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  • [General Care] New owner

    I just brought my baby Redtail Boa home tonight. I have her in a 10-gallon glass aquarium with a screen top. I have Aspen chips in the bottom with a small bowl of water on one end and the "heat source" (which is a clamp-lamp w/a 60-watt regular bulb). She has completely "burrowed" under the chips and is totally hidden now. Is this normal? I was told to use a plastic bowl, upside down with a hole cut in the top so she can "hide" in, but when I cut the plastic, it left the edges sharp and I don't want her to cut herself going in. Right now, I'm just concerned about her being under the chips and about leaving that light on her all night and her not getting her day/night regime right. Help!

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Re: New owner

    Her being burrowed is perfectly normal. Do not leave that light on all night. That will stress her out. You need to get a ceramic heat emitter or an under tank heater hooked to a thermostat so you can properly control the temps. I highly recomend reading the Ultimate care guide on this site. It has alot of good info you will need. You will soon find out that a glass aquarium is a very poor cage for a snake but can work if modified by covering 2/3 of the top with plexi glass to help hold in heat and humidity.

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    • #3
      Re: New owner

      COVER SOME OF YOUR TANK WITH PLASTIC RAP AND IF I WERE YOU ID GET A HEAT MATT FOR UNDER THE TANK BECAUSE THEY NEED THE BELLY HEAT AND CHANGE THE REGULARE BULB FOR A LOW WATT HEAT BULB.. BUT THATS JUST ME IM SURE THERES ALOT OF WAYS.... PS make sure you feed your snake in something else cause it would stink for your snake to get one of those aspen chips stuck in its mouth...thanks for listening

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      • #4
        Re: New owner

        Thank you so much! The guy at the Repticon show told me to also get a purple or blue bulb to use for night time. I'm going to read the care guide you suggested, but will she be okay tonight using the blue bulb? I just don't want her to get cold. I am going out tomorrow to get her some "real" goodies (the right heater, thermostats, a hide space, etc.).

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        • #5
          Re: New owner

          I use red nocturnal/heat bulbs for night time. They offer radiant heat and give off less than 10% visible light within the snakes' visual range.

          I agree with the covering the screen to retain heat and humidity. I have glass tanks for my snakes, and I have a double layer of 1/8" rolled plastic insulation covering about 1/3 of the tank (over the cool side), and I have a sheet of plexi cut to cover the remaining 2/3 of the screen. My lights are suspended about 3 inches above the plexi on the warm side. The plexi isn't a perfect fit so there's a little space around it for air flow, but with this set up I rarely have to mist to keep up humidity.

          One problem with having a light right on the screen is that dome lights create one hell of an up draft and the humidity is sucked right out of the cage. By suspending the lights above the plexi this eliminates that problem.

          I would also recommend covering the sides and back of the tank with something. It could be cardboard, cereal boxes, newspaper... I use the jungle mural aquarium backgrounds. Why? it helps reduce stress in the snake. Being able to see out all sides can make a snake feel like the are exposed and not secure and safe... kind of the same principle behind using a hide. Larger reptile enclosures like Boaphiles, Pro-Line, Animal Plastics, etc are opaque on all sides except the front window. This really helps reduce stress. Not everyone agrees with this and there are plenty of people who use glass tanks and don't cover any of the tank sides. It's just something I prefer and recommend.

          Speaking of hides: you can use a cereal box, or any other box - just cut a hole in one end. You can also use opaque Tupperware (if you have any) and just prop it up a little on one end with a rock or something. There are quite a few things you can use as a hide... just make sure it's clean first.

          And I agree with using a UTH as well as a thermostat. You can find inexpensive but functional thermostats for $40 to $50.

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