Ambient HEAT…

Posted: January 3, 2017 in Uncategorized

For the last 15 years I have heated my entire snake building as opposed to using heat tape or other under cage heaters.  I have found doing this to be very easy and very beneficial to animals as well.

 Over the years I have seen too many images of burned heat tape or melted tubs. I have successfully bred, hatched, and raised ball pythons as well as other species without the use of heat tape or pads. 

My snakes are currently in a 400-ish square foot room within a 1,000 square foot building.  When I purchased this building,  everything was already done and it looked like a normal building in the inside, with sheetrock and paneling on the walls. 

Because I wanted this area to hold heat extremely well, I added 1 inch thick insulation board around the walls of the building.  This really holds in the heat in the winter time. Right now I’m using an electric heater plugged into a Herpstat HP and it’s set to 87. Any sort of heater that doesn’t have a digital thermostat would work. The digital thermostat ones, in my experience,  will shut off entirely and restart when hooked up to a Herpstat HP.  For example,  the Herpstat HP is set to 90 and then shuts off, the heater was also set to 90 and shuts off, when the Herpstat powers back up the electric heater won’t start and would need to be manually restarted and that would be each time. The heaters I’d recommend use a “dial” on them and can be set from low to high. Most people use the oil radiators from Walmart or Home Depot, which have the “dial”, not a digital reading. 

Anyway, there are two thermostats, so if one were to fail the other would catch any issues until I get back. I’m in this room dozens of times a day and if I’m out of town I have someone come check them. 

The electric bill is $232 a month, which is based on an average of the first year I was in this property. Last January my bill was just under $500….so I wanted something more consistent and switched to budget based billing. 

I change the temperature setting quite a bit and will set it to 90 or 91 or as low as 80 for a day. I’ve found that a temperature swing is very important to the successful breeding of ball pythons when using ambient heat. I’ve not had any issues doing this over the last 15 years.

 Further, I’ve looked at the temperatures in Ghana, via AccuWeather, and have tried to mimic those temps especially during the breeding season. 

Right before and for a few days after feeding is when I increase the temps to the low 90s.  Before I pair things, I will set the temperature to a lower setting for a day or two and then raise or again when I actually pair the animals.  

I will also use box fans to circulate the heat throughout the room. 

In them summer time in SC it stays nice and warm without any supplemental heat. I will use a fan to circulate air, otherwise I can’t stand it sometimes. And on the rare occasion,  like on super hot days where the room temp may get above the low 90s, I will turn the air in the building on to 85 and then use the box fans to pull the cooler air I to the snake room. 

If you have any other questions,  send me a message and I’d be happy to help. And make sure to subscribe to my blog! 

Hope this helps some! 


Peter Ruegner 

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