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Old 09-21-17, 01:55 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Is a hot spot needed?

I am still practicing the use of a hot side and warm side in my tank for heating my BP. hot side in the 90 degree range, cool side 78 to low 80ish. Is this still the norm? I am assuming it is, but I was just reading in another ball python discussion elsewhere where the goal is simply to get an ambient temp in the high 80s and then there is no need for a hot spot???? Maybe i read it wrong or missed a key element, but that's how it appeared to me.

Sounds fishy to me, but i'm not very up to date on the latest trends
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Old 09-21-17, 02:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Is a hot spot needed?

90 sounds way too high. I had to tone mine down from 85 to 83 to get my ball to go in its hot hide; in fact, that the thing to watch for...if your snake is never in the hot hide, lower the temps incrementally until you see it start to go in more often.
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Old 09-21-17, 02:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Is a hot spot needed?

hmm, ok...interesting though. My original question was just a general question as to whether a hot side and cold side is still even needed based on what i saw posted. I assume it is.

BUT, you bring up something thats been affecting one of my enclosures. I have an ambient temp in the center of the enclosure about 78 degrees. Substrate temp with a temp gun shows around 77 on the cold side, and on the hot side where the UTH is its only about 82 to 84. The snake moves from cool to hot pretty regularly. I mean i dont watch her all day, but when i check on her 3 or 4 times a day shes about 50/50 on which hide she's in.

Anyway, i was concerned that the hot side might be too cool, so i just (today) bought a CHE for the hot side to add more of a hot spot and raise the ambient a bit.

Any thoughts? Hope the above made sense LoL

As an aside i have been having a problem with the UTH... it wont stick to the bottom of the enclosure (a glass exo-terra tank), but its relatively new so i dont want to buy a new one if i dont have to. So now the heater sits about a 1/2 inch under the glass. Hoping enough heat is rising to give her enough belly heat in her warm hide. Ive got the thermostat cranked up to 100 degrees, but like i said, the temp gun is only showing low to mid 80's on the glass and substrate.

Anyway, thoughts on this are appreciated
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Old 09-21-17, 04:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Is a hot spot needed?

Of course it is needed. Snakes need heat for vitamin production which, unlike mammals, they can't simply generate internally.
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Old 09-21-17, 04:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Is a hot spot needed?

I know, and i agree... what was being stated was that a specific hot spot is not needed if the ambient temp is within a certain range. Basically they were saying you dont need a hot side and cold side... just a consistent temp within the enclosure. But that wouldnt allow the snake to have any control over its temperature.

It sounded crazy to me when i read it, I am assuming that I was correct with that judgement.
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Old 09-21-17, 05:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Is a hot spot needed?

Well, there was a big discussion on this here and also on a FB page with some authorities in reptile lighting and heating involved. Bottom line was that a gradient is required for the long term health of the animal regardless if some people have "success" not doing it. For some people keeping snakes successfully equal that they stay alive, feed, and breed. It's impossible to tell whether a reptile kept at a constant temp is feeling good, or it just accepts the fact as it's out of his/her control.. What we can go by is what they do in nature.

Reptiles can be very hardy and survive a lot of punishment. So unless someone develops a method to communicate with them and/or does scientific research on the long term effects of being deprived of thermoregulation, I'm not buying that it is in any way or form better for the animal.

similar logic is applied by many BP keepers that it is OK to keep them stored away in a tub in a dark shelf because "They live in termite mounts in nature". This comes from a period in the year when the snakes do in fact retreat in termite mounts or other holes because it's too damn hot outside and are collected by people for the pet trade. This translated into the current keeping method.

In fact male BP live in trees and hunt mainly birds, they aren't really found in holes in the ground. Females on the other hand tend to be more terrestrial and live around scrubs and bushes. Give you BP some height in a vivarium with large trunks of wood and you'll find he/she will use it very often.

Another often missed aspect is lighting. Reptiles have 4 cones in their eyes and can see UVa light. Not providing proper lighting to your reptile, f.e. skipping UV, basically makes your snake experience the world in a weird hue for it's entire live. Imagine your whole world would be without blue... now you'll think maybe, big deal so the sky is gray, but having no blue affects all the others colors too... here's 2 pictures where I took blue out of one;

Original


And no blue


So it's kind of a big deal for someone deprived of this color.

Last edited by TRD; 09-21-17 at 05:58 PM..
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Old 09-21-17, 08:37 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Is a hot spot needed?

You can use aluminum tape to secure the UTH to the bottom of the outside of the enclosure. I guess it's still subjective and controversial as to whether or not they NEED a hot spot. If they can thrive without it then I say it's not a necessity. If it's not scientifically proven to enhance or extend the life of an animal then it's just competing opinions and theories . Even if it's not necessary it could still be more beneficial though. These are captive critters and we can never truly replicate their natural habitats but I believe a choice is always better than an ultimatum. I give my snakes a temperature gradient year around but I also know others who keep their animals healthy while only providing acceptable ambient temps. I don't think I'm right and they're wrong. It's just a different way doing things. My ambient temps are around 82 and my hot spot is about 88. My snakes mostly use their hot spots when digesting a meal or during the winter months but sometimes they'll bask even if they're not hungry and other times they'll be on a cool spot with a full belly. This leads me to believe that they're more comfortable with different temps at different times so why not give them the choice?
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Old 09-21-17, 09:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Is a hot spot needed?

Thanks TRD
That's what I was hoping to hear, and I agree on all counts. Thank you!

What you said about tubs/tanks. I have always used tanks mainly cause I want to see my snakes, or at least see their environment. I understand the argument in favor of tubs, but keeping them in a plastic box in the dark just doesn't provide me any satisfaction as a pet owner. Whether the snake cares or not I feel better keeping mine in a nicely decorated tank with a variety of hides, plants, logs, whatever... Anyway, thanks for the response.
Edited to add...I'm not saying I don't care about what my snake cares about lol I just want to do what I can to give my snake the best possible life basically in a cage, and sometimes we just have to go with gut feelings in those decisions.

Thanks for the response Ziggy. I just happen to have some aluminum tape. I will try that tomorrow morning. Thanks for your feedback. It makes a lot more sense to me that they would want or need a little control over their own temperature. I mean I know I'm not a snake lol but when I'm in an uncomfortably hot room I know it's not gonna kill me but I will move somewhere cooler given the option. Thanks

Last edited by Wharf Rat; 09-21-17 at 09:21 PM..
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