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  1. #1
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    New ball python baby, plastic tub heating and shedding questions

    Hi everyone we just got our second ball python. Our first was a 3 year old male and so after learning all the basics and fine tuning it all he is doing well. However our new one i sort of expected some issues with since we had no previous experience with baby ball pythons, and shes a female so some new stuff all around. When purchasing our first we got a glass terrarium which for the first week we struggled with temps and humidity as i later found out because of that. So when it came to her i decided to make a plastic home for her. My questions are as follows:

    Right now the bin she is in quarts that i converted to gallons so 28 gallons. I knew that was going to be a little big for a baby but wanted one she could grow with so on top of the two hides she has in it (one on her hot and one on her cool obviously) she has her water dish in the center taking up some room and then lots of plants and habitat decor to give her alot of 'covered' area so it doesnt feel overly big to her and she always feels well hidden. She currently has a heat lamp suspended over the lid (obviously since its plastic and cannot rest on it) and a heat mat under her hot/warm side monitored by a thermostat set to a max of 92 degrees. Her cool side was falling into the 74-75 degree range and her breeder suggested i try to improve that since he thought that was just a little low for a baby and would put her at higher risk of being sick. I got another heat mat and thermostat and set it to 80 degrees to give her a cool/ambient temp of 80.

    My issue is this. if i use my temp gun directly in any area on the bedding, its a good 5-10 degrees colder on the bedding than it is if i move the bedding and aim it directly on the mat. So her cool side is still in the low to mid 70's range with a temp gun unless she were to just burrow completely down to the mat and her warm side seems to be between 80-85 unless i am hitting the mat directly and THEN i will see it get into the 90-92 range like its supposed to be..so my guess is the mats and thermostats are working fine and normal..but that the heat doesnt seem to be transfering well into the tub and up in the bedding. Her humidity is perfect between 55-60% and it holds very well, which was the main perk i heard about plastic vs glass with mesh screens anyhow, but i thought plastic also was supposed to hold heat better? the walls are ice cold at 60-64 degrees, we have our snakes in our bedroom with us which is unfortunately in the basement because we also have kids and we want their environments to be as quiet and calm as possible and thats the only area for it. our heat we even bumped up trying to help, so our house sits overall at 75.. however as to be expected our basement is cooler than that and so a temp gauge down there says its 60-61 degrees in our room.

    The bedding is Zoo med Loose coconut fiber, which was working super good for our big boy and why i was going to try using it with her. I do have 6 holes on each side of her tub, and 4 on each end..but that was necessary since when i first was prepping it with the 3-4 holes on just the sides the humidity was sky high..90% plus and i didnt want her to get sick or scale rot. i do have the heat mats pressed firmly with heat safe tape to the plastic so i know its not a contact issue either. We had the tub rapped in insulation but obviously found that to be a problem when it came to making sure she still had air holes, and it did nothing to really up the heat being held in which i just dont understand. Even with blankets by themselves and blankets AND insulation bubble wrap around it, i still cannot get her cool side/ambient away from that 75-77 degree range unless shes touching the plastic tub bottom and heat mat under it directly with no bedding in between.

    Next..she had the bad luck of beginning her shed cycle right as she was shipped to us. We were informed of this however and i was hoping to be prepared for it when she got here. Knowing her humidity is good i know thats not why her shed is now stuck, and i see its quite common in freshly shipped baby ball pythons with some stress to have stuck shed that comes off in pieces...this is new for me though since our adult boy obviously shed just fine for us and all in one piece. Since she is a baby and freshly NOT stressed from shipping and change in environment should i do anything at all to help her with the shed thats stuck? its mostly on her back, her belly looks ready to go as soon as the stuff on her back loosens up more..and then one side of her face including one eye looks still covered in shed as well She started 'peeling' yesterday morning. i did notice pieces in there when i checked on her this morning but she is still majorly covered especially on her head...but its only day 2. Wanted more expert/professional opinions on if i should wait and if so how long?

    She is also due to eat she refused her meal last week but it was expected since she had only been with us 3 days and her eyes had just gone 'milky blue'. wanted to try since she was still a baby but of course it was a no. With her shed stuck i dont know if i should even try to feed her tomorrow when she is due or wait until the shed issue is taken care of?
    Last edited by aburakowski; 01-15-2020 at 02:54 PM. Reason: forgot to mention use of insulation and blankets

  2. #2
    BPnet Veteran Lord Sorril's Avatar
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    Re: New ball python baby, plastic tub heating and shedding questions

    Quote Originally Posted by aburakowski View Post
    She currently has a heat lamp suspended over the lid (obviously since its plastic and cannot rest on it)
    Plastic is an excellent insulator it is blocking the heat from the lamp. You really need the air temp. to be in the 78-80F range in the enclosure. If you use an enclosure with a screen lid you can add a stronger heat source from above.

    As for the substrate creating a huge temperature difference---remove it---use paper towels. I personally would rather a healthy snake on paper towels than a sick snake on substrate.

    Oh, and I would not offer food while a snake is in the process of shedding--no point adding stress to a stressful event. I also don't pull shed off my snakes--it seems to really annoy them...
    Last edited by Lord Sorril; 01-15-2020 at 03:32 PM.
    *.* TNTC

  3. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Lord Sorril For This Useful Post:

    aburakowski (01-15-2020),Craiga 01453 (01-15-2020)

  4. #3
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    Re: New ball python baby, plastic tub heating and shedding questions

    oh man, thank you. So the heat lamp is basically not doing a damn thing unless i put a mesh screen on..am i understanding you right?

  5. #4
    BPnet Veteran Lord Sorril's Avatar
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    Re: New ball python baby, plastic tub heating and shedding questions

    Quote Originally Posted by aburakowski View Post
    oh man, thank you. So the heat lamp is basically not doing a damn thing unless i put a mesh screen on..am i understanding you right?
    Yes, the plastic cover is absorbing most of the heat and diffusing it into the room...
    *.* TNTC

  6. #5
    BPnet Veteran gunkle's Avatar
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    Re: New ball python baby, plastic tub heating and shedding questions

    I use a heat lamp with my leopard gecko in a tub as the room is too cool for just a heat pad. I drilled a series of small holes under the lamp in the lid. Some humidity does escape but it's a trade off to get more heat in. And way less open then a screen top. Without any way for the heat to get in the lamp isn't doing much.
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