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Old 12-02-17, 08:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: Nov-2017
Posts: 64
CA King Enclosure?

Boy am I excited for getting the little guy or gal - as I understand it might be better to get a male because they are smaller. No matter though!

Okay so I was thinking an Exo Terra terrarium. This is NOT advertising I'm just trying to figure out tank dimensions, and I dunno if this would even be a good terrarium. I had an Exo Terra for my red-ear slider once. Probably a horrible choice of tank for the little guy size-wise, but I was 10 at the time and my parents were those types of people who would just buy their kid any pet if they asked for one.

I do remember the tank and I think I liked it? The front facing doors were nice, and so was the deep part beneath them, and the vents. As I understand from reading this forum I'd have to block off some of the back parts of the screen top for humidity reasons???

There's some terrariums I was thinking about. Opinions?
36" x 18" x 18"
36" x 18" x 24"

I know an enclosure that big would probably be a little much for a baby CA Kingsnake, but I think I could just put lots of hides and fake plants and maybe a log or something for it so that it feels more secure.

Should the water bowl go closer to the warm side of the terrarium for humidity reasons? And where should the moist hide go if I decide to put one in for the little guy? If I included a moist hide, would that be in ADDITION to the two existing hides(warm and cool), therefor making three hides?

What sort of substrate would be best? I'm leaning towards finely shredded aspen. I would prefer not to be spending too much money on substrate unless necessary.

How do you put a thermostat on the heating pad? Do you just plug the pad into the thermostat after buying one, or do they come already attached?

Whats the difference between surface temperature and uh, "normal" temp? How would I go about measuring them both? And for that matter, would a UV light go on the far end of the warm side, or more towards the middle of the enclosure?

Thank you for your time!
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Old 12-02-17, 08:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Location: Ontario
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Re: CA King Enclosure?

When I had my Cali king she would use every inch she had. She would climb a bit bit not nearly as much as she burrowed and roamed the ground. I had her in a 36x18x18 and moved her to a 48x24x11 and she still would use it all.

Kings aren't high humidity snakes, I used a humid hide during shed to help and she used it. The rest of the time I wouldn't worry about it. I used sani chips for bedding as it was easy to poop scoop and they poop/pee A LOT.

Most thermostats will have a outlet or more to plug a heat source into. Place the probe on the outside of the cage and it will take a big of adjustment to achieve the desired surface temp inside.

Surface temperature and air temperature are different in a screen top cage in the same way your stove top is hot but the air above is less so. Extreme example but same idea. As long as the snake has access to the heat source both in and out of a hide they will regulate themselves as needed.
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Old 12-04-17, 03:44 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Join Date: Sep-2014
Location: California
Posts: 297
Re: CA King Enclosure?

I have my Cal king in a PVC cage by Animal Plastics. Hers is 36x24x12" and I installed a shelf which she loves. She's not a big fan of sticks because I don't think she feels secure enough using them, maybe if they didn't budge at all.

I use sani-chips as well and love them. I don't like the shredded aspen, but I've never used it. Sani-chips are the same thing just a different shape.

I also use a humid hide around shedding time but otherwise don't worry about humidity at all. I live in California and you can find kings in my immediate area [never have but I don't go out looking because I'm not well-versed in how to deal with stepping on rattlesnakes so I stay far away from fields xD]. Personally, the humidity is extremely low here. Summer and winter can both be under 10%. A snake would find a humid area to lay though. Also keep in mind that kings can get respiratory infections quite easy because they have evolved to have only one functioning lung. I prefer my humidity between 40-60% and that's where it tends to be.

For thermostats, they have a plug in area to plug in the heat pad. When the temp gets too high where the probe is at, it shuts off. I place the probe between the heat mat and the underside of the cage so the pocket of air is the hottest. Then I set the probe to my thermometer inside the cage, on top of the heat mat. So it's thermometer probe inside the cage, glass/bottom of the cage, then thermostat probe, then heat mat. I prefer to only use thermostats with small probes because of this. $20 on Amazon for a thermostat and you're set. Note, you may need to set the thermostat higher than desired to reach the desired temp inside the cage and that's 100% okay.

Trailblazer did a great job explaining the temps. Remember that you're aiming for a temperature gradient. A cool side on one end and a warm side on the other end with a hot spot under the hide (usually, if there's light it could be on top of something instead of under, depends on set up). I would add that I wouldn't use a UV light personally, but there's no harm?

If you're planning on an adult sized cage for a hatchling... You may have a lot of trouble finding the tiny shoestring. They're really quite small babies. Small and quick. You can always try a cheap cage or some cheap plastic bins [like for storage] for a grow out cage.
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