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Heat lamp vs UTH for only source of heat

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  • [CHE/Heat Lamp] Heat lamp vs UTH for only source of heat

    Hello everyone, my question has been asked alot however id like to address this in my own way for my overthinking minds sake. I know aquariums are not the most adequate of housing however that is what I am using for the next few months before I move into a boaphile. I currently have a ghost boa, about 4 feet in length, she lives in a 40 gallon breeder aquarium. I use a uth on a thermostat set to 90 degrees. My temp on the hot side is 90 at the substrate. But only 80 degrees ambient about an inch above the substrate. For ambient temp I use a moonglow black heat bulb. My issue here is that my boa darn near refuses to use the uth. It seems to me like i should move my heat lamp to the hot side instead of the middle and just use my dimmer switch to make my hot side 90 and gradient the heat to 80 on the cool side and do away with this uth. Any thoughts here? And if it makes any difference my boa does not use hides at all. She will hang out around them but never inside.

  • #2
    Re: Heat lamp vs UTH for only source of heat

    I am not a fan of the heat lamps just because I had trouble keeping the humidity up when I used one. Also belly heat dose help with digestion. Have you shot a temp gun on the UTH surface yet, it may be a little to hot. You could try backing it off 5 degrees. My boas tend to hang out on the heater for a few days after feeding. Well I hope this helps you out.
    P.S. you should take a look at the care guide on this home page.

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    • #3
      Re: Heat lamp vs UTH for only source of heat

      I'd say your UTH is too hot for the boa to use as is...I'd lower it until the actual surface is comfortable (more like 86*). What substrate are you using??? Many will not allow enough heat to rise through it but instead
      they serve as "insulation" -an impediment for the heat to rise into the cage. I am a fan of both glass cages and UTH, btw, & for about 12 years successfully kept a BCI that way (in a much larger tank). There are
      modifications you must do though, to make it work. (I insulated the back, sides & bottom to keep the heat IN the enclosure as much as possible, & reduced airflow somewhat by covering much of the screen top.)

      But, I used BOTH the UTH and overhead heat lamps (red or black bulbs so the brightness didn't bother my boa) and she seemed both happy & healthy. Remember that heat rises...so much of the heat from overhead
      lamps will never go into the cage...that makes them unsuitable to use alone. Snakes do BEST with 'belly heat' but it must be comfortable (safe! not too hot) or they won't use it at all or get burned if they try.

      I also made a huge hide-box* that covered a little over half the floor, over the UTH, so that warmth & security went hand-in-hand, & she used both the inside AND the top for basking upon. Many hide-boxes don't appeal
      to our snakes...a little creativity helps. By making a large & very stable (non-slippery) hide-box, it also gave her much more space...just like a second-story house does for us. (I made it so it just fit inside the tank, out
      of wood sides coated to waterproof, and a piece of melamine/tile-board? for the top; on that, I used a new doormat (nylon carpet type w/ rubber backing) so she had traction for a secure feeling. It was a total win, as
      when she used the top of it, she was also closer to the (dimmed-controlled) overhead lights too. Temperatures everywhere were comfortable, and she had the other side of the cage to cool off.
      (*I put 2 arched-doorways at the one end, so she could more easily come & go...also a "win"! Height of the hide was about 5". I'm truly no 'carpenter' & making that hide for her was the best thing ever, & not difficult.)

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      • #4
        Re: Heat lamp vs UTH for only source of heat

        I'm going to echo what [MENTION=13772]Noelle7206[/MENTION] said. If you MUST use a glass tank, her ideas will probably keep your boa the best way possible until your new enclosure arrives. Good luck, welcome to the forum, read the care guide as suggested and post some pictures!
        http://berkeleyknebel.wix.com/mississippimorphs

        Photo credit:Eddie Ard .....Banner Credit:Big PaPa Ernest

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