Though, they are not recommended for beginner snake owners, those who like snakes as pets may find caring for a worm snake to be a satisfying challenge. They tend to hide most of the time and often refuse to eat. If you’re unfamiliar with their habits, they could starve themselves while hidden away. Taking care of them can prove challenging since they have specific, special needs. The following are helpful tips on how to keep worm snakes as pets.
Worm snakes, as their name implies, are small snakes who resemble earthworms. They grow to be only about 7 inches to a foot long with dark brown backs and pink underbellies. Their eyes are tiny, and their heads are shaped the same width as the rest of their body which is what makes them look worm-like. Their tails end with a sharp spine that they use for digging. They are non-venomous. There are actually two species of worm snakes in the United States. The eastern worm snake and the western worm snake.
While it may seem odd since the worm snake itself looks a lot like a worm, their main diet consists of earthworms. They also eat soft-bodied insects which, in the wild, they find by burrowing deep into the ground. They also like to hide under leaves, rocks, and logs.
First, you will need to provide them with a space to live inside your home. To house them as pets, you will need a terrarium or 10-gallon aquarium that is about 2-feet by 3-feet in size. Worm snakes spend most of their lives buried beneath the dirt, so make sure the terrarium is filled with several inches of forest bedding, peat, sphagnum moss, or coco-husk. Add some boxes or small caverns throughout the terrarium to provide them places to hide as well as a branch where they will be able to come out to bask. If you like, grow some plants inside the terrarium.
Provide them with a warm habitat, keeping their enclosure around 70 to 80 degrees F during the day and not colder than 67 degrees F throughout the night. Make sure that only one side of the enclosure is warm, so the snake can choose between cooler and warmer temps. Also, make sure the terrarium is kept at about 60 to 70 percent humidity since they lose a lot of water through their skin.
The snake is most active during the early morning and evening hours. Leave lights on the terrarium 12 hours a day, and turn them off for 12 hours at night.
Feed the worm snake earthworms that you buy at a bait store or dig up from your yard outside. Provide the snake with several live worms once a week. Also, feed them wax worms, butter worms, or silkworms, spiders, snails, slugs, caterpillars, and soft-bodied larvae.
Provide the worm snake with a bowl of water that is large enough for it to soak in. This will help them with shedding. Be sure to change it every day.
When handling your worm snake, make sure you hold it gently, supporting its entire body and avoid sudden jerking movements. Know that they tend to be shy and dislike a lot of attention. They might try to squeeze through the openings between your fingers. The worm snake does not bite, which is a big reason snake lovers like this variety, but they may press their sharp tail spine onto your skin. It will not pierce your skin, but it may hurt. They also emit a foul odor from their anal glands when they feel threatened.