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RE: Kinda dumb basic question

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Posted by: markg at Wed Mar 30 12:27:32 2016  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by markg ]  
   

It is kind of funny that care sheets all say to use an undertank heat pad, but in reality, heating is very tricky because ambient conditions dictate the best heating approach, as does the species of snake.

Kingsnakes in nature use contact with the ground for heating up and cooling down. They do not use air temps directly. They have slender bodies which pickup heat quickly and lose heat quickly. Unlike a ball python which heats up slowly and loses heat slowly. Thick-bodied snakes need to live in climates that do not get very cold because it takes a long time to heat up. Thin-bodied, low-mass snakes can live in cool climates because they can warm up in a sun-warmed burrow in a matter of a few minutes.

If you heat an entire room to 82 deg, eventually the substrate in a snake cage on a table or shelf in that room will be 82 deg, and the snake will be fine. But if you heat the air to 82 deg but the cage is on a concrete floor and the concrete floor is 60 deg, then the snake will be pretty cold even in a warm room. Also, kingsnakes use cool temps as their base. Most of the time in nature, they seek temps below 72 deg, then for digesting, mating, etc they seek temps in the 82-84 range. They may use higher temps at times, but for "general" maintenance, 82 deg is ok.

So, for kingsnakes, the best approach is this: Plastic storage box cage (glass cages suck for most snakes unless the entire room is heated, then they are fine), an undertank heat pad slipped under the storage box, and a thermostat for the heat pad set to 83 deg. The entire setup placed low so the ambient air temp stays on the cooler side. Done. That is the best for a kingsnake. Not for a ball python, but for a kingsnake.

A great easy way to control heat: Get the cheaper ON/OFF thermostats sold for herps, then attach a table-top lamp dimmer to that output, set the lamp dimmer to about 70%, and you are good. Adjust the lamp dimmer as needed - higher during cool temps, lower during warm temps.


   

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