Lighting, heating and thermostat for Stimson's python

princess_tiarna

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Hi guys! I am planning on getting my first snake (a hatchling Stimson's python) in the next couple of weeks and I was hoping that you could provide me with some advice. I have done a lot of research and i am getting very confused about the heating and lighting requirements for pythons.

I recently purchased a complete enclosure set up that includes the terrarium (60cmx45cmx45cm) and all the accessories I would need. It came with a 150w ceramic heating lamp and a 100w super sun light, which says it has uva, uvb, natural light and heat. After doing some more research, i am starting to think that i won't be able to use the super sun light. I know snakes don't need uva and uvb light, but some websites say it doesn't hurt them if they are exposed to it? I would prefer to keep the current lighting and heating options i have, because i am low on cash, so i just wanted to know if i can use the super sun light in my enclosure for a Stimson's python.

Also, i was planning on keeping both the super sun light and the ceramic heating lamp set up in my terrarium, but only using the ceramic heater at night. Would this be a good option? I have also read that pythons should have a heat mat. Do i need one of these?

I also have a Get Your Pet Right Thermo Hygrostat that came with the enclosure. I am still trying to work out how to use this, but i have read that you should also have a infrared temperature gun. Do i need to have this in addition to the Thermo hygrostat?

I think that is all the questions i have at the moment. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. :)
 

Herpetology

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Don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but it sounds like you were taken advantage of as a beginner to spend as much money as they can get you to

is it a glass enclosure?

150w ceramic heater (won’t talk about ceramics themselves.. I’m sure someone else will) is extremely over kill and quite dangerous for your little snake friend, these get extremely.. extremely hot to the touch, and if your thermostat fails, your snake will turn crispy :( realistically you don’t need above 75w

for a 60x45x45 I would have gone with a 7w heat mat under the tank 1/3rd (return the che for a refund) and used the uv light (as you said not needed but if you want to use it go ahead)

thermostat placement will sit above the heat mat inside the enclosure (where you want the snake to bask) set to 32c


-will continue later tonight-
 

Jonesy1103

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Hi
Nothing wrong with the UVA / UVB light bulb, they don't necessarily need it but it wont harm. Used on a timer this is your day/ night cycle sorted. 100w seems pretty bright to me- but I guess it will know what time it is when that one kicks in

A 150watt Ceramic Heat Emitter; that's a big unit for a tank that size. And inefficient; and it will be hard to set up any type of gradient with that big a heat emitter in such a small space. Most people will tell you to ditch the ceramic heat emmitter in favour of a heat mat.

Have a read of these links, this subject comes up a bit on this forum...(some arent 100% specific to your question but all contain valuable advice IMHO)





But yeah basically:
Thermostat controlled Heat mat under the glass floor of the Terrarium; approx 1/3 of the floor space. A hide above this, and the probe for the thermostat in this hide. This will be your hot zone, set at about 32deg.

At the opposite end you have another hide and this one would be a fair bit cooler, say around 26deg. This can take some balancing but by having additional hides between these 2 there should always be a place for the snake to go thats either 32deg OR cooler, to the snakes liking.

I don't personally have a IR temp gun but have been told several times that this particular tool is considered invaluable; however I do have temp monitoring at 4 points in my Vivarium, 2 cheap little thermometers from Jaycar, 1 from the pet store, and of course the digital readout on my thermostat/ timer controller

Being a hatchling; are you first going to keep it in a smaller tub within the main enclosure? Most people seem to but I have never raised a hatchling so can't comment.

I was gonna dig up some hatchling threads but decided against it I will let someone who has raised hatchlings (ie the breeders on this website) chime in.
 
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princess_tiarna

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Right ok thanks for the advice guys! I actually contacted the company that made the enclosure set I bought and it turns out it is actually supposed to be for a dragon (I bought it second hand). However, they say that I could still use the glass enclosure and all the accessories expect the heating and lighting options, as these will be too strong for a Stimson's python.

So moving on, I also contacted the breeder I am getting my hatchling from about possible heating and lighting options, and she suggested pretty much the same thing as you guys. She suggested a heat cord under half of the enclosure and no overhead heating. She also said that additional lighting (uv light) is not necessary.

I am also planning on keeping my hatchling in a smaller container within the larger enclosure until it settles in.

Again, thanks for the advice guys, it has really cleared up a lot of my questions.

Oh also, the glass enclosure is right next to a window, so i don't think the day/night cycle will be an issue
 
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Herpetology

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No point keeping the smaller container in bigger enclosure :p unless you’re having the mat directly under your the container and not the glass

glad to hear you’re back on the right track.. did you buy the stuff from a store 2nd hand? Never seen a set like that
 

Sdaji

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Good advice above.

The setup you bought is actually dangerous for a snake.

Also dangerous is placing a snake enclosure next to a window. Many snakes are cooked in this way. If direct sunlight hits a glass enclosure it will be unlikely your snake will survive the first day. If it's a south-facing window or is always shaded, you'll likely still have issues with temperature extremes ans fluctuations. It's best to keep them away from windows, ideally against internal walls.

The good news if you're on a budget is that the ideal way to keep snakes is extremely cheap. Plastic tubs cost almost nothing, heat cords are cheap to buy and cords/mats are the cheapest thing to run, and the only expensive thing you need is a thermostat.

When keeping reptiles, temperature is by far the most important thing. You want it to be relatively stable, you want to avoid chills (if a hatchling can't escape the cold it will likely stop eating and/or get sick) and you absolutely must avoid high inescapable high temperatures (if they can't avoid high temperatures they will die).

They're very easy to keep, but you do need to do it properly. All glass enclosures are not bad for something like a dragon, but they're quite bad for a Stimson's, partly because they are not thermally insulative and partly because they are so exposed (Stimson's Pythons are particularly keen to be tucked away tightly in a rock crevice out of sight, they don't sit out in the open in the sun like a dragon). Many people also have small snakes escape from those hinge-doored glass enclosures. For a hatchling Stimson's I'd buy a 25cm plastic tub, a heat cord (you may prefer a mat and for just one snake it'll likely be easier) and use the thermostat you already have.
 

Jonesy1103

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Right ok thanks for the advice guys! I actually contacted the company that made the enclosure set I bought and it turns out it is actually supposed to be for a dragon (I bought it second hand). However, they say that I could still use the glass enclosure and all the accessories expect the heating and lighting options, as these will be too strong for a Stimson's python.
I reckon you have one of these eh? (See photo)
(Mine is Exo Terra but I think Reptile One also sell it as the "Desert Lizard Starter" or some similar name with a picture of a frilly under lights on the box; getting a proper grilling from 100w Desert Light and 150w Ceramic Heat Emitter)

Sdaji has suggested the plastic tub approach for the hatchling, you will find a lot of images and threads on how to set this up (I have zero experience in this but have read a lot so if you want me to trawl for links I can do so)

Regarding what you already have purchased; see photo; this is what my Children's came in, it was an unwanted pet from someone else so I took it as is. After a lot of reading I decided to make it as suitable as possible while I built a proper shelter; I was pretty amateur and working fast because the more I read the more I realised how poorly housed my new pet was!

The good news is you can improve this very quickly for cheap; and over time you can really spruce it up for not much more.

For a start just check how much of a gap there is around the windows when the doors are shut. The one I have shuts nice and close (ie I couldnt slide a paddle pop stick in any gap; presumably a hatchling would not fit thru either? But you better check for "hatchling sized gaps" anyway.) If its built to a decent quality and not gappy, things should be ok. In any case your hatchling will probably be raised in a Click Clack at the start so escape should not be possible from ze enclosure ve haff described! (Read the last sentence in a German accent)

Also now check the top mesh for holes as it is second hand. Its just flywire so easily punctured which could make a "hatchling sized gap". These can be patched with material and sewing kit or any sensible method. I dunno about using Silicone due to fumes; so I usually trim a square of flywire and then use fishing line to sew it on.

Inside the enclosure, check where the flywire mesh terminates around the joints etc and make sure there aren't sharp cut edges sticking out (there shouldn't be on a quality build, just pays to check things inside and out).

If it doesnt have hatchling sized gaps, broken mesh, or sharp edges, the enclosure described will be OK in my personal opinion. But over time you can make it more suitable, without spending much at all (unless you want to)

Things I did to make the all glass enclosure more python suitable;

First I put it against a corner wall (thereby closing the back wall and 1 side wall from view). Then the other side I put a picture against; so with 3 sides covered the snake felt a lot less exposed. This will help with the snake feeling secure. Even something simple like hanging towels over all 3 sides will help (without smothering the ventilation). Basically your Stimmy doesn't want to be viewed from all angles.

Please of course be mindful of fire hazards and heat collection zones. And yes I have been warned multiple times about letting "raw sunlight" shine thru the box, these things act like a greenhouse basically. So mine was kept inside the house away from the windows, natural daylight gets in but never bright direct sunlight.

Even just trimming some decent thickness cardboard rectangles to stick to the back and 2 sides will add a minor amount of insulation and a fair amount of "safe feeling" to the place. And people with an artistic touch can of course add murals to these to make beautiful images of terrain etc.

Hides from the petshop aren't necessarily cheap; a flower pot from bunnings with a couple of holes trimmed out achieves the same thing (be mindful of sharp edges). See the DIY sections on this website.

Can you send a photo of the electrical bits and bobs on your setup; mine had already been "customised" so I dunno what the factory setup would have looked like. But I had a 25w UVA/UVB bulb and let me say it's bright enough for a 450 x 450 x 600h enclosure by my reckoning. This went onto a regular old Bunnings house appliance timer, providing 10h of light a day.

Mine came with a 50w red lamp but they are pretty short lasting and had I known then what I have learnt now I would have done the previously mentioned heat mat setup. I really recommend this approach.

I hope this isn't overwhelming or overbearing, it is supposed to come across as friendly hints and tips! But I realise sometimes that the written word on the internet is not the same as a spoken converaation. And remember, snakes are survivors by evolution and nature; give it the right temps and the right feeds and it will thrive in your care; there is already a wealth of knowledge to draw from on this website for those with the time and patience to read thru the backlog in the threads; and there are always gonna be others willing to reply.

Happy Herpetology!

Hi all! After a re-read of my post I have come back to edit this post, just to set some context
1) fixed a coupla typo's but there are probably some others
2) make it absolutely clear that the Hatchling Raising side of things is not what I am commenting on; I am talking about setting up the All Glass enclosure for a Juvenile

3)Just to make sure it is clear I am in no way trying to contradict Sdaji or Herptology; my advice relates solely to making the 450 x 450 x 600h all glass enclosure suitable for raising a Juvenile Antaresia (which is precisely the situation I found myself in).

4)Pretty sure I haven't tread on anyone's toes here folks but if I have ; Tiarna, be advised Herptology and Sdaji have WAY more experience than me; but I have been lumped with your enclosure before and managed to make a silk purse from a pig's ear. My advice therefore should be limited to the DIY side of things as opposed to the Hatchling Raising side of things

Cheers,
Jonesy
 

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princess_tiarna

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No point keeping the smaller container in bigger enclosure :p unless you’re having the mat directly under your the container and not the glass

glad to hear you’re back on the right track.. did you buy the stuff from a store 2nd hand? Never seen a set like that
I actually bought it off Facebook. As i said, it turns out it was meant for a dragon, but i am still happy with my purchase :)
 
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