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Old 01-27-04, 07:28 PM   #16 (permalink)
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What exactly does the term 'ok' mean? As far as I am concerned, ok is all you can see through simply looking at the snake. I just do not see this working properly. Maybe for certain species of snakes, but with boids I really cannot see this working. It is just not the way nature made things, they bask to digest. Maybe its just me?

Also, MyKee, that whole thing on 'snakes absorb heat from their belly' kind of bothers me. When they are basking, they are getting heat from the sun are they not?
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Old 01-27-04, 07:34 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I think Ken is correct in that many snakes, and other reptiles, will do fine at a relatively constant temperature. That doesn't necessarily mean that a gradient isn't desirable if you can create one. We heat our room to ~24 C and then use individual heat pads/tape/rope/basking lights as appropriate to create warmer areas.

Belly heat vs. ambient heat: If you heat the room to a certain temp., than that will be the heat of the snakes belly! Rocks, water dishes, and everything else will be about the same temperature. This also means that snakes can't go into the water dish to cool off- the water will be the same temp. as the room, and hence the snake. Water at the same temp. as the air only feels colder to us because we're endotherms!

Having said this, it is more expensive and wasteful of resources to heat an entire room to 32 C than it is to heat the room to the appropriate cooler temp. and use individual heat for certain spots.

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Old 01-27-04, 07:39 PM   #18 (permalink)
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It would be interesting to see a study on this. Comparing snakes with gradients / basking spots to ones heating at a single temperature. As it stands, I do not see how this could be any good to the snake.
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Old 01-27-04, 08:04 PM   #19 (permalink)
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All I was saying is, my snakes don't seem to care about having a cool spot. In many cases, when I do provide a basking spot, they stay away from it. But when the room stays at 84 degrees (It's a room on the top floor, west-facing, with a computer running 24/7, so the room gets pretty warm indeed!), the snakes contained therein seem to be just fine. Most of them stay put with not much cruising, so I know they aren't looking for a spot to cool off in. Now, I would never do this with say, the ball pythons - I do believe them to be much pickier with environment. But my boas, corns, spotties, macklotts, etc. are doing great with just the room temp being high. (It goes down to about 75-77 at night... forgot to add that.)

As for back heat Vs. belly heat - When their belly is full, the edge of their stomach is just as close to their back as it is to their belly. I do not, have never, and never will believe that belly heat is absolutely necessary either. My snakes all digest exactly as you would expect them to, even the ones with overhead heat.
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Old 01-27-04, 08:48 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I too believe belly heat isn't mandatory. But everything else, I really don't know. I just don't see why nature would do things for nothing.
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Old 01-27-04, 08:59 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Further on the belly heat issue- what is required is just plain heat! Whether from above, the side, below, doesn't really matter, in my opinion, for most species of snakes. But, it is much easier to provide heat from below, since the snake can sit on the warm area, and since warm air rises, than it is to try to heat from above with a light. Compare a warm spot created by a 100 W light bulb from above the cage with a 10 W heat pad, and then consider the electricity savings.

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Old 01-27-04, 09:00 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Ken, not to say your opinion is wrong, but you seem kind of over confident in your assumptions.

The U of M's snake room is a uniform, constant temp and humidity and they have burms, bcc, garters, corns, kings, bulls and a few turtles all in the one room. One of the bulls they had reached the unbelievable age of almost 30 in those conditions! Itís kind of hard to dispute that evidence.

But, in the wild snakes do seek warmer and cooler temps. That much is a known fact. Maybe it's because of the extreme variables in temperature in some climates. Maybe it's because they "need to". Maybe it's just how certain snakes live in certain environments? Who knows?

I think it would be cool if you raised X# of snakes in one type of room and X# in another and see which group does better over the course of 10 years or so. That's one way to get your answers. Merely saying that your snakes have done fine in those conditions for so many months is just too inconclusive to be making such strong statements. If they are only offered one temp, why would they cruise to look for another temp that isnít there? And the water would be the same temp as the room. It might "feel" cooler, but it's not.

I keep my collection with a heat gradient and almost all of them use the different temps available to them. Some sit on the heat a lot and others next to never. I see those differences among the same species. But I like to offer them the choice either way.

Good topic though...
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Old 01-27-04, 09:10 PM   #23 (permalink)
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I have kept my baby corns without gradient last summer, and they did fine. But I keep my adult corns and kings at 86-90 hotspot, with the cool side being 65-75 (depending on day or night) and likewise they have done well, but these snakes utilize the cool area for sure, normally a few days after a meal/sitting on the heat.

I think for colubrids generalized heating works fine gradient or no...they are forgiving. But I doubt I would be keeping anything else without a better level of control on temps....definitly not if I was looking for breeding sucess etc just because controlled hot spots and cool sides automatically knock out any problems that could arise from less controlled heating methods (i.e. whole room heating) But then again, I have never bred pythons or boas, so my experience in that arena is worth nill. Just an opinion.

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Old 01-27-04, 09:15 PM   #24 (permalink)
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If reptiles in general, and snakes in particular, could live at a constant temperature, then there would be no such things as thermoregulation no terms called basking or "heat conservation coil" etc etc. There would be no behavioural mechanisms to achieve certain temps, higher or lower. Reptiles can ONLY change their temps by behavioural methods (being ectothermic), so it makes sense to provide a gradient. They use different temperatures to achieve different life events. To suggest that they only use one constant temperature is just ludicrous. You say that yours can be kept at 84F and they seem just fine. That's your observation (right or wrong) and can no way be applied to all living snakes. I can keep a TON of things ALIVE at 84F. Doesn't mean they are thriving or recruiting or completing life events. People kept monitors alive for decades at 84F, but they never bred. As soon as someone decided to give them 130F+ basking spots, they ate and bred like flies. Wonder why?

Keeping thing alive and observing them to NOT move when your cage is a certain temperature is NOT a measure of thriving. Its just a testimonial as to how hardy these damn things are, and how they can survive under such adverse conditions.
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Old 01-28-04, 07:21 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Thank you Jeff, you just saved me at least three posts!
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Old 01-28-04, 08:18 AM   #26 (permalink)
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I don't remember who said it but I have to say it is not always cheaper to heat individual enclosures. If you're talking just a few cages then maybe but if you have a lot of enclosures it's best to get them all in one little room then heat the room to the ideal background temperature, get enough bulbs and UTHs going in a small room and you'll find it will heat up into the high 70s anyway.

I keep nearly all my snakes this way (some have spilled out into the rest of the house so they get individual heat) with the boids getting additional heat at a basking spot which I provide with either a UTH or an overhead bulb.

On what Ken said though, I know some folks that do things the exact same way. I would be curious though what kind of success people have had breeding boids in particular without a heat gradient. I haven't looked at this topic enough to even guess what the answer to that is, I'd be interested if anyone has had any luck doing this. It seems successful reproduction is the best indicator we have for proper husbandry, besides healthy growth and just plain not dying.
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Old 01-28-04, 02:13 PM   #27 (permalink)
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And again, I'd like to reiterate that I haven't just shown the success with my own collection. I talk to many high profile breeders who have been keeping snakes at a constant temperature for decades, and their snakes are in fact thriving. Of course a snake will use a heat gradient if it's available to them - however, I have seen nothing to convince me that they NEED this gradient to survive or even to be comfortable. It's like giving a boa constrictor a climbing branch - of course it will use it from time to time if it's there. But it certainly doesn't require it to live. Look at Tim Cranwill's example of the U of M - I don't think you need much more proof than that.
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Old 01-28-04, 02:39 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Any Ball breeders out there find any difference one way or the other? I'm interested in what they have to say because it seems balls are the most sensitive to temps, relative to boas that are a little more tolerant (to my knowledge at least).
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Old 01-28-04, 08:38 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Cool, how many babies does the U of M produce?

Also, while we are at it, how would a python (ANY python) incubate her eggs in an ambient of 84F? Don't say muscle contractions because only Burms have proven to raise the temps that much. So if I'm breeding an Indo python and I'm keeping it at 84F, how do I do maternal incubation? Or is one temperature not enough for an ectothermic animal that relies solely on its surroundings to get to whatever temperature it needs.

Of course you can breed some snakes at 84F constant. I used to do that when I bred corns and kings (EONS ago) and I understood JACK about how a reptile's body worked. I'd like to think that we've progressed a little further than what people were doing in 1985.

But yes, for SOME colubrids, it can work. As well as some amphibians. Boids? I think you know my stance on that.........

And who are these mysterious breeders? I'd like to hear from them. Not to razz them or flame them. If they are honestly doing something that people's animals can benefit from, why not discuss it? Or do they not care about animals and are they only in it for profit?
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Old 01-28-04, 08:43 PM   #30 (permalink)
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The U of M produces ZERO babies.
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