Originally Posted by babytruck
I don't like heat pads for the same reason as a heat rock. They can get burned. As for a lamp, don't just go for the heat lamp, use the UV bulb. They need the vitamins from it as if they are in the sun.
I used to take my snakes to places with me all of the time. I would put my hair in a ponytail and they would wrap around it and tuck their head inside. You would not believe how many compliments I got on my "hair wrap". Until she moves....
This isn't true for snakes like it is with turtles. A good IR lamp with a head pad under their tank will do fine for a hot side, room temp on teh cold side of the tank.
Have identical hide boxes at both ends, so the snake can thermoregulate. Also have a water dish big enough that the snake can soak in, if it wants to.
One of the great things about snakes is that they have evolved to get 100% of their nutritional requirements from a rodent, including calcium. Easiest pet to take care of ever.
Oh, and as far as being "Used to" 4 hours/day around your neck:
Snakes aren't puppies. They're wild animals that get stressed when handled. You can certainly handle it, but don't treat it as something the snake has come to expect to do - leaving snakes alone is not only OK, the snake would prefer it.
When you do handle it, watch out for signs of stress (heavy breathing, mainly.)
This is subject to debate, but I personally always fed my ball python in a separate enclosure (one of those little portable tanks). The theory is that the snake will eat more readily if he's used to expecting food in a separate enclosure, and that he won't be as prone to strike at your hand if he's not used to being fed in his tank.
It's debateable whether this is true, but I will say that my ball never bit at me, ever, and he always, always ate when it was time to feed him. Whether it's because of the separate feeding container I can't prove, but it seemed to work.
Also, be careful what substrate you use. Plain black&white newspaper laid down really works best, it's cheap and easy to change. Be careful if you want some nicer-looking wood bark or whatever, certain wood is poisonous to snakes. If you do choose some kind of wood chips or something for a substrate, definitely feed in a separate (bare) tank - the snake may accidentally ingest the substrate with the mouse, they're not the brightest creatures.
Lastly, always use feeding tongs to actually feed the snake, they're worth the 5 bucks or whatever.