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  1. #1
    Registered User Phillydubs's Avatar
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    To Rack or not to Rack.... that is the question?!?

    Prior to getting my snakes I was anti-Rack to the fullest...

    i wanted the big natural displays with all the plants and real looking hides and this and that.

    Now Iím in the game, with an AP cage sitting here staring at me... and Iím wondering, am I really better off with a Rack?

    thanks to my new pal on here another jersey boy. My mind has been racing this evening.

    I stared looking up racks and the prices are pretty reasonable. Offers the ability for more animals and seems easy to keep and maintain.

    I was worried anout about not seeing the snake or seeing it move about. But I donít see the dang thing anyways. Now Iím going to set up this big pvc cage for it to hide away.

    I guess im a little confused.

    I have zero plans to breed and just want to collect some of the morphs I love and enjoy them.

    So what woukd be the beenfits of a Rack ... downsides? Has anyone gone from glass or bigger pvc to adult racks and been so happy or vice versa ?

    i feel like sliding the rack open, spot cleaning seeing the snake checking on it feeding it taking it out for handling woukd be so simplified In a Rack. Where now Iím peeking in and around with a flashlight trying to see what hide heís in.

    If I do catch him out at night and get to see him stretch and climb it is pretty cool but it doesnít happen a ton. He seems happy and tucked away. Heís eating well. Shedding well and enjoying life it seems so Iím not too sure where to go.

    I did jist drop drop some cash on this AP and have another snake on order. I donít plan on anymore snakes for a while and I knkw if I had a Rack Iíd want to fill it. But other than that Iím not seeing much downside.

    Any advice woukd be greatly apprecited.

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  3. #2
    BPnet Senior Member Zincubus's Avatar
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    Re: To Rack or not to Rack.... that is the question?!?

    Any chance of a photo of the set up - Tapatalk is great for uploading photos quickly and easily ..


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro




  4. #3
    Registered User Phillydubs's Avatar
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    A photo of my current set up? Or of the racks Iím looking at?

  5. #4
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    Re: To Rack or not to Rack.... that is the question?!?

    Quote Originally Posted by Phillydubs View Post
    Now Iím in the game, with an AP cage sitting here staring at me... and Iím wondering, am I really better off with a Rack?

    thanks to my new pal on here another jersey boy. My mind has been racing this evening.

    I stared looking up racks and the prices are pretty reasonable. Offers the ability for more animals and seems easy to keep and maintain.

    I was worried about about not seeing the snake or seeing it move about. But I donít see the dang thing anyways. Now Iím going to set up this big pvc cage for it to hide away.

    I guess im a little confused.

    So what would be the benefits of a Rack ... downsides? Has anyone gone from glass or bigger pvc to adult racks and been so happy or vice versa ?

    I did just drop drop some cash on this AP and have another snake on order. I donít plan on anymore snakes for a while and I know if I had a Rack Iíd want to fill it. But other than that Iím not seeing much downside.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    This is something of a complex question, but I guess I would say there are racks and then there are racks. If you want to have more snakes in a smaller volume of space, then obviously the rack is the way to go. However, I am of the opinion that many commercial racks sold for ball pythons are too small for a lifetime cage. If you were going to go the rack route, then I would suggest nothing smaller than something like this from ARS for adult ball pythons. I do not believe the conventional CB-70 or smaller tubs are sufficient for adult ball pythons. So my opinion on racks hinges quite a bit on which rack you are suggesting rather than racks themselves.

    Regarding cages and "not seeing the snake": For starters, if you want a nice display species, ball pythons are generally not the first pick. They are generally more reclusive than other species. If you want something killer to come down and look at, I would suggest a green tree python, emerald tree boa, carpet python, etc. They sit out all the time and look stunning in a planted setup. That said, the activity and "display suitability" of ball pythons depends a lot on the environment a ball python is in, how secure it feels, and individual personality. Using fossorial species as a reference, like for example fire skinks, many keepers have come to find that (somewhat counter-intuitively) the more burrowing substrate and hiding places offered correlates to the animal being out on display more often. This suggests that an animal that feels secure will come out more often. Ball pythons do this to a degree and many keepers using larger, more naturalistic setups have observed ball pythons coming out more often and even basking. Providing a light cycle and a gentle UV source also seems to stimulate ball pythons coming out more often.

    While again, other snake species are in my opinion better display species, the idea that ball pythons just "hide all the time" is not entirely true. You hear the claim again and again that "in the wild, they hide in turmite mounds and rodent burrows", so we just need to give them darkness and hides and voila. While this is often a successful approach, it is likely not optimal for the snake. As an example, the eastern indigo snake is a larger colubrid that often uses gopher tortoise burrows as dens, akin to how the ball python uses termite mounds, but you never hear keepers suggesting to keep them in smaller setups. If anything, the opposite is recommended, even though in many keepers experience (including mine), they will sit in their hides (artificial dens) for very long periods of time if provided with a basic setup (i.e. paper towels, water dish, and large hide).

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  7. #5
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    I don't use a rack system. However, I do use tubs so they are pretty much the same minus the shelf and flex watt tape and such. I used to use glass tanks for my bp thinking that it was better than tubs. Nope. Not at all. Like you said, I don't see my snake 90% of the time either. He was hiding all the time which was good but defeats the purpose to be able to see him through the glass. Secondly, humidity was a pain to keep up, and I tried using the proper substrate, misting, larger water bowl, etc. Lastly, my bp was new so he was stressed out and refusing food. Temps were fine, hides were fine, his first shed with me which happened days after purchase was terrible, but he was not happy.

    Switching him to a small tub was probably the best thing I could do for him. Humidity is at 60-70%. He eats well now, even recently switched to f/t with zero issues. He had his second shed which was 90% one piece. A piece was stuck to his tail and cloaca which was easily removed with some soaking. I think if I had close some of the tub air holes to increase the humidity to upper 70s, that might help with a better shed next time. Not to mention, easy to clean and move around. If I want to see or handle him, I just pull the lid off and pick him up.

    I also use a tub for my Cal king snake. A 65 qt tub. Her first shed with me went perfect.

    Both snakes don't seem to mind or care that they are in tubs. I do add enough substrate for burrowing, hides and fake plants in there.

    Honestly, if I were to collect more snakes, I would go for the rack system.

  8. #6
    BPnet Veteran Ax01's Avatar
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    sure, why not. the biggest downside is probably cleaning the shelves. they don't get too dirty but can get dusty. the tubs are cleaned regularly basis tho. another benefit of a rack is that u can control the heat w/ one thermostat vs. a standalone enclosure or tub. u just have to ask yourself how snakes do u want/how many levels on the rack do u want? also u can get a modular rack where the shelves don't have internal walls allowing u to upgrade tub sizes as your BP's grow.
    Wicked ones now on IG & FB!6292

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  10. #7
    BPnet Veteran tttaylorrr's Avatar
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    i was also anti-rack coming into the hobby, but that was based off of ignorance.

    once Spaghetti outgrew her 20gal glass (this past summer/fall), i decided i'd never use a glass tank again: PVC or DIE! i bought her (and Coffee Bean) 32qt tubs and they transitioned very well! but having to adjust each enclosure individually and worrying about maintaining everyone's temps was quite worrisome and frustrating. then i had an epiphany: what if there was...something...that could hold...BOTH of these tubs? and keep everything steady?

    RACKS! i love my racks! i just bought a 10-shelf 41qt rack (not running yet)! feeding day is so fun; sliding each tub in and out, seeing everyone cocked and loaded, then i get to Coffee Bean's tub and she just EXPLODES out of the tub once it's opened! hahaha. all of my tubs have some type of decor or "enrichment" item. they can be as plain or as awesome as you want them to be.

    i made a thread about potentially moving Yellow into an adult rack from his T8. Yellow doesn't explore at night like a lot of others' beeps do, so i figured it would be nice to free up some space (i live with roommates (or "parents" as they like to be called lol)) until i can move him back into the T8. TBH i think Yellow would do well in a cozier home, but that's something i'll have to experiment with.

    it's all personal preference, and i agree with the poster above that "there are racks, and then there are racks." like anything in this hobby: research, research, research.
    Last edited by tttaylorrr; 03-13-2018 at 02:34 PM. Reason: grammar
    3.3 ball python
    1.0 Albino 0.1 Coral Glow 0.1 Super Cinnamon paradox 1.0 Piebald 0.1 Pastel Enchi Leopard het Piebald 1.0 Coral Glow (High Contrast) het Piebald

    0.1 cat
    0.1 Maine Coon mix


    1.0 corn snake
    1.0 Hypo

    1.0 crested gecko
    0.1 ????

    0.1 human
    ✌︎

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  12. #8
    BPnet Veteran treaux's Avatar
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    I like racks for my BPs. I find they eat, shed, and breed better in them. I'm soon to be making the upgrade from my PVC racks to ARS open air racks now that I have a dedicated snake room with rock solid temps. I still have all my AP display cages, only now they are full of different species.
    6.10 Ball Pythons
    1.1 Brazilian Rainbow Boas - "Marco and Esmeralda"
    1.0 Jungle Jaguar Carpet Python - "Rossi"
    1.1 Boa Imperator Rescues - "Clifford and Bonnie"
    0.1 Hog Island Boa - "Luna"
    1.0 Dumeril's Boa - "Sage"

    RIP Wintre
    My iHerp Page

  13. #9
    BPnet Senior Member Zincubus's Avatar
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    Re: To Rack or not to Rack.... that is the question?!?

    Quote Originally Posted by Phillydubs View Post
    A photo of my current set up? Or of the racks Iím looking at?
    Both ?

    Or whatever is convenient .

    Just helps to understand easier .


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro




  14. #10
    Telling it like it is! Deborah's Avatar
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    It's all up to YOU, it's about providing proper husbandry which can be down various ways from cages to tubs.

    So you need to define what works for your animals and YOURSELF because ultimately YOU are the one keeping animals and will do so for the next 20-30 years.

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