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Joe Hymes Talks About the Importance of Enrichment in Snake Enclosures

From Audio: 8: Venomous Keeping for a Living | Joe Hymes - AE

Duration: 04:16
Joe Hymes talks about why it's so important to provide enrichment for snakes in their enclosures— especially if they have previously lived in the wild.
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Joe Hymes talks about why it's so important to provide enrichment for snakes in their enclosures— especially if they have previously lived in the wild. "Animals Everywhere" host Bryce Broom suggests that everyone should take a moment just to observe their animals and appreciate the beauty of their natural behaviors.
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how important is in Richmond for reptiles? Um Well, I think it's kind of like asking how important is going outside and getting fresh air as a person. It's were not made to live inside houses and inside boxes all the time, and I don't think snakes evolved to live that way either. So I do feel sympathy for a lot of the snakes, especially ones where people might have taken them out of the wild and through no fault of the snake zone, it now can never go back home, and I like to give snakes away to kind of edible variety to their life and get a little bit of enrichment. So I think the video you're referring to might be the one talking about adding crease, So clippings from creosote bushes, into the rattlesnake enclosures. Yes, that's the one. Alright, just checking um with that, I actually got that idea from a veterinary student who works at the doesn't work out, volunteered at the Sonoran Desert Museum, and that was the first time I had heard of chemo sensory enrichment where you add something that's going to have some smell to the snake. Since that is such a large part of how they process the world and take in data and have a sense what's going on around them. And if you think about like how site is such an important way of how we take in the world that's smelling for a snake. And so if a snake is smelling the same substrate everyday smelling the same water bowl, smelling the same albino arm raised rat that's frozen, thought it's a very uh sanitized living situation. And so I like to, especially for native rattlesnakes that would encounter creosote bushes, I like to give that to them in their habitat so they can have a little smell of home. And it is what we smell out here in Arizona. Whenever it rains we smell the creosote bushes that's the most noticeable sent that we get. And so it kind of gives them, especially in monsoon season, a little taste of what's going on in the real world outside. At least that's how I like to look at it and I like to think about what I'm trying to give them. That's so cool. And can you see a difference in the snakes behavior once you add the creosote bushes into their enclosures, that's that's the best part. A lot of the snakes will go right up to it. Sometimes it's a little slower and you'll just suddenly start seeing them flick their tongue out there, starting to flick it out a little bit faster. And you can tell that they have noticed a change in their environment. And so that's what's really exciting for me is to see them slowly taking that new information, that new uh item in their environment and then go sniff it out. And some of them, it doesn't really go any further than that. They leave it alone, but others will end up rubbing their whole body in it and I'll kind of try to tuck themselves up into it and perch. I've got a funny picture somewhere of a mojave rattlesnake that was trying so hard to climb up this tiny little wig thin branch that was in no way we're going to support his body all over it. And to me that just tells me he's enjoying it, or at least is something new for him to explore and investigate. That's so cool. And it's so rewarding as a keeper to see those things happen and see our our snakes enjoying the the items we've put in their enclosures, just as you said earlier. It's not so much about touchy touchy the snake now it's more about Seeing the snake and admiring it from a distance learning as much as much as you can about the animal. On my recent podcast with Johan Marie, episode seven, he was talking about how like not enough people actually just sit back and admire these animals or just watch watch a black mamba in the wild for a couple of hours. Watch what it does we don't really know and that's that's something that I think we can all start doing, especially with our enclosures at home. We can learn a lot from the animals that are in them.
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