Make sure there are no parasites, soft spots, issues with scales, or anything wrong looking with your snake. If there doesn't appear to be anything wrong and your snake hasn't eaten in a month take it in to the veterinarian. If you don't feel comfortable waiting that long take it in after week two. If you do see ANY sign of aliment please seek qualified help in treating your animal.
I am not a veterinarian and this health page is not to be used in place of qualified medical advice or treatment for your pet. If your animal is sick or seems to be experiencing health issues please seek a qualified veterinarian.