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  1. #1
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    Snake is attempting suicide

    Weird title, weird problem. I haven't heard of something like this happening before, so would appreciate some thoughts. Also, if anything looks off with husbandry let me know.
    Basic info: year old 3 foot ball python, fed F/T rats (the store I get them from is terrible at rat labeling but they're between 10-15% of her body weight) once every other week. Lives in an Animal Plastics T8 with 2 hides one for hot one for cool, big water dish, and a bunch of branches and fake foliage. Hot spot 90, cool spot 80, heated by vivarium electronics 80 watt RHP, hooked on ve-200 thermostat. I try to keep humidity around 50-60, and ambient air temps around 75-80. She acts normal, looks normal and eats like a champ.

    The problem: for about two months, I've been occasionally finding her cold in her tank. At some point during the night, she tries to climb on the cord of her RHP panel, she pulls out the plug on her RHP with her big body, and the temp drops. Ambient temp in my room, where her tank is, is around 60 on semi-cold days and will likely dip to 40 on cold winter days (gets lower during the night) and I'm really worried that she's going to get an RI or flat out die one of these times. The solutions I've tried:
    Put in a ton more climbing branches, because she thinks she's a tree python. This fixed the problem for a week, then the branches got boring. She does still like/climb around on them (does it pretty much every night) but she still climbs on the cord and yanks it out.
    Hot glued the plug in place. This was my nuclear fix. It worked for a month (and I'd still catch her climbing on the cord loop sometimes) but she pulled it out, glue and all, sometime last night. Poor snake had been at 55 degrees for who knows how long when I woke up. I never want this to happen again, but she keeps finding ways to pull it out! I reglued it and glued the cord as close to the sides of the tank as I could to make it less appealing, but I'm still worried. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated-I'm worried I'm doing something wrong with husbandry.... Though maybe I just have a unique trouble snake.
    She's great and I love her, but I need this to stop.

  2. #2
    Moderator Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Snakes do not commit suicide. But snake owners who don't set up enclosures correctly so that snakes cannot contact cords or any other dangers (such as hot lights) are guilty of negligent snake-icide, ok?

    Snakes did not evolve living in cages: they want & need to move around, & when they do, it's your job to see they cannot get hurt, either directly or indirectly. Perhaps others who use RHPs here will chime in with suggestions for fixing this- I don't use them. But expecting a captive snake to never climb on a cord is a "fool's errand", & yes, she will be harmed sooner or later, and it's your fault! She cannot fix this, YOU can- you're the one with the hands, remember? Snakes need to grab onto things for traction...they don't avoid cords somehow knowing what they're for. If you had no hands or feet, you'd do the same thing.

    Not seeing your precise set-up, my only suggestion is to drill a hole near the RHP so the cord runs completely outside the enclosure, & therefore, out of her reach. Obviously you cannot leave a hole in the top either, so you'll have to fix that as well. I suspect that many buy their enclosures with the RHPs already installed- too late, but now you know why.

    My diagnosis: snake, normal. owner, questionable
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 11-27-2020 at 04:16 PM.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
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  4. #3
    BPnet Veteran jmcrook's Avatar
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    Snake is attempting suicide

    Cable clamp screwed into the ceiling just behind where the plug goes into the panel. Problem solved. Worst design for a heat panel ever, I have one in half of my divided T8. Also find it hard to believe you are maintaining those enclosure temps in a room between 40-60° and yourself manage to live in a house kept at that temp...


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    Last edited by jmcrook; 11-27-2020 at 06:18 PM.

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  6. #4
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    Diagnosis recieved and appreciated: snake, normal, owner, bit stupid. Fair! I will try out the clamps and if need be get some equipment to make a hole big enough for the cord. Appreciate the kick in the pants for sure-I can always trust the forums to know and spell out what's best for the snake.

    As for the temps/house, it's just my room. It has no insulation whatsoever. The rest of the house is normally arohnd 70. I had a space heater to keep temps up for snake last winter, I should have busted it out two months ago. That T8 keeps in heat very well so I figured I didn't need it, but... stupid.

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  8. #5
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    Re: Snake is attempting suicide

    Glad you’re asking questions and taking the advice to heart and not personally!

    Not sure if this helps, but here is a picture of my RHP set up. All cords run out the back and are inaccessible to my snake. The thermostat cord dangles mid-air under the RHP and is hot glued around the hole so it can’t slide out of position. And because it’s suspended, my guy can’t urinate on it or push it to a different spot in his tank, endangering the temp regulation.



    1.0 Lesser Mojave Ball Python "Neptune"; 1.0 Western Hognose "Murray"

    Lizards:
    1.0 Bearded Dragon "Nigel"

    Tarantulas:
    0.1 G. Rosea "Charlotte"; 0.1 B. Albopilosum "Matilda"; 0.1 C. Versicolor "Bijou"; 1.0 B. Boehmei "Lightening McQueen"

    Inverts:
    1.0 Emperor Scorpion "Boba"

    Dog & Cats:

    1.0 Doberman Pinscher "Bulleit"; 1.0 Siamese Cat "Boudreaux"; 1.0 British Shorthair Cat "Oliver”


    Goats:
    "Hazelnut" & "Huckleberry"


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  10. #6
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    Re: Snake is attempting suicide

    That's perfect, thanks for the visual! If you don't mind, what did you use to drill the hole through the back? Mine only has one at the top (which I've sealed apart from the cord space, as my snake can and will try to fit through it).

    Looks like I'll be doing some weekend construction

  11. #7
    Moderator Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Re: Snake is attempting suicide

    Quote Originally Posted by ApepApocalypse View Post
    That's perfect, thanks for the visual! If you don't mind, what did you use to drill the hole through the back? Mine only has one at the top (which I've sealed apart from the cord space, as my snake can and will try to fit through it).

    Looks like I'll be doing some weekend construction
    I know you weren't asking me, but when I had a couple HDPE-plastic Pro-lines, I had no trouble drilling thru them with my regular drill & bit. (I did that for extra ventilation, fyi.)
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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  13. #8
    BPnet Veteran jmcrook's Avatar
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    Re: Snake is attempting suicide

    Quote Originally Posted by ApepApocalypse View Post
    That's perfect, thanks for the visual! If you don't mind, what did you use to drill the hole through the back? Mine only has one at the top (which I've sealed apart from the cord space, as my snake can and will try to fit through it).

    Looks like I'll be doing some weekend construction
    The VE heat panel you’re using came with instructions in the box for drilling an entry/exit hole for the cord including size of drill bit, means of installation, etc...


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  15. #9
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    Re: Snake is attempting suicide

    EDIT: I misunderstood the type of heat you have so disregard

    I also have a t8 from Animal Plastics. At the risk of repeating info as I have not read the entire thread yet: Your heat panel is not intended to be in the enclosure. It's intended to be taped to the bottom underneath the enclosure. You will want the thermostat probe in the enclosure under the substrate to ensure the enclosure reaches the right temp. But this way your snake won't have access to the plug to unplug it.

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    Last edited by MamaRhea; 11-28-2020 at 11:01 PM.

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  17. #10
    BPnet Veteran jmcrook's Avatar
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    Re: Snake is attempting suicide

    Quote Originally Posted by MamaRhea View Post
    EDIT: I misunderstood the type of heat you have so disregard

    Your heat “pad” is not intended to be in the enclosure. It's intended to be taped to the bottom underneath the enclosure. You will want the thermostat probe in the enclosure under the substrate to ensure the enclosure reaches the right temp.

    Sent from my SM-N975U using Tapatalk
    I realize you misunderstood the heating element being used but you should absolutely never have the thermostat probe for a UTH/Heat Pad/Heat Tape inside the enclosure. It can be dislodged, peed on, pooped on, water bowl spilled on it, etc leading to dangerous spikes in temp.




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