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  1. #1
    BPnet Veteran Snagrio's Avatar
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    Temperature questions for 2 different snakes, and "new enclosure smell"

    Both of these cases are probably just me being a worrywart again, but nonetheless I want to ensure I'm getting everything right.

    First of all regards my corn. His enclosure doesn't have the best placement as his PVC is above my ball python's and their RHPs are on opposite ends (the one in the bottom enclosure is on the left while the one above is on the right). I did add some wooden planks to add space between them so the heat from the lower PVC wouldn't affect the corn's cool side, but I think there's still problems in that the corn's RHP is heating things too well. The closest medium I can get is the warm side at the lower 80's and the cool end to about 78 degrees with the rest at 80 overall. I've heard that the warm end should be mid 80's but if I try to raise the thermostat the cool end will breach 80 and the corn already spends the majority of his time at the cool side when not active (though when moving around he goes everywhere).

    Then there's the matter of temps with my VBB's permanent enclosure, (which she hasn't moved into yet FYI). Though first I want to say that you guys were completely right on the heat thing, the second I tried it with all the furnishings the difference from when I tested it completely bare is night and day. Anyway, the shelf closest to the RHP is in the mid 80's while the rest of the enclosure is high, mid and low 70's depending on elevation and location. I know beauty snakes are sensitive to higher temps and wanted to check if the hot spot was too warm. Also, there's a bit of an odd "new smell" coming from the whole thing when I open the doors. I'm assuming it's just because of all the materials being new (double checking everything that went into it and there's nothing hazardous) so there's some kind of off-gassing going on along with the humidity from the substrate?

  2. #2
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    I agree- too much heat for the corn. If the warm end reaches 85*, you'd want the cool end options at 70-75*. That needs to be fixed, so the middle (ambient) temps. are not over 75*-78*ish.

    No way to guess what you're smelling- many things can off-gas, but it's most likely the RHP- they're KNOWN for that- & it's my understanding that they need to be run on HIGH for a while until they no longer off-gas as you don't want your snake breathing that stuff at all. (I don't use RHPs.) I'm not as up on their temp. needs as you are- I've had no reason to research them, but if it's too warm according to what you've read, then get that adjusted. I think most ppl run the RHP on high to off-gas before other the stuff is installed.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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  4. #3
    BPnet Veteran Snagrio's Avatar
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    Then the only option is to swap positions so the corn is under the BP since the latter prefers warmer temps anyway. I'll get that done tomorrow and see if the parameters improve. Hopefully that works because otherwise the LAST last resort would be to figure out how to unscrew and reattach one of the RHPs so they're on the same side for both enclosures. Actually tried to do that when I first cleaned the corn's PVC but it's really stuck fast in the ceiling...

    As for the off-gassing, it's impossible to tell. I think it's just all the new plastic objects being warmed (not melted, just warmed) and mixing with the moisture from the substrate because the RHP didn't produce any peculiar smell when I tested it at full power for a few days back when the enclosure was empty. At any rate just all the more reason to let it run without an inhabitant for a while yet.

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  6. #4
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Yes, swapping positions (BP on top) is a good answer.

    And I'm not saying other plastic things don't off-gas when heated because they do- it's why I avoid using plastics as much as I can- I truly don't want to breathe it either- plastics are made from very toxic chemicals -which is why, when houses burn, & especially mobile homes that have an even higher amount of "man-made materials" including many plastics, the smoke is very deadly.

    Our snakes should not be subjected to that (even small amounts if it's avoidable) because they're breathing it 24-7, being captive with restricted air-flow in most enclosures (PVC & tubs). Just my opinion...
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

  7. #5
    BPnet Veteran Snagrio's Avatar
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    I'm a fool... Just did a smell test with renewed context and all but one of my snake enclosures smells of plastic (the only one who doesn't is the BP despite also having the same type of decor, his enclosure has a more natural earthy smell). Clearly I needed to do more than just a rinse to clean them before use and now I'm worried I've done irreversible harm to my babies...

    I've promptly removed all the fake foliage decor from the corn snake PVC and the VBB's QT tub, and I'll have to effectively tear down most of the permanent VBB enclosure and get everything washed and soaked in a hot water vinegar solution. After all the work and money I've put into things and I still made a grave mistake, sigh...

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  9. #6
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Re: Temperature questions for 2 different snakes, and "new enclosure smell"

    Quote Originally Posted by Snagrio View Post
    I'm a fool... Just did a smell test with renewed context and all but one of my snake enclosures smells of plastic (the only one who doesn't is the BP despite also having the same type of decor, his enclosure has a more natural earthy smell). Clearly I needed to do more than just a rinse to clean them before use and now I'm worried I've done irreversible harm to my babies...

    I've promptly removed all the fake foliage decor from the corn snake PVC and the VBB's QT tub, and I'll have to effectively tear down most of the permanent VBB enclosure and get everything washed and soaked in a hot water vinegar solution. After all the work and money I've put into things and I still made a grave mistake, sigh...
    You're not a fool, you're just someone that's grown up with plastic being used EVERY where, in many contexts, because it's so darn cheap & useful, that society just wants to overlook the downsides.

    And people tend to forget how much bigger & tougher we are compared to our small pets, in terms of how much exposure to things is too much. But as someone with a lifelong interest in health, it's obvious to me that while exposure to toxic things is fairly inevitable these days, it's in our best interest to stay aware & to minimize risks as best we can (to avoid cancer or other health impacts).

    Don't beat yourself up- I'm surely not...it's a fact that when we smell something (anything, whether food or fragrances, etc) all the time, we become "nose-blind" & tune it out, no longer noticing it. So just do your best to minimize the exposures now, & I'm sure it will be okay- it hasn't been "forever" at least.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

  10. #7
    BPnet Veteran Snagrio's Avatar
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    Finally got it done. Soaked all the fake foliage in a scalding water with vinegar solution (read in several places that's what you do for smelly plastic decor), rinsed and dried, then swapped the enclosures. I think it did indeed help with the corn's temps. Low-mid 80's for the warm end and now the cool end is more mid-high 70's instead of the whole enclosure pushing 80. The BP's enclosure is at the same stable temps it was at before too. The plastic smell in both the corn PVC and the VBB quarantine tub is either gone or greatly diminished so I'd say the washing treatment helped. My dad smelled the main VBB enclosure and said it smelled like wood, so idk if I'm crazy or he just doesn't smell the plastic, but I'll get around to taking down all the foliage and giving it the same washing treatment anyway, just at a later time since it's not immediately pressing and I'm exhausted.

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  12. #8
    BPnet Veteran Snagrio's Avatar
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    The smells are back... The weird thing is, some of the decor is the same stuff that's in the BP's enclosure (the only one that has a natural earthy smell), but I do think the stuff in the corn's is the "weakest" in overall smell, so I want to think it lessens over time. Also the VBB's QT setup is almost entirely plastic (plastic tub, the hides are dollar store paint trays I melted entry holes into, the fake plants and the water dish is a tupperware container due to running out of small water bowls) so the smell could be from anything, and the enclosure for her to move into smells the overall weirdest due to a combination of freshly mixed (and therefore highly humid) substrate, brand new fake planks, multiple types of wood and an older RHP that's seeing its first use in roughly a decade.

    Last thing I can think of to is to let the plants soak in a tub overnight. It's incredibly frustrating because I've seen tons of other people use dollar/craft store stuff for their enclosures and never heard of any fume issues like what I'm dealing with, and I've spent literal hundreds of dollars on all of it...

  13. #9
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Re: Temperature questions for 2 different snakes, and "new enclosure smell"

    Quote Originally Posted by Snagrio View Post
    The smells are back... The weird thing is, some of the decor is the same stuff that's in the BP's enclosure (the only one that has a natural earthy smell), but I do think the stuff in the corn's is the "weakest" in overall smell, so I want to think it lessens over time. Also the VBB's QT setup is almost entirely plastic (plastic tub, the hides are dollar store paint trays I melted entry holes into, the fake plants and the water dish is a tupperware container due to running out of small water bowls) so the smell could be from anything, and the enclosure for her to move into smells the overall weirdest due to a combination of freshly mixed (and therefore highly humid) substrate, brand new fake planks, multiple types of wood and an older RHP that's seeing its first use in roughly a decade.

    Last thing I can think of to is to let the plants soak in a tub overnight. It's incredibly frustrating because I've seen tons of other people use dollar/craft store stuff for their enclosures and never heard of any fume issues like what I'm dealing with, and I've spent literal hundreds of dollars on all of it...
    I think it's safe to say that many people pay no attention to plastic smells. I do, but I'm more the exception than the rule. I prefer to "err on the side of caution".
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

  14. #10
    BPnet Veteran Snagrio's Avatar
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    The smells are further lessening, and really only seem to manifest directly under RHPs so there's at least the comfort that the rest of the enclosures smell fine so the snakes mostly have areas of good air. I'm still utterly mystified as to just what is up with Mira's adult enclosure though, I swear there's a slight plastic smell but it's different than the others, like more "organic" due to the newly mixed substrate and copious amounts of wood pieces. My niece and nephew were here yesterday and I asked them to smell it and they said it smelled "new" and "woody." I feel like I'm going crazy.

    At this point I'm just going to stop worrying about it too much, I'm getting flashbacks to when I drove myself utterly mad fretting about the PH levels in my aquarium when my fish ultimately didn't care (I've had several breed at this point for crying out loud).

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