Sunday, August 30, 2009

The snake stretches out

The Boy has had Weird Haired Mom's pet 20 foot boa (at least that's how she looks to me) staying in his room this summer. The idea is to find out whether he really wants one of his own and whether I would go insane having it in the house. Not only did I not go insane, The Boy and I spent a fun week or so building the snake Sisi (not it's real name, but for the life of me I can't figure why I care, other than out of habit) a new enclosure.

We started out with an innocent 4 x 8 sheet of birch plywood. Why birch? It was the cheapest 1/2 inch reasonably nice looking plywood they had. As you can see, many power tools were used for this.

The base and two sides are up. We used, of all things, a redwood garden stake for the edge mounting. The idea was to have no screw heads visible from the outside. Much glue was also used.

We used 1/2 inch quarter round to hide the plywood edges. The Boy gets to experience the wonder that is a compound miter saw for making 45 degree angle cuts. I think we ended up with only one wrong-angled cut, and that was at my direction. The Boy seemed to be able to work out the angles fairly well on his own.

At this point all the wood bits are in place. The trim is all just glued in place, so we used a combination of ropes, clamps, and gravity (with an assist by a cinder block) to hold it all together while the glue dried. Completely shocking, the bits all glued nicely and the box remained relatively square!

After a bit of sanding, The Boy did the staining. Golden oak.

Here it is with the top installed, side vents added, stained and sealed and now needing to air out for a week or so.

This shows the inside with the background pieces and the heating system installed. There was some spirited discussion about which way the background pieces should go - this way won since it worked best with the black triangular bit in the corner. A piece of 3/16 inch plastic was used for the front window.

And here it is all done, with the snake busily exploring his new home (look towards the lower-left back edge of the enclosure). The old enclosure is on the floor at The Boy's feet - you can see how much this new one expands her living space.

This was a great project that turned out pretty well. We were able to work around the variety of things that didn't quite work out as planned (or, more likely, not planned) and had fun doing it. It was challenging though, and reminded me why I should never be allowed to do finish carpentry work.

The best news though, is that the snake has not managed to escape yet.

That's it - move along...


WHM said...

it's lovely! I'm very impressed, thank you! I'm sure she is going to love getting to stretch out a bit more! sooo you ready to build a bigger one next summer? J/K :P

if Jesse wants to keep the smaller enclosure for if when he gets his own snake he is welcome to :) it's a good starting tank :D

DAK said...

I am impressed no end as well. But what is the life expectancy of a boa? That is...after TheBoy takes off for, you know, The Next Place, who weill be caring for the snake, as if I didn't know?

notthatlucas said...

DAK - this snake (and the enclosure) I believe are heading back to WHM's house eventually. When WHM moved out many years ago, she left behind her iguana. That was a bit different though, since I really liked that iguana. If The Boy gets a snake of his own, it will have to go with him when he leaves (he turns 18 in less than a month!), or else it will be totally up to Mrs Notthat to care for the thing.

Anonymous said...

In general, boa constrictors can live 35 or more years. The longest-lived boa ever recorded was 40 years, 4 months.