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  1. #1
    Registered User VelkynKarma's Avatar
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    A Few Husbandry Questions

    Hi all! I'm hoping to own a ball python soon (I've wanted one for years). I've been trying to get an enclosure properly set up for a potential snake before I actually buy one.

    I live in a northern climate and it's been a bit difficult getting temperatures up to what's needed since the ambient temperature in my place is usually pretty cool, but I think I'm close now. I'm using a combination of a heat mat under the tank, and a 60 watt ceramic heat emitter to raise temps on one side.

    I have a few questions that I don't typically see in care guides though. Can you help me?

    1. While testing I've noticed the heat tends to fluctuate. It can change between 87-89 F. I know the high end needs to be very specific, is that a problem?
    2. The plastic hide I have set up on the warm end can sometimes rise up to 92-93F on the outside surface. I know BP's can be sensitive to temperatures and heat rocks are a bad idea for them--would this be too warm/risk burning as well?
    3. Any suggestions for getting a thermostat sensor to stay in place in the tank? I know tape isn't OK. I also know the snake will knock it around if it's just sitting there unrestrained.


    Thanks in advance for any suggestions you can give me, all (and sorry if these questions are silly--I'm a little nervous about getting the details right!). I want to make sure any ball python I get has a safe and happy enclosure to go to before I buy one.
    Last edited by VelkynKarma; 03-06-2020 at 10:38 PM.

  2. #2
    in evinco persecutus dr del's Avatar
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    Re: A Few Husbandry Questions

    Hi,

    Remember you can insulate the back, sides and bottom of the enclosure - this can help a fair bit with stabilising temps.

    I know the standard advice is to keep the thermostat probe outside the enclusure but since you are using a ceramic that is less than ideal. A hot glue gun is the best way to secure the thermostat probe for the ceramic inside the hot hide - this will need monitoring as it has the standard problems of probes inside the enclosure - the snake can pee on it, sit on it etc which can effect the temps.

    For the thermostat for the heat mat I would recommend placing it between the heat mat and the bottom of the enclosure then adjusting it to compensate.

    And a major plus point to you for getting all this dialed in before getting the animal.
    Derek

    7 adult Royals (2.5), 1.0 COS Pastel, 1.0 Enchi, 1.1 Lesser platty Royal python, 1.1 Black pastel Royal python, 0.1 Blue eyed leucistic ( Super lesser), 0.1 Piebald Royal python, 1.0 Sinaloan milk snake 1.0 crested gecko and 1 bad case of ETS. no wife, no surprise.

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    Bogertophis (03-23-2020),Craiga 01453 (03-07-2020),VelkynKarma (03-08-2020)

  4. #3
    Registered User VelkynKarma's Avatar
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    Thanks! I have tried insulating the tank and it does seem to be helping a little. My temperatures are pretty consistent throughout the day. The only thing I'm struggling with a little now is night--in the morning when I get up and check it looks like temps drop a little on the hot side. Inside the hide is still 88F but the surrounding area on the hot side drops to 85-86. The cooler side drops about 5 degrees as well. Not sure if there's a trick to fixing this but I know nocturnal BP's aren't gonna like temp drops at night.

    I will definitely get a glue gun for the sensor on the inside. I know normally it's frowned upon to keep them in the tank but as you said, I can't get an accurate reading of the actual temp otherwise. Fortunately, I had already set up the sensor for the heat pad as you described and that one works beautifully. It's just not quite enough for my cooler climate all on its own, more's the pity.
    Last edited by VelkynKarma; 03-08-2020 at 09:36 AM.

  5. #4
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    Taking advice from my breeder as well as some others here is what I did. I have a 20 gallon long tank for my BP. I bought two UTH/heat mats. Together they cover a big majority of the bottom of the tank. I keep one set at 80 and one at 89/90. My breeder keeps some enclosures this way and says as long as the ambient temp in the room is above 70 degrees she does not add any other heat. Doing that, my ambient temp was staying about 72 degrees and the entire floor surface of the tank was 80 or higher. I did add a very small CHE this winter ( micro sized one, only like 25 or 40 watts I can't remember which) with that running on full blast it keeps the ambient temp at 78-80 degrees. In the summer that room stays warm enough I won't run the CHE. it does lower my humidity so when I see the eyes cloud up I turn the CHE off to get the humidity back up.

  6. #5
    Registered User VelkynKarma's Avatar
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    Unfortunately it doesn't seem to matter what my ambient temperature is, my temps drop at some point in the wee hours of the morning even with my 60watt CHE constantly on. I'm not sure why that is, since it will be fine at any other point in the day. I've done temp checks as late as 1:30AM when heading to bed and it'll be fine until then, but when I check in the morning around 7:30AM before going to work the hide will still be around 88F but anything surrounding it has dropped to 86, 85 degrees and the cool side has dropped as well. I'm not sure what that means...maybe I need a higher wattage CHE?

    In the interim I've started experimenting with getting the humidity right, but now I have a few other questions. When I try misting the humidity will go up to around 60-70% for maybe an hour and then drop right back down to 30%. I know CHE's can really mess with humidity so I'm sure that's part of the problem but I also don't understand how much I'm supposed to be misting. I know it's not a good idea to completely soak your substrate, to avoid potentially giving your BP respiratory infections or scale rot. But just a light coating of water disappears so quickly. (If it helps any, I've been using cocoa husks for substrate, which is supposed to be good at retaining humidity).

    Alternatively I've also read about using a humidity box instead, by creating a hide and filling it with spagnum moss to maintain an area with constant humidity. I know this can be something of a controversial topic, but could it work for BP's if you can't get overall tank humidity up? If you have a humidity hide for a BP, what should the general tank humidity be set at?
    Last edited by VelkynKarma; 03-15-2020 at 12:32 PM.

  7. #6
    in evinco persecutus dr del's Avatar
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    Re: A Few Husbandry Questions

    Possibly a larger wattage CHE would prevent the night time drops but the humidity has a few ways to adjust it.

    For the probe - if it has to be inside the enclosure I woulkd recommend something like a hot glue gun. Nothing for the snake to get stuck on - unlike with tape.

    Humidity is a balance between evaporation and ventilation so possibly reducing and screen topped areas will help you dial it in - foil wrapped cardboard can let you experiment with the degree of the ventilation you restrict while providing no danger to your animal.


    dr del
    Derek

    7 adult Royals (2.5), 1.0 COS Pastel, 1.0 Enchi, 1.1 Lesser platty Royal python, 1.1 Black pastel Royal python, 0.1 Blue eyed leucistic ( Super lesser), 0.1 Piebald Royal python, 1.0 Sinaloan milk snake 1.0 crested gecko and 1 bad case of ETS. no wife, no surprise.

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