Heat mats?

Discussion in 'Herp Help' started by Bellious, Jan 3, 2018.

  1. Bellious

    Bellious New Member

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    Heat mat for a childrens python worthwhile? Are they only really useful on glass bottomed enclosures? Reading so many confusing things! Thanks
     
  2. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Very Well-Known Member

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    When I first joined here, I was using heat mats for my 2 pythons under their click-clacks and I was convinced / persuaded to ditch the heat mats (due to being an apparent commonly malfunctioning fire hazard) for a heat cord / tile setup, basically just a DIY project involving a few leftover tiles from a bathroom reno and a heat cord.
    Here's a quick pic. I've taped a heat cord to the bench top and placed a couple of tiles over it then placed two additional tiles off to the sides. The idea is to sit each click clack half on and half off the warm tiles.
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    The warm side is currently about 35 degrees C with the laser thermometer and the cool side is 24 degrees. As the weather is warming up, I have the heat cord on a programmable digital timer so that it goes off at 11am and switches back on at 7pm.

    In a larger more permanent enclosure, you would stick the heat cord to the back of a tile and silicon another tile to it so the heat cord is sandwiched between the two tiles and this would become your basking hot spot which you could place inside your snake's enclosure. My above setup is only temporary while the snakes are still being housed in tubs, it looks shonky but it does the job, both pythons feed and shed happily like clockwork. The folded pieces of newspaper in the centre is just a simple visual barrier, I'm not at all 100% certain if it's necessary, I just placed it there to the two pythons cannot see one another when they're out and about in case it upset them in some way.

    Heat mats are designed to fit under (the outside) of a glass enclosure, but have enough space between it and the bottom sheet of glass to allow airflow / ventilation. They do get very hot and not set up/used correctly, could easily start a fire, or at least, melt and smoulder. Please note that I personally have used heat mats prior to joining APS for years without any issues, although, Just because it hasn't happened to me doesn't mean it can't / won't happen.

    So to answer your question, whilst the heat mat itself isn't essential / worthwhile, a source of heat definitely is necessary for a Children's python, whether it be a heat mat, heat cord or heat lamp or heat emitter. Whatever works best for your own personal situation.
     
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  3. Bellious

    Bellious New Member

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    Thanks for that. I had a stimson years ago and we used mostly. But I always found this a pretty average way to heat well. Dragon is so easy to heat for some reason. We're looking at picking up a new python and trying to heat enclosure is getting confusing
     
  4. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Very Well-Known Member

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    Pythons are easy, you don't need to warm the air in the enclosure and waste $$$ on expensive equipment doing so. A simple heat tile placed in the enclosure is all that's necessary, even in winter when the ambient temp drops to single figures, as long as there's a hot spot in the low 30's for the snake to retreat, that's all that's required.
     
  5. Scutellatus

    Scutellatus Well-Known Member

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    They are only be used on glass bottomed enclosures as said above. One correction to the above is that they don't have airflow between it and the glass. They stick to the glass and must have an air gap between the heatmat and the table etc. that the enclosure is sitting on. They come with little rubber feet to raise the enclosure to achieve this. Depending on where you are putting the enclosure and the aesthetics of the area your use of heatmat or heatcord is purely a personal choice, they will both do the same job.
     
  6. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Very Well-Known Member

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    I always used my heat mats sitting flush on the wooden cabinet with a 5mm gap between the heat mat and the glass bottom of the enclosure (thanks to the little feet on the enclosure) for air flow. Not the other way around. The heat mats never made contact with the glass or stuck to it.
     
  7. Scutellatus

    Scutellatus Well-Known Member

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    That way is a serious fire risk. All the ones I have used state clearly in the instructions to setup the way I described above. Not to mention the waste of heat by not having contact with the glass. The are a conductive heating item and not radiant.
     
  8. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Very Well-Known Member

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    Believe me The radiant heat from a few mm was more than sufficient to achieve what I was aiming for. Also, both sides of the heat mat get hot so I don't see the difference as to whether the air flow is above the mat itself or below it. Your description suggests air flow below the mat, mine allowed air flow above it... either way, it always worked fine for me and I never had a fault or bad experience with them.
     
  9. Scutellatus

    Scutellatus Well-Known Member

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    It is the placing of the heat mat on a table that causes the risk. The glass doesn't retain the heat like a wooden surface and can't burn if there is an issue.
     
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  10. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Very Well-Known Member

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    Yeah that's fair enough. Thankfully I only ever used 5 watt ones. Maybe that's why my method never caused any issues.
     
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  11. Bellious

    Bellious New Member

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    Well I'm even more confused now haha. If I had a melamine or similar enclosure could I use an internal heat rock/tile or is this unsafe? With the python we had when I was younger it was all globes, but I've read that belly heat is good? So trying to design a really good set up.
     
  12. Scutellatus

    Scutellatus Well-Known Member

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    Heat cord/tile and heating rocks are fine to be used in an enclosure. Although heat rocks do get a bad rap, but they can be used if that is your choice.
     

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