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Old 10-10-17, 12:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Specific heat mat question for thayeri kingsnake that is driving me nuts !!!!

So I recently just got my first snake. A baby thayeri kingsnake and I want to make sure I am doing everything right for it to be healthy and happy. First let me explain my setup before asking my question. My.snake is about 10 inches long right now she's in a 10 gal tank for the time being. I have a hide set up on each side of the tank , Aspen bedding for my substrate with a repti therm heat mat under the tank on one side ..it's connected to a hydrofarm thermostat with the probe placed on the glass inside the tank under all of the substrate where the heat mat is it is currently set to 86f. The ambient air inside the tank is 75-77 degrees according to my digital thermometer. My question is do I have to turn up the heat mat hot enough to get the surface of my substrate to 81-86? Because right now the surface is only reading 77. The snake burrows down into the substrate to get closer to the mat which I placed some newspaper over so she doesn't come in direct contact with the glass ...my fear is setting the thermostat up to like 95 or higher to get the top of the Aspen warm and risk the snake burning itself if it chooses to burrow to the bottom. First time snake owner and just trying to learn !!!
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Old 10-10-17, 12:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Specific heat mat question for thayeri kingsnake that is driving me nuts !!!!

Probably better to heat from the top (lamp?). Baby kingsnakes tend to burrow a lot (or any baby snakes for that matter) so setting it to the correct temp ON the substrate will lead to quite too high temps below it. Heatmats aren't good for upping the ambient temps... they can provide surface temps alone in very long wavelengths that just create heat (like a household radiator) but don't really penetrate anything.
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Old 10-10-17, 09:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Specific heat mat question for thayeri kingsnake that is driving me nuts !!!!

I don't keep kingsnakes so take this for what it is worth but I've caught several hundred in the wild. Probably more than 90% were found hiding under rocks, tins, or boards. I stumbled across a few on the crawl during the day but they just do not go roaming around that much by nature, they crawl under stuff and hide. I don't think you will need a deep substrate provided you have at least two hides. You can make a hide from near anything, I am using some freesbees I got for free right now in some cases. In my tubs I use paper or a thin aspen bedding for other snakes so that the heat can penetrate.
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Old 10-11-17, 08:13 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Specific heat mat question for thayeri kingsnake that is driving me nuts !!!!

Also, consider moving the probe to the thermostat to the outside of the terrarium between the heat mat and the glass bottom. That is actually the preferred location for the probe.
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Old 10-12-17, 04:32 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Specific heat mat question for thayeri kingsnake that is driving me nuts !!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TRD View Post
Probably better to heat from the top (lamp?). Baby kingsnakes tend to burrow a lot (or any baby snakes for that matter) so setting it to the correct temp ON the substrate will lead to quite too high temps below it. Heatmats aren't good for upping the ambient temps... they can provide surface temps alone in very long wavelengths that just create heat (like a household radiator) but don't really penetrate anything.
On the majority of research I have done says that a heat mat is better recommended for Kings and corns as they need belly hest to digest and really aren't a basking snake which would call for a heat lamp
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Old 10-12-17, 09:21 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Specific heat mat question for thayeri kingsnake that is driving me nuts !!!!

That's nonsense... like really. There's no snake that specifically needs belly heat for digestive processes. There are plenty of studies on thermo regulation behaviors in the Lampropeltis sp.

F.e.
https://www.researchgate.net/profile...ilk-snakes.pdf
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Old 10-15-17, 02:17 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Specific heat mat question for thayeri kingsnake that is driving me nuts !!!!

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Originally Posted by Mikeyv2009 View Post
On the majority of research I have done says that a heat mat is better recommended for Kings and corns as they need belly hest to digest and really aren't a basking snake which would call for a heat lamp
Agree with trd - you don't find many heat mats in the wild. Nowhere to plug them in for a start.

This belly heat myth is one that lingers on in our big that I wish would die already.

Overhead heating works better in nearly all situations.
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Old 10-15-17, 04:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Specific heat mat question for thayeri kingsnake that is driving me nuts !!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikeyv2009 View Post
On the majority of research I have done says that a heat mat is better recommended for Kings and corns as they need belly hest to digest and really aren't a basking snake which would call for a heat lamp
Also, I like to add to this that my kingsnakes are active during daytime, they bask and thermoregulate constantly.

The thing with kingsnakes is that they are small, they have no real defenses against predation (f.e. venom, or size for that matter). They will not bask/thermoregulate normally in a typical kingsnake terrarium where there's too much open space and no cover.

If you make your basking site covered, like f.e. putting fine branches overhead, leaves & etc. around, they will utilize it properly. They will not openly bask, that is not their nature. This behavior is called cryptic basking and is employed by many of the smaller colubrids as safety precaution.

I wish one day they purge the internet of the 10+ year old information being copy-pasted as current .. :\ I fell for that same trap too, I changed all my understanding in the last year, I now have a bunch of snakes that are active during the day being a snake, and not just hiding until lights-off.

And hey Danny, long time.
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