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  1. #1
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    How to get the temperature just right?

    Hello Snake Charmers!

    This is my first post. My son, he's 11, just got a desert kingsnake. Though I'm a big fan of snakes and things slithery, I'm no expert. We've spent a bunch of time researching the needs of the snake. We are struggling with one component, and seemingly a very important one, how to measure temperature. I've searched the forum, and other places on the internet, but don't feel like we're getting the clarity we need.

    We have three thermometers:
    • one on the warm side, with the probe sitting on top of the aspen bedding. it measures 83 F.
    • one hanging on the cool side, about three inches above the bedding. It measure 72 F.
    • using an infrared gun we measure 85 to 90 F on the warm side bedding, and 71 F on the cool side.
    • the glass under the bedding on the warm side using the IR gun measure about 100 F


    How does all that sounds?

    Also, we have two hides, one on each end. It's used both so far.

    Thanks for your consideration and help.

  2. #2
    BPnet Veteran Craiga 01453's Avatar
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    The temperature of the substrate is irrelevant. You want to use your thermometers to measure ambient temps while using your temp gun to measure surface temps. And by surface I mean the enclosure surface, not the substrate. Snakes can and will burrow to the surface, so that's what number is important.

    It sounds like your heat sources aren't regulated by thermostat?? If this is true you need one ASAP and should unplug your UTH.

    And also, how are you heating the enclosure?
    Your temps all need to come down a bit too.
    Last edited by Craiga 01453; 03-24-2020 at 12:28 PM.
    ...life is beautiful...

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  3. #3
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    Re: How to get the temperature just right?

    We are only using an UTH, with a dial controller on it. Which was recommended by our local reptile store.

    Quote Originally Posted by Craiga 01453 View Post
    The temperature of the substrate is irrelevant. You want to use your thermometers to measure ambient temps while using your temp gun to measure surface temps. And by surface I mean the enclosure surface, not the substrate. Snakes can and will burrow to the surface, so that's what number is important.

    It sounds like your heat sources aren't regulated by thermostat?? If this is true you need one ASAP and should unplug your UTH.

    And also, how are you heating the enclosure?
    Your temps all need to come down a bit too.

  4. #4
    BPnet Veteran Craiga 01453's Avatar
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    Re: How to get the temperature just right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzper View Post
    We are only using an UTH, with a dial controller on it. Which was recommended by our local reptile store.
    Yeah, you need a thermostat, it's LITERALLY the most important piece of equipment you can have. Unfortunately most pet store employees are under tained and don't know what they're talking about.
    Petco and PetSmart don't even sell thermostats, so they're obviously not going to recommend one.

    Using a thermostat will not only protect your animal from burns, neurological damage or even death, but will regulate the temps for you.

    Then once regulated, you can trust your heating equipment and lower that hit spot.

    Kings don't need 90, nowhere near it. You should be running a cool side in the mid 70s and a warm side in the lower to mid 80s with a hot spot temp no higher than 86.
    ...life is beautiful...

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  5. #5
    BPnet Veteran Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Your set-up sounds fine*. King snakes are wonderful pets but don't need high heat or humidity like BPs do, so don't be thrown off by the fact that this is a forum that
    discusses BPs by far the most- they don't all need the same things. The one thing about a king snake, especially if it's a young (small) one, is they are MUCH better at
    escaping thru even the tiniest opening, & once loose, are very hard to find. At age 11, your son is easily distracted, so you'll need to be very careful about this.

    BTW, I've both kept & bred/raised many kings over the years, including CA desert kings (a fine choice!). But I still remember my very first king snake many years ago:
    She was a hatchling, an albino Cal-king, & I housed her in a small glass terrarium that had a sliding screen top, very secure, or so I thought. It locked with a peg that
    you put in/or took out of a hole drilled in the screen top. Well it turned out that peg still allowed a little bit of wiggle room, so that the top could slide forward by less
    than 1/4", and that was enough for my spunky little snake to slide her way to freedom, just by following along in the track- yes, that narrow space behind the sliding
    top! So then we played "hide & seek" for a while, but I found her that day...in the toe of a boot in my closet. So don't under-estimate king snakes...they are
    marvelous at "jail breaks".

    *One big difference about a king snake from a BP is that while they are MORE inclined to burrow into substrate, they are NOT apt to remain on the hot surface (under
    the substrate where it's measuring 100*) as BPs are known to do. You may have other opinions given here that tell you that you MUST lower that under-substrate
    reading of 100* but it won't be coming from me. I've kept BPs before in the past...they aren't my "thing"...colubrids are & I primarily keep various rat & corn snakes
    these days, also a rosy boa, a TX longnose (similar to a king), & an Aussie spotted python.

    So anyway...
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

  6. #6
    BPnet Veteran Craiga 01453's Avatar
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    Who said anything about BPs?
    ...life is beautiful...

    1.0 Jungle Carpet Python - Cornell
    0.1 Bredli Python - Fernie
    1.0 Vanilla het Pied BP - Tyson
    1.0 Pastel Fader BP - Dembe
    1.0 Western Hognose - Cosmo
    1.0 Borneo Short Tail Python - Juice
    1.0 Anery Kenyan Sando Boa - Willow
    2.2 Ferrets - Baloo, Johnny & June and Chloe
    0.2 Cats - Simba & Nala

    1.0 California Kingsnake - Django (R.I.P. sweet boy)

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  8. #7
    BPnet Veteran cletus's Avatar
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    I keep the hotspot for my MBK at 85 with the UTH. My room is a constant 78-79 degrees and the humidity stays around 50. I put a moist hide in the enclosure in case she needs help shedding and that's pretty much it. She does just fine.

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    Craiga 01453 (03-24-2020)

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    Re: How to get the temperature just right?

    Quote Originally Posted by cletus View Post
    I keep the hotspot for my MBK at 85 with the UTH. My room is a constant 78-79 degrees and the humidity stays around 50. I put a moist hide in the enclosure in case she needs help shedding and that's pretty much it. She does just fine.
    Thank you. Do you measure your hotspot at the bottom of the bedding or at the top?


    BTW, the Snake ate yesterday - a single fuzzy. It's moving around a bit, changing hides and even resting in the open. It does burrow a bit, but never stays under.

    We yet to name this beautiful serpent. We don't know it's exact age, but appears to be between 6 mo. and a year. It's length is about 24". We don't have a scale.

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    cletus (03-25-2020)

  12. #9
    BPnet Veteran cletus's Avatar
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    Re: How to get the temperature just right?

    I measure it with a heat gun on the bottom/floor of the enclosure. UTH is under the tank and the tstat probe is between the glass and the UTH.

    Sent from my SM-N975U using Tapatalk
    Last edited by cletus; 03-25-2020 at 10:50 AM.

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    Craiga 01453 (03-25-2020)

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