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  1. #1
    Registered User wingnut116's Avatar
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    New Ball Python and having some husbandry issues

    Hey all!

    We have had a young bp for about 5 days and have a few questions for our husbandry. I currently have a 10 gal to start our little guy out with and will move up when he grows a bit. I live in New Hampshire and the weather has gotten cooler over the last few days. The enclosure temps dropped to 65 last night and I'm trying to find the best way to keep the temps steady. I have a UTH with a thermostat that keeps the hot side 88-90 and in an attempt to keep the air temp warm i just put on a CHE today with another thermostat set for 82. Now in doing that the humidity drops to around 35% which is not going to work. Misting water brought it up to 55% but then the CHE took the water right back out again. Im thinking covering the cool half of the screen top with plastic wrap to hold in the moisture and thinking about a different substrate. Any help on this is greatly appreciated. The house usually is around 75-80 lately but we haven't turned on the heat yet due to operating costs to heat the house in fairly warm temps for us. Should i get a heater for the room he's in? I'd think the would be a better way to regulate his enclosure.
    Specs are below:

    Enclosure: zilla 10gal terrarium with metal screen top.
    Substrate: zilla reptile carpet (thinking this may need to change)
    Heating: UTH heating pad with thermostat and CHE with thermostat.


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    Last edited by wingnut116; 09-09-2018 at 04:29 PM.

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  3. #2
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    Definitely cover the screen, but I would use aluminum foil instead of plastic wrap because it's safer to use around your CHE and its fixture.
    Next, insulate three sides of the tank with foam board, cardboard, styrofoam, what ever you have on hand. Those two things will go a long way.
    If your humidity is still too low, try placing the water bowl under or closer to a heat source. If that still doesn't do it, you'll need to add something to the enclosure that can retain moisture better than your current reptile carpet.
    Speakng of which, you should change to some kind of actual substrate regardless. I suspect that even aspen, which is not known for moisture retention, would be better in that regard than reptile carpet; and the carpet is going to be impossible to keep acceptably clean. Aspen is a popular choice, but something like coco chip/coir, "reptichip", etc, is better at retaining humidity without getting moldy.

    Deeper substrate is one really effective way to keep humidity more stable because the substrate will absorb moisture and release it slowly like a buffer. But you can't use deep substrate with a UTH. If you needed to though, you could add a small container filled with sphagnum moss or coir and keep that damp. That will provide a steady, long-lasting source for humidity.
    Misting/spraying is really not a good way to raise the humidity unless you can do it really frequently. That's because you spray a bunch of small droplets onto the surfaces in the cage, and then they evaporate right away and the moisture rises out of the cage with the warm air from the area under the CHE. In other words, it's a small amount of moisture that evaporates all at once, causing the humidity to spike very briefly but then drop right back to where it was. You need a "slow release" source of moisture.

    One thing to keep in mind, given the time of year - the weather has just gotten cooler for the first time this year, and a lot of people still have windows open but the heat isn't on yet. So the humidity in your house might be higher than if it were 25 degrees outside and you had the heat on. Remember that % humidity is *relative to temperature*. The amount of moisture that results in 60% humidity in your house when it's 65 degrees makes a much lower % humidity if it warms up, even if the actual amount of moisture in the room has not changed. Basically, the lower the dew point, the lower the humidity at a given temperature. So you'll probably have to do a bunch of adjusting and figuring things out for a bit, because you're still learning how your setup reacts to weather changes and the weather's pretty variable this time of year.

    There are lots of ways to heat a cage, and they cost lots of different prices. But it's basically always going to be more cost effective to buy heating equipment for your cage in the long run, rather than heating the whole room. Even if you don't turn up the thermostat for your whole house, space heaters use a lot of wattage and that adds up. It maybe makes sense if you have a room full of lots of cages, but it's really inefficient to heat a whole room when you really only need to heat a couple of cubic feet of it.

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  5. #3
    Registered User wingnut116's Avatar
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    Re: New Ball Python and having some husbandry issues

    I think we're going to put aluminum foil over half of the screen top to trap humidity while using the CHE and try to better regulate the humidity with moss. The ambient temps are at 69 but the heat pad is at 88. I know BPs are hardy. Is 69 going to hurt him? Im trying not to make all these changes at once as he's still trying to settle in.

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  6. #4
    Registered User Sunnieskys's Avatar
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    Heat pad reads 90 at the glass without substrate. Ambient should be 80. 69 is way to cold and can cause issues.
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  7. #5
    Registered User wingnut116's Avatar
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    Re: New Ball Python and having some husbandry issues

    Im going to use a CHE to increase the ambient temp. Where would I add sphagnum moss to the enclosure to help with humidity?

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    Last edited by wingnut116; 09-11-2018 at 01:09 PM.

  8. #6
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    Re: New Ball Python and having some husbandry issues

    Quote Originally Posted by wingnut116 View Post
    Im going to use a CHE to increase the ambient temp. Where would I add sphagnum moss to the enclosure to help with humidity?

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
    Honestly, anywhere is fine. If you put it ina hide, it will make a more humid microclimate which can be good. If you put it under the che it will dry out faster. A few clumps in the corners or wherever should help. It will take some larger handfuls in order to hold enough moisture to last awhile. Remember, the point of it is to hold enough water to provide a stay source of humidity for awhile. Having enough of it matters more than where you put it.

  9. #7
    Registered User reptilemom25's Avatar
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    Re: New Ball Python and having some husbandry issues

    If it were me I would use coco fiber substrate instead of or in addition to adding moss. Is there a reason you do not want loose substrate? Its much easier to clean than the carpet, which will have to be washed every time it is soiled.


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  11. #8
    Registered User wingnut116's Avatar
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    Re: New Ball Python and having some husbandry issues

    Quote Originally Posted by reptilemom25 View Post
    If it were me I would use coco fiber substrate instead of or in addition to adding moss. Is there a reason you do not want loose substrate? Its much easier to clean than the carpet, which will have to be washed every time it is soiled.


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    When we bought our bp, i asked about it as it was the first time i saw it and the associate it at NERD highly recommended it. However after using it, i agree that i want to use coconut fiber substrate.

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  12. #9
    Registered User Knowell's Avatar
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    Anyone else think that's ODD that a associate at one of the biggest breeders in the US would recommend repticarpet to a knew keep knowing they a have a list of other tasks to accomplish?


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  13. #10
    Registered User reptilemom25's Avatar
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    Re: New Ball Python and having some husbandry issues

    Quote Originally Posted by wingnut116 View Post
    When we bought our bp, i asked about it as it was the first time i saw it and the associate it at NERD highly recommended it. However after using it, i agree that i want to use coconut fiber substrate.

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
    I really like the coco fiber. It does well at maintaining humidity for me.


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