Will my snake be okay?

Jduff

New Member
Hi there. Me and my Dad recently built an enclosure for my yearling Stimson's python. Its a lot roomier than his last but also not huge. As you can see, the first thing he did was climb onto his UV light holder. I do not think it gets hot enough to burn him but I figure it's always best to make sure of these things. Will he be okay if he climbs up there? Thanks in advance.

He is in shed also, if that means anything. It is warm up top, obviously hotter the closer to the lamp you go.


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hey mate I'm not the most experienced but seeming as no one has replied yet the ball has now started rollin'. Do you have a temp-gun or a thermometer? Do you know how hot it gets where he is after the lights been on? if you put your hand on it, is it warm to touch? it's warmer for him then us to touch
also is the black top part of the heat emitter you have on the left of out the cage & reachable? if so that might get pretty hot

he still chillin there?
 

Tyrant pets

Not so new Member
If its just the light area your worried about could just remove that uv light holder.

Uv isn't necessary for stimsons but having a light can help them with day and night cycle.

I reckon if you want light but dont want him getting on or around it, try a standard LED downlight. Can pick them up for $10 and have them flush to the roof.
 
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Herptology

Well-Known Member
Trusted Seller
I would put 10 bucks on the fact it’ll be warmer up ontop of there compared to the spot under the red light, what you can do is put a platform closer to the bulb, or use a more suitable bulb type for that distance

What are you using to measure temps? What are your temps
 

Jduff

New Member
hey mate I'm not the most experienced but seeming as no one has replied yet the ball has now started rollin'. Do you have a temp-gun or a thermometer? Do you know how hot it gets where he is after the lights been on? if you put your hand on it, is it warm to touch? it's warmer for him then us to touch
also is the black top part of the heat emitter you have on the left of out the cage & reachable? if so that might get pretty hot

he still chillin there?
Yes, have a thermometer for the warm side which sits around 30 degrees. Its warm to touch but only hot to touch where the heat lamp is. Not sure what you mean by black top part though.
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If its just the light area your worried about could just remove that uv light holder.

Uv isn't necessary for stimsons but having a light can help them with day and night cycle.

I reckon if you want light but dont want him getting on or around it, try a standard LED downlight. Can pick them up for $10 and have them flush to the roof.

Just worried he could burn himself on the holder. I have a downlight from his last enclosure so may put that into use. Was under the impression that all snakes needed UV (even nocturnal ones) but thats good to know.
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I would put 10 bucks on the fact it’ll be warmer up ontop of there compared to the spot under the red light, what you can do is put a platform closer to the bulb, or use a more suitable bulb type for that distance

What are you using to measure temps? What are your temps

Using a themometer to measure and control temp. Hot side is 30 degrees, don't have something actively measuring the cold side however it was sitting around 25 degrees when I tested the lightbulb. Its a 100w bulb, as I found the 150w to be way to warm (upwards of 40 degrees on warm side and 30 on cool). Problem is temperatures in Adelaide Hills are pretty cold so temp drops to 28 degrees at times. I think a platform is a good idea as hes already shown to love climbing (obviously semi-aboreal). Thanks for advice.
 

Bluetongue1

APS Veteran
APS Veteran
To expand on what diamondsinthegong stated, the touch test is if you can hold your fingers on the light at normal operating for a full 30 seconds. If not, then it is too hot for the snake. This test should be applied to all lighting and heating fixtures that are potentially accessible to an occupant. This includes even those with an existing guard, as the guard may be too small.

As stated by Tyrant Pets a UV light is not needed, as they are essentially nocturnal. However they do need a day/night lighting cycle. Some natural daylight through a window in the room is adequate, but if the enclosure does not receive even this, or you want to light it anyway, then you should provide an artificial cycle using a $5 electrical timer.

Rather than a love of climbing, I’d say your snake is telling you something very different by perching on top of the light fitting. My guess is that it is utilising the hot air trapped at the top of the cage because it is not getting enough heat at ground level. You need a separate thermometer to be able to determine these things, even just a cheap alcohol one from a department or hardware store. Check the temps along the top of the light and let me know what you get – you might be surprised.

There are some issues with the design of the cage and the chosen heating method. I can go into more detail if you wish, but irrespective there are ways around these. What I will state is what you should be aiming to achieve. Ideally the thermal gradient should be about 25 to 32 degrees with a basking spot between 33 to 35 degrees. The basking spot needs to be warmer than the stimmie’s preferred body temperature of around 31 to 32, so it can afford to lose a little heat when it goes off for a wander (usually searching for food) as happens in nature.

Like most snakes from rocky areas, stimmies are able to negotiate steep rock faces and ledges etc. in order to get around and also to hunt rock dwelling lizards. So climbing the wooden branch is simply a means to an end and should not be confused with being semi-arboreal. In nature stimmies will climb over fallen timber but are not known to climb standing timber, whether it be dead or alive.
 

Sdaji

APS Veteran
APS Veteran
Trusted Seller
Stimson's Pythons like to squeeze into tight gaps between rocks. That's the closest thing to a rock crevice available in your enclosure, so it's where he thinks he's safest.

They'll usually or at least often choose the safest spot rather than the best temperature (better too hot or too cold than eaten). In your case though it looks like you're only using overhead heating (which I'd never use for Antaresia) so he has to choose between a cold floor or out in the open on that hide on the left (terrifying and completely unnatural for them to do that during the day) or perched on the wood right under the UV (again, terrifying and completely unnatural) or in that crevice up there where it's probably warm. They also don't naturally rest on dry sand (it's irritating and dehydrating, they usually live in rock crevices, sometimes termite mounds, occasionally in a burrow where there's higher vapor pressure etc, but never in a loose gap on top of dry sand at surface level as this is multiple types of deadly in nature).
 

Jduff

New Member
Thanks for the reply mate, it's a lot to take in but needed.

I have certainly held my hand on the warmest part of the light holder but not for 30 seconds, so I shall test when I get the chance. Otherwise I will likely cage it off, or simply revert back to the single bulb I was using previously. Its already timed to a 12 hour day night cycle 6-6.

If you would like to go into detail about issues with the cage design that would be fantastic. First time build, and while I did research things such as airflow via the venting etc. I did not have a set in stone plan in mind.

In my old cage I had a thermometer on the cool end as well, which I am planning to do with this one. Where exactly would you recommend I place the thermometer? If you can see in the second picture the cord runs from the left of the cage. Everything I have read suggests a hot end of around 30 degree which my 100w bulb just reaches. Should I swap it out of the 150w bulb for a few extra degrees?

Thanks again for the detailed reply. Since I've started looking after my snake it's clear that there are a lot of differing opinions and information when it comes to keeping, and while I try to research as much as possible different places say different things which makes me second guess a lot of the things I'm doing. Regardless I've got my snakes best interest in mind and I'm trying my hardest to look after it appropriately.

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Stimson's Pythons like to squeeze into tight gaps between rocks. That's the closest thing to a rock crevice available in your enclosure, so it's where he thinks he's safest.

They'll usually or at least often choose the safest spot rather than the best temperature (better too hot or too cold than eaten). In your case though it looks like you're only using overhead heating (which I'd never use for Antaresia) so he has to choose between a cold floor or out in the open on that hide on the left (terrifying and completely unnatural for them to do that during the day) or perched on the wood right under the UV (again, terrifying and completely unnatural) or in that crevice up there where it's probably warm. They also don't naturally rest on dry sand (it's irritating and dehydrating, they usually live in rock crevices, sometimes termite mounds, occasionally in a burrow where there's higher vapor pressure etc, but never in a loose gap on top of dry sand at surface level as this is multiple types of deadly in nature).
Okay so I'm better off with some sort of heat mat? The vet I see suggested not to use a heatmat as in the wild all the heat comes from the sun. Will certainly take into consideration.

If I were to choose a different substance on the ground closer to their natural habitat, what would you recommend? I was using newspaper for convenience in my last enclosure and he often hid under the newspaper.

What would you recommend as a hide as well, should I try and find some rocks to pile together for it? I was thinking about creating a platform higher up with a hide on it, is that an alright idea?

Thank you for your response I appreciate the help.

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Harpo

Not so new Member
higher vapor pressure

Googling...

"As the temperature of a liquid increases, the kinetic energy of its molecules also increases. As the kinetic energy of the molecules increases, the number of molecules transitioning into a vapor also increases, thereby increasing the vapor pressure." - is this too basic?

Layman question. Why do snakes like higher vapor pressure?

Sorry to tangent the thread @Jduff

As hides, I use upside down black plastic pot plant water dishes from Bunnings, they start at 0.70c, come in 2 or 3 sizes, and you cut your own door to fit your snake.
 

Sdaji

APS Veteran
APS Veteran
Trusted Seller
Googling...

"As the temperature of a liquid increases, the kinetic energy of its molecules also increases. As the kinetic energy of the molecules increases, the number of molecules transitioning into a vapor also increases, thereby increasing the vapor pressure." - is this too basic?

Layman question. Why do snakes like higher vapor pressure?

Sorry to tangent the thread @Jduff

As hides, I use upside down black plastic pot plant water dishes from Bunnings, they start at 0.70c, come in 2 or 3 sizes, and you cut your own door to fit your snake.

You've googled up a definition. In this context, vapor pressure relates to the effective influence the air has on the reptile in the burrow, which can be high even if the absolute/relative humidity is low. The relevant thing to the reptile is whether water is being drawn out of its body, rather than what a hygrometer would read (that reading would be misleading in a situation like this). Incidentally, it's also relevant to how desert reptiles incubate their eggs in low humidity desert environments.

In layman terms, substitute the word 'humidity' and you'll get the gist.
 

Bluetongue1

APS Veteran
APS Veteran
Stimmies commonly shelter under exfoliated rocks, such as on granite outcrops where dry sand and grit have accumulated with the wind. So it is news to me that this is irritating to them.
You've googled up a definition. In this context, vapor pressure relates to the effective influence the air has on the reptile in the burrow, which can be high even if the absolute/relative humidity is low. The relevant thing to the reptile is whether water is being drawn out of its body, rather than what a hygrometer would read (that reading would be misleading in a situation like this). Incidentally, it's also relevant to how desert reptiles incubate their eggs in low humidity desert environments.

In layman terms, substitute the word 'humidity' and you'll get the gist.
This and your previous post are a load of codswallop. Why do you persist in using terms and concepts you don’t understand? For your own benefit, get a physics book and do some reading so you do.
[doublepost=1599118459,1599046120][/doublepost]To achieve the heat gradient and basking spot temperatures required at the base of the cage, a simple and cost effective method would be to put in a home-made heat tile of 30 sq. cm using a 25W heat cord. It would require a hole about 10 mm drilled in the bottom back corner through which to thread the heat cord. Instructions can be found here: https://www.aussiepythons.com/forum...-heat-panel-in-australia.226830/#post-2536259. Instead a recessed wooden base you can simply thread the cord through a same sized piece of 10 mm corflute. You don’t even have to put a tile on top of this if you don’t want to.

Your existing hide is far too large for the size of the snake. This is a common shortcoming very much perpetuated by the majority of pet stores. Ideally hides should be a snug fit with an entry hole just big enough for the snake to fit through comfortably. For your snake something about the size of a muesli bar box with just the top corner torn off would be much more suitable. A number of these positioned along the cage will allow the snake to rest where it is most comfortable. These sort of boxes as hides can be made to look more natural by placing them under stiff curved pieces of bark or by coating them with pieces of paper bark.

Another option
A lower cage with greater floor area would be more desirable. This could be achieved by putting in a shelf and linking it with the cage bottom. You can use the existing branch poking through a suitable hole in the shelf to connect them. This also gives you another alternative to the heat tile on the floor. You could use the heat cord as a radiant heat panel under part of the shelf, which could supply heat to both levels. A 25W cord should the trick. Here is a photo of this sort of set up and the thread address from which it came (by Pythonmum): https://www.aussiepythons.com/forum/threads/tv-cabinet-another-diy-conversion.201407/#post-2328572
upload_2020-9-3_15-34-7.png
Just experiment with spacing the loops before you fix them in place. With the reduced height of the upper level your existing heater would not lose so much heat to the air and be more effective. A reflective dome on this heating fixture would further help in this respect. You might even be in a position to consider putting it on a wire mesh opening on the top of the cage, only just big enough to hold the dome. Again, this will depend on the height of the top level.

Why hides should be snug
Where do you find snakes hold up in the wild? In small spaces – under rocks and logs, at the back of tight rock crevices, under or between sheets of corrugated iron lying flat on the ground etc. Snakes should fit snugly into a hide for two reasons. Firstly, it makes them feel more secure. If they can feel the top and sides of their retreat around them, then they know a potential predator cannot open its jaws wide enough to grab them. Secondly, it helps them conserve water. Their kidneys are extremely efficient and they can convert all of their liquid urates to dry uric acid if need be. That leaves breathing as their other potential major source of water loss. Due to the inside surface of the lungs having to remain constantly coated with a thin film of water (for oxygen to dissolve so it can enter cells) the air they breathe out is always 100% humid. The relative humidity of the air they breathe in, therefore, determines how much water is lost. By being able to confine most of their exhaled air within a retreat allows the humidity to build up and their water loss to therefore be reduced. This is also the reason why snakes are only active at cooler times of the day or at night during hot, dry weather. The amount of moisture air can carry depends very much on the air's temperature. As temperature increases, the carrying capacity increases markedly, causing relative humidity to drop sharply.

Home-made natural looking hides
A mate’s son made him an excellent small ‘igloo style’ hide using plaster of Paris, a toilet roll (cut in half longitudinally) and a bowl from a kid’s plastic tea. The roll and the bowl were only used to mould the plaster around, until it began to set. The finished product was a flattened oval shaped chunk that looked like a white lump of rock. After painting it an orange-brown ochre colour, it looked great, just like a piece of rock from the Pilbara. He reckoned that with the next one he was going to incorporate orange, brown and black grout colouring, not fully blended but streaky, into the plaster mix. He was also considering rolling it in sand, and maybe dirt, while the plaster was still workable. Unfortunately it didn’t happen, but it might have been interesting.
 

Jduff

New Member
Stimmies commonly shelter under exfoliated rocks, such as on granite outcrops where dry sand and grit have accumulated with the wind. So it is news to me that this is irritating to them.
This and your previous post are a load of codswallop. Why do you persist in using terms and concepts you don’t understand? For your own benefit, get a physics book and do some reading so you do.
[doublepost=1599118459,1599046120][/doublepost]To achieve the heat gradient and basking spot temperatures required at the base of the cage, a simple and cost effective method would be to put in a home-made heat tile of 30 sq. cm using a 25W heat cord. It would require a hole about 10 mm drilled in the bottom back corner through which to thread the heat cord. Instructions can be found here: https://www.aussiepythons.com/forum...-heat-panel-in-australia.226830/#post-2536259. Instead a recessed wooden base you can simply thread the cord through a same sized piece of 10 mm corflute. You don’t even have to put a tile on top of this if you don’t want to.

Your existing hide is far too large for the size of the snake. This is a common shortcoming very much perpetuated by the majority of pet stores. Ideally hides should be a snug fit with an entry hole just big enough for the snake to fit through comfortably. For your snake something about the size of a muesli bar box with just the top corner torn off would be much more suitable. A number of these positioned along the cage will allow the snake to rest where it is most comfortable. These sort of boxes as hides can be made to look more natural by placing them under stiff curved pieces of bark or by coating them with pieces of paper bark.

Another option
A lower cage with greater floor area would be more desirable. This could be achieved by putting in a shelf and linking it with the cage bottom. You can use the existing branch poking through a suitable hole in the shelf to connect them. This also gives you another alternative to the heat tile on the floor. You could use the heat cord as a radiant heat panel under part of the shelf, which could supply heat to both levels. A 25W cord should the trick. Here is a photo of this sort of set up and the thread address from which it came (by Pythonmum): https://www.aussiepythons.com/forum/threads/tv-cabinet-another-diy-conversion.201407/#post-2328572
View attachment 329882
Just experiment with spacing the loops before you fix them in place. With the reduced height of the upper level your existing heater would not lose so much heat to the air and be more effective. A reflective dome on this heating fixture would further help in this respect. You might even be in a position to consider putting it on a wire mesh opening on the top of the cage, only just big enough to hold the dome. Again, this will depend on the height of the top level.

Why hides should be snug
Where do you find snakes hold up in the wild? In small spaces – under rocks and logs, at the back of tight rock crevices, under or between sheets of corrugated iron lying flat on the ground etc. Snakes should fit snugly into a hide for two reasons. Firstly, it makes them feel more secure. If they can feel the top and sides of their retreat around them, then they know a potential predator cannot open its jaws wide enough to grab them. Secondly, it helps them conserve water. Their kidneys are extremely efficient and they can convert all of their liquid urates to dry uric acid if need be. That leaves breathing as their other potential major source of water loss. Due to the inside surface of the lungs having to remain constantly coated with a thin film of water (for oxygen to dissolve so it can enter cells) the air they breathe out is always 100% humid. The relative humidity of the air they breathe in, therefore, determines how much water is lost. By being able to confine most of their exhaled air within a retreat allows the humidity to build up and their water loss to therefore be reduced. This is also the reason why snakes are only active at cooler times of the day or at night during hot, dry weather. The amount of moisture air can carry depends very much on the air's temperature. As temperature increases, the carrying capacity increases markedly, causing relative humidity to drop sharply.

Home-made natural looking hides
A mate’s son made him an excellent small ‘igloo style’ hide using plaster of Paris, a toilet roll (cut in half longitudinally) and a bowl from a kid’s plastic tea. The roll and the bowl were only used to mould the plaster around, until it began to set. The finished product was a flattened oval shaped chunk that looked like a white lump of rock. After painting it an orange-brown ochre colour, it looked great, just like a piece of rock from the Pilbara. He reckoned that with the next one he was going to incorporate orange, brown and black grout colouring, not fully blended but streaky, into the plaster mix. He was also considering rolling it in sand, and maybe dirt, while the plaster was still workable. Unfortunately it didn’t happen, but it might have been interesting.

Thanks for such a detailed post, its a lot to take in and I'll have to read over it carefully. For the meantime, I've upped the temperature at ground level, and have put a muesli box within the large hide to snug it up, as well as some wood debris in the cool side hide to snug that as well.

I plan to erect an upper level for it to climb to and will do my best to make it snug for it.

Thanks everyone for being respectful in your criticism, I look forward to more interactions with you all.
 

Bluetongue1

APS Veteran
APS Veteran
Thanks. Sounds like you are on the right track.

Yeah, sorry about the length. I would have preferred to split it into two posts, one on heating and one on hides, but the Forum software joins them together anyway.

Most of my post is actually on hides, which you did not even ask about. Over-sized hides is a pet hate of mine - pardon the pun. Unfortunately the subject of hides is something that there is not much info provided on, which is the reason for the detailed explanation. The section on home-made hides was mostly me avoiding the vacuuming – which I have since done, lol.

Irrespective, do enjoy your new critter.
 
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