ok...i personally dont believe neither is better nor worse. like, incubating eggs, as long as the humidity and temperatures are correct, everything else does not matter.. heat from the top, side bottom, is still producing the desired effect. ...heating the snake.
ive used both heat tape and heat panels. And other then the fact that the heat panels produce a heat much more like in nature (eg. heat rays) theres not much difference.
I really like the heat panels for high humidity species... after spraying, the air truly feels like a tropical environment...rather then just a wet cold one produced when using heatiung from beneath.
Now, are they any different for the snakes??????
or do they prefer one over another....well....try and ask them...lol
i think belly heat has been more excepted because its usually less of a fire hazard, easier to maintain, less wiring, more convenient, usually less wattages used, and benefits the breeders who wishes to use alot of stacking and rubbermaid racks.
And since more commonly used these days, perhaps its just become embedded in our minds that its more beneficial.
So my stance is that it doesn't matter as long as the correct temperatures are achieved.
What i have noticed in larger enclosures using heat panels, is that the snake has a much larger choice of temperatures.
90 on the hot spot, then it gradually decreases (88, 86, 84, 82, 80) as it moves to the cool side.
Where as with most heat pads/heat tape heated cages...the temperature a few inches off the heat pads is exactly the same as 3 feet away (ambient).
Hence, my choice to have switched to heat panels. It gives more choice to the snake.
Grant van Gameren