Heating and lighting for a Herald snake in wooden enclosure

Heating and lighting for a Herald snake in wooden enclosure

Postby Sneakysnakie » Sun Mar 18, 2012 2:59 pm

Hi all My young Herald snake will soon be moving into a ventilated wooden enclosure with glass at the front. I need to know my options for the following: HEATING: Which of the following is the safest, best and most cost effective for heating the enclosure? 1. An infrared light OR 2. A heating pad OR 3. A lightbulb OR 4. Other? Which is best? And now: LIGHTING: Again, which one is safest and most cost effective? 1. A UV light (also what are the benefits here concerning health and vitamin D? OR 2. An energy saver light. . . . . .Please help! I need to know this to complete the enclosure
My furry (and not so furry) friends are:
1 Cat (Moanie)
1 Siamese Rat (Zoey)
1 Russian Dwarf Hamster (Di Di)
1 Mongolian Gerbil (Houdini)
3 Fancy Mice
4 Tropical Fish
1 Herald snake (Crotaphopeltis hotamboeia)
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Re: Heating and lighting for a Herald snake in wooden enclos

Postby Westley Price » Sun Mar 18, 2012 3:04 pm

Lighting is not required or recommended for Herald snakes.

They are nocturnal snakes and excessive lighting will just stress them out.

Best (and most cost effective) heating method is a heat mat/pad. Some people suggest inside the cage, others outside, so best read around and make up your own mind.

Good luck.
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Re: Heating and lighting for a Herald snake in wooden enclos

Postby michael » Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:24 am

Heating pads on the one side of the cage are a good choice. Provide the snake with a few hides on the hot and cold side of the tank so he can choose where to stay. As for the lighting, is the cage not exposed to any natural light? For example if the cage is in your bedroom, during the day there will be enough light coming into the room, so I wouldn’t worry about any extra lighting. As Westley said they are nocturnal snakes so no light at night for them.
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Re: Heating and lighting for a Herald snake in wooden enclos

Postby Sneakysnakie » Thu Mar 22, 2012 12:56 am

Ok thanks for your advice! For a Herald snake, what should the temperature be on the hot spot? And on the cool spot?
My furry (and not so furry) friends are:
1 Cat (Moanie)
1 Siamese Rat (Zoey)
1 Russian Dwarf Hamster (Di Di)
1 Mongolian Gerbil (Houdini)
3 Fancy Mice
4 Tropical Fish
1 Herald snake (Crotaphopeltis hotamboeia)
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Re: Heating and lighting for a Herald snake in wooden enclos

Postby Sneakysnakie » Thu Mar 22, 2012 1:23 am

Also, a bit off topic, but do i need to supply any extra humidity to my Herald snake's enclosure? (appart from a water bowl of course) Like spraying her or the cage with water?
My furry (and not so furry) friends are:
1 Cat (Moanie)
1 Siamese Rat (Zoey)
1 Russian Dwarf Hamster (Di Di)
1 Mongolian Gerbil (Houdini)
3 Fancy Mice
4 Tropical Fish
1 Herald snake (Crotaphopeltis hotamboeia)
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Re: Heating and lighting for a Herald snake in wooden enclos

Postby Westley Price » Thu Mar 22, 2012 8:10 am

"I am dying by inches from not having anybody to talk to about insects." - Charles Darwin
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Re: Heating and lighting for a Herald snake in wooden enclos

Postby Sneakysnakie » Thu Mar 22, 2012 5:45 pm

I read that already. . .but i still dont know if i should spray her or the cage for some form of humidity?
My furry (and not so furry) friends are:
1 Cat (Moanie)
1 Siamese Rat (Zoey)
1 Russian Dwarf Hamster (Di Di)
1 Mongolian Gerbil (Houdini)
3 Fancy Mice
4 Tropical Fish
1 Herald snake (Crotaphopeltis hotamboeia)
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Re: Heating and lighting for a Herald snake in wooden enclos

Postby Westley Price » Thu Mar 22, 2012 5:57 pm

You can buy an analogue hydrometer from many pet shops. They're only like R70 each

Hygrometers measure the % humidity, and then just spray enough to maintain 70% as mentioned in the care sheet.
"I am dying by inches from not having anybody to talk to about insects." - Charles Darwin
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Green light bulb for heating?

Postby Sneakysnakie » Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:13 am

A quick question: You know the light bulbs with a color painted over the glass? Would one of these, with green coloring, be ok for heating? Say a 40 watt bulb?

I can't seem to find a proper heating pad anywhere, and they charge a fortune for a tiny heating pad that will definitely not heat up my snake's large wooden enclosure properly. Also I can only find foil heating pads (they don't look like the best quality either), and I've heard quite a few complaints about these.

If I use a light bulb, since a Herald is nocturnal, the bulb would have to be covered somehow, although the green bulb shouldn't give off very bright light. Also it must obviously be covered so that the snake won't get burnt.

Is there a way to counter the air drying, like a bigger water bowl and maybe misting the cage with water every now and then?

How high up should the bulb be placed, and would a 40 watt bulb be sufficient or do I need to upgrade to 60 watt or more?

Thanks :smt006

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My furry (and not so furry) friends are:
1 Cat (Moanie)
1 Siamese Rat (Zoey)
1 Russian Dwarf Hamster (Di Di)
1 Mongolian Gerbil (Houdini)
3 Fancy Mice
4 Tropical Fish
1 Herald snake (Crotaphopeltis hotamboeia)
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Re: Green light bulb for heating?

Postby Sico » Mon Mar 26, 2012 6:30 am

Without knowing the size of your cage it is difficult to comment on the wattage of the bulb required to heat it. A 40W bulb will heat a small 30cmx20xmx20cm cage fairly well, but won't do at all for a cage three times that size. It also depends what your ambient temperatures are, and what temperature you are aiming to achieve. If you caught the snake where you live, and they survive there, then you don't actually need to heat the cage at all, as the interior of your house is already warmer than the exterior to some degree. If you want a light for "light" then you don't want the cage to get too hot, so a lower wattage, whiter light would be better (such as a CFl). Yes increasing the surface area of the water bowl will increase the rate of evaporation within the cage and this will increase the humidity, as will misting etc. A green-coloured light shouldn't make any difference, but most nocturnal lights are red in colour, regardless, you don't need a light on at night, neither does the snake, and as I said, you don't need to provide additional heating if what I mentioned before is the case.
Have you tried purchasing a few reptile husbandry books, or even googling or searching elsewhere on this forum? I know you are new to snakes, but you're asking a lot of questions that you should really know about BEFORE you try and keep a snake in captivity, especially something like a juvenile herald which are not easy to cater for. My suggestion, release the snake, and go and catch yourself a house snake, which are hardy and generally very forgiving when it comes to learning curves on behalf of their keepers, much easier to cater for (not a baby one, something of a size decent enough to take pinks, if you can get them). A Heralds preferred diet is amphibians, and if you cannot source those, then you shouldn't be hanging on to it just for the sake of keeping a snake in my opinion.
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Re: Green light bulb for heating?

Postby shadowfoot » Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:45 am

I would personally use the foil heating pad, I have been using them for years and have never had a problem with one. They also help raise the humidity in the cage, where as you said bulbs will dry out the air and IMO misting only disturbs the snake.
The foil heatpad also comes in many sizes, so cage size should not matter. I think if the cage is too big for a normal sized heatpad then its too big for your, as you said, small herald.
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Re: Green light bulb for heating?

Postby Sneakysnakie » Mon Mar 26, 2012 1:07 pm

The daytime temperatures here in the house at the moment are 22 - 25 degrees. Nighttime is around 17 - 20 degrees. The cage is about 60cm x 40cm x 50cm (L x B x H) it is a wooden enclosure with ventilation holes, a glass panel at the front and a lid on top. I will be using pine shavings (the ones I'm using don't have a strong smell and are quite dust free) on top of a layer of newspapers. Air temperature I'm trying to achieve is around 28 degrees and the hot spot area in the cage should be about 32 - 33 degrees.
My furry (and not so furry) friends are:
1 Cat (Moanie)
1 Siamese Rat (Zoey)
1 Russian Dwarf Hamster (Di Di)
1 Mongolian Gerbil (Houdini)
3 Fancy Mice
4 Tropical Fish
1 Herald snake (Crotaphopeltis hotamboeia)
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Re: Green light bulb for heating?

Postby Sneakysnakie » Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:28 pm

shadowfoot wrote:I would personally use the foil heating pad, I have been using them for years and have never had a problem with one. They also help raise the humidity in the cage, where as you said bulbs will dry out the air and IMO misting only disturbs the snake.
The foil heatpad also comes in many sizes, so cage size should not matter. I think if the cage is too big for a normal sized heatpad then its too big for your, as you said, small herald.


The only foil heating pads I can find here look really flimsy, like they could fall apart in the first few weeks and they are way overpriced.
With a small heating pad I mean something of 9 watts (the bigger one is about 15 watts or less) and it's all I could find so far. Don't like the looks of these, like I said, not the best quality. They look a bit like a potential fire hazard.

Sico wrote:Have you tried purchasing a few reptile husbandry books, or even googling or searching elsewhere on this forum? I know you are new to snakes, but you're asking a lot of questions that you should really know about BEFORE you try and keep a snake in captivity, especially something like a juvenile herald which are not easy to cater for. My suggestion, release the snake, and go and catch yourself a house snake, which are hardy and generally very forgiving when it comes to learning curves on behalf of their keepers, much easier to cater for (not a baby one, something of a size decent enough to take pinks, if you can get them). A Heralds preferred diet is amphibians, and if you cannot source those, then you shouldn't be hanging on to it just for the sake of keeping a snake in my opinion.


I have been reading up A LOT since I captured the little Herald, and asking specific questions on this forum is another way of getting knowledge in detail, as some of the other posts don't cover exactly what I need to know. And also, I didn't plan to go out and catch a snake, we unexpectedly found this one under a kombuis sink and I took her in.
I know I'm taking on a challenge with this snake, but I am up for it and I've already tamed her down a lot. A few people here have already told me to release her, every time I ask some questions that I think are fairly relevant, and I appreciate the few people who just gave me advice without discouraging me from keeping the Herald. There are a few people on here that did the same as I am doing now, and they were successful.
I already know their feeding needs and what they prefer, and I'm working on that.
Also I already said in another post that a house snake is definitely not for me, as they feed on mice and I'm a mouse enthusiast and keeper (former breeder) as well. Wouldn't ever want to offer mice (even frozen) up to a snake as food. And with Heralds I won't have this issue.
I can't just go outside and look around for a snake to catch anyway, and both Heralds and BHS are scarce here. The rest are venomous.
And I'm not hanging onto this snake just for the sake of having a snake. . .it is much more to me than that, which I already covered in other posts, so I'm not going to repeat myself.
My furry (and not so furry) friends are:
1 Cat (Moanie)
1 Siamese Rat (Zoey)
1 Russian Dwarf Hamster (Di Di)
1 Mongolian Gerbil (Houdini)
3 Fancy Mice
4 Tropical Fish
1 Herald snake (Crotaphopeltis hotamboeia)
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Sneakysnakie
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Re: Green light bulb for heating?

Postby shadowfoot » Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:07 pm

They might look flimsy, but my house has not burnt down yet.
Shining brightly, even for a split
second, is better than living a
dull-grey life for eternity - Jing (King Of Bandits)
A life without gambling is like
sushi without wasabi - Gintoki (Gintama)
I have no fear of losing my life - if I have to save a koala or a crocodile or a kangaroo or a snake, mate, I will save it - Steve Irwin
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Re: Green light bulb for heating?

Postby Smeegle » Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:48 pm

I've been using them for many years and they work fine.

How is the feeding going?
One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.
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