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  1. #1
    Registered User Snagrio's Avatar
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    Blizzard approaching, what to do if power goes out?

    As I imagine many are aware, there's a major winter storm sweeping across the US, and I'm concerned about outages. Normally I'd just get bottles of hot water for such an emergency, but where I live the water from the well won't come up without power so what can I do to keep my snake warm should the worst happen?
    Last edited by Snagrio; 02-14-2021 at 11:39 PM.

  2. #2
    Registered User Spicey's Avatar
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    I bought a box of shipping heating pads just for an emergency like that. Hopefully I won't have to use them.
    Last edited by Spicey; 02-14-2021 at 11:48 PM. Reason: OCD captalization.
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    It's a little late for prep if you don't already have stuff on hand. Like chemical heat packs used for air shipping reptiles. (or similar "hand warmers") Also, ice chests/thick styro-foam chests & cloth bags for each of your snakes, with wire twist ties & rubber bands to make sure they can't escape. I went thru an ice storm in '09- no power for 4 days- & none of my 15 snakes got sick or harmed in any way- they were bagged & put in ice chests (not crowded, only a few per chest, of similar size) with jars of hot water (helps to have a gas hot water heater!) for warmth- they stayed a balmy 78-80* for about 9 hours, at which point I changed the water in the jars. BTW, find large empty jars or plastic soda bottles too. In an absolute pinch, bag your snake & put him inside your shirt- YOU can be his heat in an emergency- but that's pretty hard if you have a lot of snakes or large ones, unless you have a big "understanding" family to go along with them. And pretty challenging if the power stays off for a while, so let's hope no one hits a power pole or anything. You might fill some bottles of water to have on hand. (It's bitterly cold where I am too.)
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  6. #4
    Registered User Snagrio's Avatar
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    Re: Blizzard approaching, what to do if power goes out?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    It's a little late for prep if you don't already have stuff on hand. Like chemical heat packs used for air shipping reptiles. (or similar "hand warmers") Also, ice chests/thick styro-foam chests & cloth bags for each of your snakes, with wire twist ties & rubber bands to make sure they can't escape. I went thru an ice storm in '09- no power for 4 days- & none of my 15 snakes got sick or harmed in any way- they were bagged & put in ice chests (not crowded, only a few per chest, of similar size) with jars of hot water (helps to have a gas hot water heater!) for warmth- they stayed a balmy 78-80* for about 9 hours, at which point I changed the water in the jars. BTW, find large empty jars or plastic soda bottles too. In an absolute pinch, bag your snake & put him inside your shirt- YOU can be his heat in an emergency- but that's pretty hard if you have a lot of snakes or large ones, unless you have a big "understanding" family to go along with them. And pretty challenging if the power stays off for a while, so let's hope no one hits a power pole or anything. You might fill some bottles of water to have on hand. (It's bitterly cold where I am too.)
    Thankfully I only have the one and am already willing to utilize my body to keep him warm if push comes to shove. If it lasts a while though I'd obviously need to find a more secure solution as I can't exactly sleep with him in my clothing.

  7. #5
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Re: Blizzard approaching, what to do if power goes out?

    Quote Originally Posted by Snagrio View Post
    Thankfully I only have the one and am already willing to utilize my body to keep him warm if push comes to shove. If it lasts a while though I'd obviously need to find a more secure solution as I can't exactly sleep with him in my clothing.
    Tell me about it. When I lost power that time, it was at night, & naively thinking that the power would be on in a couple hours (my first ice storm!) I first put all 15 snakes into ventilated plastic containers & put them under my down comforter with me. I had a large BCI at the time, she was in a pillow case on top of me...and she kept periscoping trying to figure out what was going on. Needless to say I didn't sleep...just waited for daylight to figure out "what next?" Trust me, ice chests with jars of hot water is way better, lol.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 02-15-2021 at 12:28 AM.
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  8. #6
    BPnet Veteran nikkubus's Avatar
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    One thing I would caution is that a couple days at slightly below optimal temps isn't going to do any damage, a very small amount of time too hot could easily kill. Have heard too many horror stories of people losing reptiles this way trying to keep them warm in the winter. I would aim for 70-75 in an emergency vs 85 with any kind of improvised heating that can't be controlled the way their enclosures can with precision.

    We have a generator, before that we had a Ryobi One "generator" attachment for their batteries and 6 batteries we make sure to keep charged. Running a space heater and their normal thermostat and heat tape for a few days would be simple. Doesn't probably help with limited time to prepare but might be something to aim for in the future. I feel like the less changes I would have to do in an emergency, the less chance for something to mess up, so I would prefer to keep them in their enclosures with their normal equipment running if possible.

    You should get some water out now before the power goes out because it does hold temperature so well. I don't know what you are working with. Do you have a gas stove in the house? BBQ? Propane camping stove? If you do you could warm water you already have with those. Hopefully a cooler to have some place to put snake in a bag on one end and warm water on the other to keep cozy for several hours at a time.
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    Re: Blizzard approaching, what to do if power goes out?

    Quote Originally Posted by Snagrio View Post
    Thankfully I only have the one and am already willing to utilize my body to keep him warm if push comes to shove. If it lasts a while though I'd obviously need to find a more secure solution as I can't exactly sleep with him in my clothing.
    Secure the snake in a pillow case, put the pillow case in a shallow tub, and put the tub under your covers with you when you sleep. The pillow case keeps the snake secure, and the tub ensures that you or other pets that sleep with you won't crush it and if your snake happens to pee overnight it won't make a mess in your bed.

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  12. #8
    Registered User Trinityblood's Avatar
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    Where is a good place to get the shipping heat packs? And which ones? I'm also crossing my fingers that the power doesn't go out.

    If putting the snake in a tub in a pillow case, should there be holes drilled in the sides of the tub? I would imagine holes on the top would get smothered and not allow oxygen?

    I'm more worried about my fish, honestly. My ball python is easier to improvise for with the above suggestions.

  13. #9
    bcr229's Avatar
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    Re: Blizzard approaching, what to do if power goes out?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trinityblood View Post
    Where is a good place to get the shipping heat packs? And which ones? I'm also crossing my fingers that the power doesn't go out.

    If putting the snake in a tub in a pillow case, should there be holes drilled in the sides of the tub? I would imagine holes on the top would get smothered and not allow oxygen?

    I'm more worried about my fish, honestly. My ball python is easier to improvise for with the above suggestions.
    ShipYourReptiles.com sells shipping supplies including heat packs. In a pinch for non-shipping purposes only you can use hand or sleeping bag warmers if you wrap them in a few layers of cloth.

    I have tubs I use for transporting snakes to/from the vet and they have air holes in them.

    You'll have a hard time with the fish if you lose power. You'd need a kerosene heater or Mr Buddy type propane heater to raise the ambient temp in the room they're in, but good luck finding one for sale in the state today. Oh, don't forget the CO detector either.

    I'm reading reports out of TX where people have been without power or subject to rolling blackouts, or no natural gas because the power companies are pulling on it, and as a result they're dealing with frozen water pipes and homes with internal temperatures around 50*F. TX also gets 25% of its electric power generation from solar and wind, and either the wind turbines are frozen or not turning because there is no wind, and it's cloudy with snow/ice covered solar panels so they're not doing anything either. You have a perfect storm of peak demand with 25% of the generating capacity knocked out.
    Last edited by bcr229; 02-15-2021 at 12:19 PM.

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  15. #10
    Registered User Trinityblood's Avatar
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    Re: Blizzard approaching, what to do if power goes out?

    Quote Originally Posted by bcr229 View Post
    ShipYourReptiles.com sells shipping supplies including heat packs. In a pinch for non-shipping purposes only you can use hand or sleeping bag warmers if you wrap them in a few layers of cloth.

    I have tubs I use for transporting snakes to/from the vet and they have air holes in them.

    You'll have a hard time with the fish if you lose power. You'd need a kerosene heater or Mr Buddy type propane heater to raise the ambient temp in the room they're in, but good luck finding one for sale in the state today. Oh, don't forget the CO detector either.

    I'm reading reports out of TX where people have been without power or subject to rolling blackouts, or no natural gas because the power companies are pulling on it, and as a result they're dealing with frozen water pipes and homes with internal temperatures around 50*F. TX also gets 25% of its electric power generation from solar and wind, and either the wind turbines are frozen or not turning because there is no wind, and it's cloudy with snow/ice covered solar panels so they're not doing anything either. You have a perfect storm of peak demand with 25% of the generating capacity knocked out.

    Awesome. Thanks for the website suggestion. I had been looking at amazon a while back but the listings look sketchy to me. Do you know what the shelf life of the heat packs are when stored? I'm having trouble finding that info.

    My tank is only a 20 gallon and low bioload so I'm hoping wrapping it with towels and having two computer backup batteries will keep at least the filter going for a good while. It's also possible to float a hot bag of water to keep temps up...so long as the gas stays on to heat water. Maybe I strap reptile heatpacks to the outside of the towels LOL. Fish are much more complicated than reptiles. Boy are snakes easy!

    That's where I'm at. I don't expect to find anything the next few days. Nothing is open because most people here don't have the tires for driving in snow or ice. It's insane that it's under 10 F and snowed TWICE this year. Once is unheard of except every 5 or 10 years. I'm waiting for the rolling blackouts to happen where I am. I'm worried about the pipes once it starts to thaw. I think my electricity is natural gas generated which is much more reliable. But like you said the demand alone can cause them to start rotating the grid.
    Last edited by Trinityblood; 02-15-2021 at 01:26 PM.

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