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" all I can say is "WOW and Thank You" . they will make my cage making a much easier and a more fun task. Once again thank you for your web site and you prompt support"
Burt Tejada

I am ... very happy with your plans, the organization that you have put into it and I am extremely happy with the response I have gotten from you when I have encountered a problem.
It sure does save money. At the same time it allows me and others like me to experience making the cage for our animal (animals) that we care so much about. I think that when someone takes the time to sit down and make something like this for their animal it really shows how much they care for them and respect them.

With your plans you can also alter the cage to each and everyone's specifications, or needs. I think what you are doing is wonderful and I want to thank you again.

Robert Hansford


"This is going to make an 11 year old and his lizard Rex very happy".


Spent $108.00 at Lowes, another $65.00 at Home Depot buying things that Lowes didn't have..... Spending time with my son in a hardware store.... PRICELESS!"


"Overall, the best thing I have found from the cage designs... is that:
They work!!!!

They allow you to view and touch your Iguana from all sides, This is a must!

Once you have the material list you don't go back to the hardware store.

Just follow the instructions and it comes out perfect.

Your maintenance will be much easier.

Your iguana will thank you

Once again, you will have built something cool. "

Regards and best to all our Green Iguana friends, Lance and Joey Portwood Glidden, Texas ".


"Very well thought-out designs"



Feeding Pre-Killed Mice to Snakes

By Christina Miller - Herptiles.net (http://www.herptiles.net)

While it is safer to feed your herps pre-killed food, some snakes/lizards/amphibians are stubborn or just don't recognize it as food if it's not alive. Snakes seem to be the most common problem eaters when it comes to pre-killed prey. Many wild-caught snakes seem to have trouble adjusting to eating pre-killed mice, rats, or rabbits, but there are several methods of getting that stubborn animal to feed!

Remember that when placing a dead mouse in the enclosure, never do it directly with your hands. Use long tongs and gloves combined for safety. When a snake smells food, it will usually assume that the first thing inside the tank is the main course, and that could be your hand. Also, never* feed your snake outside of the enclosure. Besides possibly making a mess of mouse (or larger animal such as a rabbit or chicken) flesh and innards, the snake may again mistake you for the meal! This form of keeper neglect has killed several owners of large snakes, especially species like Burmese and reticulated pythons (because of their large size and popularity as pets). Unfortunately, the press and general public jump on these cases and use them to give the hobby of herpetoculture a bad reputation. So, for the sake of the hobby and for the safety of you and those around you, take great caution with your pet!

Getting a stubborn snake to feed on pre-killed prey is often a gradual process. You can try feeding your snake live mice for a few feedings. Next, feed a live mouse which has been stunned, continue this for another few feedings. Finally, feed only a dead mouse.

Another method is to slit open the head of a dead mouse and smear some of the brain matter and blood all over the front of the mouse's head. When you place it in the enclosure, the scent of the blood may set off a "feeding frenzy" and the snake may go for the mouse.
If the snake you're keeping is a specialized predator (it only eats a certain type of prey- lizards, toads, etc.), it can get expensive. What you can do is place a pre-killed mouse in a small container with a live or dead specimen of the snake's prey so that some of its scent will rub off onto the mouse. If this works, you may only have to do it for a few feedings, allowing the mouse less and less exposure to the prey until it can barely be detected by the snake, who now accepts mice if this was successful. If this doesn't work, blood from the prey rubbed onto the mouse may be used to entice the snake to eat (preferably from a freshly killed animal, I personally do not approve of bleeding a live animal as it is quite cruel).

If you are having trouble converting your snake from pinky mice to fuzzies, there are a few ways you can do this. Try feeding your snake a "peach fuzzy," one with a very small amount of fuzz. Every following feeding offer a mouse with slightly more fuzz.
Finally, this technique should only be used with a healthy snake. Remove the water dish from the snake's enclosure for several days. Soak a fuzzy in a bowl of water for several minutes, then offer to the snake. Hopefully, the snake will decide to swallow the entire mouse to get the water.

A frozen mouse must first be prepared before a feeding: Don't feed the mouse when still frozen! To thaw the mouse, put it in a plastic bag and hang the bag in a bowl of hot water, replacing the water when it cools down. When you cannot feel any hard (still frozen) lumps in the mouse's body it is safe to feed. Before you think of it, do not try to to defrost the mouse in the microwave! There is reportedly a putrid smell, so just thaw the mouse using hot water. There is also another trick hidden in this, in some cases when the snake does not recognize something dead as food, the heat from the recently thawed mouse will sometimes entice the snake into eating it. After all, mammals, unlike reptiles, do give off heat when alive.

Chain-feeding is useful for stubborn feeders. While the snake is swallowing the first prey, make a second prey "follow" it using forceps. The snake will likely think it is the same animal and keep swallowing.

If your snake still refuses to eat, it may be his habitat that you need to reconfigure. The most common problem is a lack of a hide box. Snakes need one or several snug, dark places to escape to. The enclosure may be too hot or too cold, the humidity may be incorrect, or maybe it's the wrong type of habitat altogether. Environmental inadequacies can cause serious health problems in reptiles and amphibians. Snakes may also go off feed a week or two before shedding (ecdysis).

On the whole, feeding pre-killed food is safer, easier, and actually preferred by many reptiles (who wouldn't want an easy meal?). For the owner, you do not have to put up with the smell of mouse cages, the hassel of feeding and watering prey, or making a weekly run to the pet store (since pre-killed prey can be frozen). Your pet's safety is another issue. There have been countless cases where a mouse was left unattended and the predator became the prey, resulting in serious or fatal injuries. If this happens, bring your animal to the vet immediately!


Christina has always been interested in animals, but at nine years old discovered reptiles and amphibians to be the most intriguing. For her tenth birthday she received two Gekko ulikovvski, or golden geckos. Since then, she has moved her way around the reptile and amphibian kingdoms, now owning seven herps.

Christina studies animal health (veterinary) technology at Vanier College and is in the process of writing a detailed book about the care of leopard geckos. You can find more pictures and information on Geckos and their care at Christina's website.



*Personally I don't fully agree with this statement. Large snakes do require care but many snake owners feed their animals outside the cage in bins or large containers. The idea being that the snake does not associate you putting your hand into the cage with feeding, but picking it up or doing something else. When the snake is placed into the container they should begin to associate that process with food, not you hand in the cage. Also gloves are very useful when putting hands in cages of nippy snakes.


Mark Chapple is the Author of "How to build enclosures for reptiles"
Find out how to build homemade snake cages and lizard enclosures as well as arboreal cages. Full color pictures, detailed diagrams and easy to follow, step-by-step instructions.