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  1. #1
    BPnet Senior Member Mr. Misha's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Contsant VS Gradient Temps

    There's always been a debate in "recreating natural environment" vs providing constant heat. While hobby enthusiasts experiment with each of those options, most beginner keepers are advised to create a heat gradient with "hot" and "cool" spots. However, breeders (especially large scale breeders) will heat a room or building to the desired temperature with relative success.

    I found an interesting study that touches on this subject with rattle snakes below:
    https://jeb.biologists.org/content/222/22/jeb208645

    If you're TLTR kinda person, you can probably read the introduction and discussion portion of the experiment and get the gist. I also posted the discussion portion of the experiment that I found interesting:
    "Changes from fluctuating to constant temperatures do not seem to cause the stress response in C. durissus under the experimental conditions used in this study. In this sense, it is possible that the constant temperature used (30°C) was close to the optimal for this species and, perhaps, exposure to the constant regime at lower or higher temperatures could have resulted in a stress response (see Dupoué et al., 2013; Jessop et al., 2016). In contrast, the transition from a constant thermal regime to a fluctuating thermal regime increased plasma CORT levels in rattlesnakes. We suggest that this response might be related to the departure from the snake's preferred body temperature under the fluctuating thermal regime."

    Just like providing a constant food source that our BPs expect on a specific schedule (to the point where they stick their head out on feeding day), can providing constant temperature eliminate "anxiety" for BPs?
    0.1 Reg. BP Het. Albino (Faye),
    1.0 Albino BP (Henry),
    0.1 Pastave BP Het. Pied (Kira)
    1.0 Pied BP (Sam)
    1.0 Bumble Bee BP (Izzy)

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    EL-Ziggy (08-04-2020)

  3. #2
    Registered User Trinityblood's Avatar
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    Interesting read, though I wouldn't apply this to ball pythons since this was a study on rattle snakes. I wonder if the stress change is notable or negligible. The paper recognized it needs a long term study to answer that question.

    I would have the same questions for a ball python. Is the stress from a fluctuating temperature negligible or not? What is considered a bad level of stress (BKA/CORT/H:L ratio) for a ball python? I would start with a hypothesis that stress from fluctuating levels would depend how big of a temperature difference is in the enclosure and how much it fluctuates. A ball python would probably be more stressed with a 20 degree change over a 5-10 degree change. Again, would the level of stress from the ball python recognizing a temperature change have any affect on its health? Or is it a healthy amount of stress?

    A lite version of this study without blood samples would be simply observing your animal. Is it thriving without showing outwards signs of stress under which ever condition it lives in?
    Last edited by Trinityblood; 08-04-2020 at 02:06 PM.

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    EL-Ziggy (08-04-2020),Mr. Misha (08-04-2020)

  5. #3
    BPnet Senior Member Mr. Misha's Avatar
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    Absolutely agree that this study obviously can't be fully attributed to BPs but I believe that it's relatable.

    In regards to the temps, looks like they tested a gradience of 77-95F degrees and a constant temp of 86F. I guess what I'm wondering is what is the "ideal" temperature for BPs (if one even exists). Or as you have stated, is there a healthy amount of stress that is received from the temperature change.

    For my BPs it seems like a constant temp has been ideal, but this is just based on their willingness to eat, which is not much of a scientific process. With that said, one of my girls does goes off feed for 5-7 months in fall through beginning of spring, annually, but that's been going on for a few years now.
    Last edited by Mr. Misha; 08-04-2020 at 03:56 PM.
    0.1 Reg. BP Het. Albino (Faye),
    1.0 Albino BP (Henry),
    0.1 Pastave BP Het. Pied (Kira)
    1.0 Pied BP (Sam)
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