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Old 03-30-04, 08:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy heating

I recently bought a baby ball python from PC pets. I am new to keeping snakes, and my parents are finding it extremly expensice for heating **hydro and stuff**. I use a 100waht bulb during the day and a night bulb **red** 60 waht.
Does anyone know a cheaper way to heat?


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Old 03-30-04, 09:08 PM   #2 (permalink)
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If you have a large collection a room heater works best but in your case a UTH (under tank heater) should ruduce your bill from my experience they are 6w-40w and they put out a fair amount of heat.
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Old 03-31-04, 12:16 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Firstly, this should have been discussed BEFORE purchasing the snake. Secondly, with your set-up, it MAY cost maybe $2-$4 a month. Not expensive. Thirdly, a light bulb is not adequate heat for a ball python. I recommend spending 3 months' worth of ball python-heating-electricity and purchasing a book on the captive husbandry of ball pythons. You should use an UTH, heat pad or heat tape to heat your ball python from below.
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Old 03-31-04, 10:34 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I use a single read heat lamp on a rheostat to heat my bp and it works fine.
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Old 03-31-04, 10:51 AM   #5 (permalink)
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A *much* cheaper way of heating (and better for your BP too) is an under the tank heater. I don't know how much these cost in Canada, but it will be an initial cost outlay. In the US, the smallest one is about $17 and they go up from there. You want one that will cover approximately 1/3 of the base of your tank. The wattage obviously varies according to the size. The smallest ones are about 6-8 watts output, but even they heat too hot, so next you need a rheostat or lamp dimmer. You can wire your own (look for the instructions on this site) for only a few dollars, or you can buy a lamp dimmer in the US for about $10 at Walmart (once again, I don't know how much they are in Canada). You need to plug the under tank heater into the dimmer (note: this is not an option - it is essential as you will burn your snake if its not on a dimmer).

So - the bad news is you will have an initial outlay for the heater & the rheostat, but the good news is that once you have these set up and temps correct, you will notice a significant savings in the electric bill over a 100w light bulb. Point out to your dad that eventually these items will pay for themselves.

As I said, this is a much better method of heat for a BP, as they are ground dwellers. You can heat 1/3 of the tank and this will allow him to thermoregulate properly, moving back and forth between the heated side and the cooler side.

You will also need to invest in a thermometer (get a digital one at Walmart as the round dial type aren't very accurate). You want a hot side of 90-95 & a cool side of 80-85. To begin with, you will need to check temps often in order to get them stabilized at the desired temperatures. Once you have done that, you will only need to check once or twice a day to be sure you are maintaining the correct temps. As someone said, the ideal is to have all of this set up and temps regulated for about two weeks prior to getting the snake, but seeing as how you already have your snake, the next best thing is to take care of this just as soon as you possibly can.
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Old 03-31-04, 11:38 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Auskan
A *much* cheaper way of heating (and better for your BP too) is an under the tank heater.
I'd love to see some proof of this (the UTH is better for your bp part), as opposed to just hearsay. Plenty of people use overhead heat (probably more then use UTH). The heat from the sun is their primary heat source in the wild, so why not overhead heat in captivity? Makes sense to me. My bp digests it's food in the same period of time as an UTH bp, and is provided a heat gradient (which it uses), so what leads you to believe that your heating method is better then mine?

An UTH IS more efficient, and it's the perfect way to provide heat in a rubbermaid, but we are talking about a single snake here. The difference in electricity would be pennies.

As far as I'm concerned, you can provide the proper heat gradient for the snake using either method. The only one would can tell us which is better is the snake......
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Old 03-31-04, 11:58 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I think that one of the reasons that UTHs work so much better than heat lamps is that they do not dry out the air as much. This allows for better regulation of humidity for your BP.

Also, in the wild, the snakes depend on the suns heat to heat rocks or the ground, which in turn radiate heat from below (belly heat)

By putting a piece of slate or something similar under a heat lamp a similar effect of an UTH could be created, but heating all of the above air would still lower the humidity.
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Old 03-31-04, 12:56 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
The heat from the sun is their primary heat source in the wild, so why not overhead heat in captivity?
How exactly does a nocturnal snake get its heat from the sun again?
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Old 03-31-04, 01:02 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Yay, finally some common sense. Can always depend on you Jeff, you old codger you.
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Old 03-31-04, 01:30 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by daver676
My bp digests it's food in the same period of time as an UTH bp, and is provided a heat gradient (which it uses), so what leads you to believe that your heating method is better then mine?
daver676, there was certainly no attack on your method in my post. I stated that a UTH is better because I trust the people on this forum who have been keeping BPs for a lot longer than I have, who suggest that a UTH is better. I have used both methods. In my early days owning my BP, who was my first snake, I didn't even know there were such things as UTHs, so I used a lamp for a heat source. I then switched to a UTH once I became more informed about how snakes use heat. I do know that in the wild snakes use belly heat by lying on rocks that have been warmed by the sun. Diurnal species also get heat from the sun as you suggested in your post. Since a BP is a nocturnal species, it makes sense to me to use belly heat.
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Old 03-31-04, 01:36 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I agree. Ball Pythons spend their time in termite burrows, and other pre dug holes, they are also nocturnal. They aren't out basking in the sun.

Even snakes that are out and about in the day sometimes, such as a cornsnake maybe, use the heat from the sun as well as heat coming off rotting vegetation piles, hot roads, rocks that hold heat well into the night, etc. Effectively meaning the take above and below heat.

In the end personally, I think heat is heat and you can be successful with either. The problem with overhead heat for ball pythons specifically is that it has a serious drying effect. As well as being extremely bright for a hole loving, underground living snake. I would use a light for a king or corn before I'd ever use one for a Ball Python.

As for costs, I assure you my 30 watt heat tape on a thermastat takes up FAR less than my 100 watt bulb for my leopard gecko.

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Old 03-31-04, 02:07 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Auskan,

Oh no worries. In no way did I consider your post an attack on my method of heating. Perhaps I could have worded my sentence better....

jjnnbns,

Good point on the humidity.

Jeff_Favelle,

Another good point.

OK let me ask you all this:

I use a red heat bulb which stays on 24/7. If the floor of my enclosure is being heated by the bulb, and the snake is on the warm floor, is the snake not recieving belly heat? I certainly think so. With the bulb however the snake is also recieving back heat. I'd like to hear your thoughts on this ....
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Old 03-31-04, 03:48 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Hey every one. I got 3 California King snakes, and my bills are $150.00 per month only for their heating not including other stuff. Changing to UTH (under tank heater) sounds like a good idea. Would you guys recommend me to use it or not, and if yes then how much Watts should it have? Thanks.
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Old 03-31-04, 04:28 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Daver, now I have a question for you; most people have a hide over their hot spots, right? So how exactly does the heat from an overhead heat source penetrate the hide, to heat the snake? Would it not make more sense to heat a snake that spends 99% of their time covered, by the only logically accessible area, which would be from below?
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Old 03-31-04, 05:20 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by AlexPan
Hey every one. I got 3 California King snakes, and my bills are $150.00 per month only for their heating not including other stuff. Changing to UTH (under tank heater) sounds like a good idea. Would you guys recommend me to use it or not, and if yes then how much Watts should it have? Thanks.
Are you saying that you have your house wired separately from the lights for the kingsnakes, so that you get a bill that is just for them? (If so, you are keeping them WAY too hot). There's no way the heating bill for 3 snakes could possibly come to $150.
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