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  1. #1
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    Question Can I use both a UTH and a lamp?

    Ok so I am probably going to be getting a ball python sometime soon and have been doing quite a bit of research but I just can't seem to be able to find an answer to my question so here it is. Can I use both a regular maybe 75w or so( I'm not sure yet) bulb with a heat pad? I was just thinking so I could simulate there being a sun but while also still giving my ball python some nice belly heat. I would probably have both on in the day and just the best pad on at night. Would this work? If so how would I do it?If not ,why? Any and all answers are appreciated

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    Registered User wnateg's Avatar
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    You don't need a heat lamp to simulate day/night cycles, just a regular light. I think you really only need to add a lamp if you're temps aren't high enough from the heat pad. Which if your room temp is consistent and you have a properly sized uth, youre probably okay with just that, but you'll have to measure it.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Yes, you can use both IF you aren't over-heating your snake. Both MUST be regulated, & it all depends on what size the cage is (are you using a glass tank?),
    on how cool the ambient room temperatures are (be sure to adjust for seasons & usage of A/C) & the wattage of bulb used. Most snakes don't appreciate bright
    lights & just the room light coming from windows (which, btw, should NEVER shine directly ON a snake cage) is enough to give a day/night cycle for your snake.

    A standard 75 watt light bulb throws off a lot of heat...a smaller wattage is probably better; you can also use a CHE (heat but no light), but again, test any & ALL
    heat sources on your empty cage, for at least a week before you move a snake into it. Excessive heat can harm (even kill) a snake, remember they're captive &
    cannot get away from it. You need to give them appropriate temperatures (cooler & warmer) so they can choose what they need for digestion, etc., but if its too
    hot, many BPs don't realize it until they develop 'burns' from the heat. I prefer to give my snakes "belly heat" too, but some also have overhead light/heat too.

    Keep in mind that overhead warmth is far less efficient: since heat rises, much of the heat never reaches the snake on the floor of the cage, it just rises from the
    fixture into your air space...which you might appreciate in winter, but in summer, not so much.
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    Re: Can I use both a UTH and a lamp?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    Yes, you can use both IF you aren't over-heating your snake. Both MUST be regulated, & it all depends on what size the cage is (are you using a glass tank?),
    on how cool the ambient room temperatures are (be sure to adjust for seasons & usage of A/C) & the wattage of bulb used. Most snakes don't appreciate bright
    lights & just the room light coming from windows (which, btw, should NEVER shine directly ON a snake cage) is enough to give a day/night cycle for your snake.

    A standard 75 watt light bulb throws off a lot of heat...a smaller wattage is probably better; you can also use a CHE (heat but no light), but again, test any & ALL
    heat sources on your empty cage, for at least a week before you move a snake into it. Excessive heat can harm (even kill) a snake, remember they're captive &
    cannot get away from it. You need to give them appropriate temperatures (cooler & warmer) so they can choose what they need for digestion, etc., but if its too
    hot, many BPs don't realize it until they develop 'burns' from the heat. I prefer to give my snakes "belly heat" too, but some also have overhead light/heat too.

    Keep in mind that overhead warmth is far less efficient: since heat rises, much of the heat never reaches the snake on the floor of the cage, it just rises from the
    fixture into your air space...which you might appreciate in winter, but in summer, not so much.


    Thank you so much for your advice! I think I am going to at least try using a lamp with the heat pad but if it doesn't work I will just use the heat pad. What wattage lamp would you(or anybody else reading this too haha) recommend for a 20l glass terrarium with a heat pad? And what temperature should I set the UTH and lamp to?

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    BPnet Senior Member Sonny1318's Avatar
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    A 75 watt infrared bulb with a dimmer. 😉
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    Registered User Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Re: Can I use both a UTH and a lamp?

    Quote Originally Posted by Spicypython View Post
    Thank you so much for your advice! I think I am going to at least try using a lamp with the heat pad but if it doesn't work I will just use the heat pad. What wattage lamp would you(or anybody else reading this too haha) recommend for a 20l glass terrarium with a heat pad? And what temperature should I set the UTH and lamp to?
    Really cannot advise you...every situation is different...if you insulate your tank it will keep in more (UTH) heat that rises into the tank. I have NO idea how warm or cool your room/house is either...it makes a big difference. If you keep the room/house warmer, you may only need UTH, but since BPs do need warmer temps. than many other kinds of snakes, you'll probably need both. This may also change by the season...you might get by with only UTH in summer, but also need overhead heat in winter...see?

    You need to TRY it out first for safety & proper temps. (take accurate temp. readings) before you get a snake. Leave yourself time to order or shop for any additional equipment that you might find necessary. It's important that all heat sources are regulated, but also, you want to take actual readings in the tank over the UTH (etc), not just rely on what a thermostat is set to. What matters is that your snake has access to a warm end of enclosure that's about 88-89*, and a cool end of enclosure that's about 78-80*, & that the warmest part of the cage is not too hot. BPs often don't sense it's too hot until they are injured...maybe because they crave higher temps & they're a heavier-bodied snake, so it takes a while for their whole body to reach the same temperature? I just know that it's a problem that you really want to avoid.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 09-04-2019 at 08:06 PM.
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  8. #7
    Registered User Luvyna's Avatar
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    Re: Can I use both a UTH and a lamp?

    I think belly heat also simulates the sun in a way, because nocturnal species like rattlesnakes will come out at night to lie on roads because the asphalt is still warm from the sun, even though the sun has already set.

    I would recommend a 75W ceramic heat emitter over an infrared bulb as BPs can see infrared light and it may disturb them at night. Generally, however, ceramic heat emitters and lamps are only used with UTHs for raising the ambient temperature in an enclosure as under tank heaters don't do that. I have a CHE and a UTH on a tub and I have never seen my BP come out to bask. That said, as long as both UTH and CHE are properly installed, regulated by thermostats, and creating an environment suitable for BPs, I don't see a problem with trying to add extra enrichment.

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    Re: Can I use both a UTH and a lamp?

    Quote Originally Posted by Spicypython View Post
    Thank you so much for your advice! I think I am going to at least try using a lamp with the heat pad but if it doesn't work I will just use the heat pad. What wattage lamp would you(or anybody else reading this too haha) recommend for a 20l glass terrarium with a heat pad? And what temperature should I set the UTH and lamp to?
    75 watts is an overkill for a 20g. I use a 75 watts for my bearded dragon's tank which is a 75 gallon terrarium (4 18"). I also use a 50 watts for my skink whose tank is about 125 gallon I think (4 2). For that size, I would try a 15-25 watts and play with the temp using a thermostat. CHE is also an overkill for such a small tank even with a thermostat. You will have to have a temp gun and play around which wattage works best for you. Use the daylight bulbs, not the basking ones for lizards which are much stronger and concentrated even for the wattage.

    I also second the other posts advising you that a lamp may be unnecessary if your room temps are 77-80F. A UTH would suffice. And having a light on a shy species of snake may get more stressed out (At the beginning) when it is trying to settle down. Lastly, bulbs and CHE dries up your tank faster than without with a mesh lid. You will have to cover half the lid to retain humidity.

    I don't remember if you are bringing home a baby or a mature ball python. Fyi, 20gallon may be too big for a baby. Even a 10 gallon can appear huge to a baby. There are ways to make it work though but it is an extra obstacle when you try to get it to feed for you for the first few meals.

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