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DIY heatrock?

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  • [Temp-General] DIY heatrock?

    So I was researching how to make safe foam rocks for my boa's future enclosure, when I stumbled upon this website--> Make a fake rock cave/basking spot for a reptile cage. - All It shows how to make a foam cave for a bearded dragon, but the same basic principles apply to snake rocks.

    So when you get to step 4, couldn't you just glue some heat cable Exo Terra : Heat Cable / Terrarium Substrate Heater inside the cave, then cement it? The heat cable is pretty reliable, and I'm still using some I got almost a decade ago. Just throw it on it's own thermostat, or use one thermostat to control both the hide and the basking spot underneath.

    To me, this seems like a decently legit plan. But we just have to worry about the off-gassing that might occur when the materials are heated.. but if they're used for hides that might happen regardless IMO.


  • #2
    Re: DIY heatrock?

    I wouldn't advise making or using that idea. Hot rocks were a TERRIBLE idea! In use, many reptiles suffered burns (PAINFUL & slow to heal) and deaths. They are not efficient, & heat tends to concentrate &
    cause harm. Also, they were not made of plastic...and heating plastic is not a good thing, as you said..."out-gassing", but also plastic can warp & at some point is also flammable.


    • #3
      Re: DIY heatrock?

      If you made a "heat rock" out of cement and heat tape, that would work as it will still have uneven heating but at least it is a reliable product but you would have to make sure that you don't allow the heat tape to receive more than 30% power because you don't want any surface to get above 90*F. When you aren't paying attention or when the snake lays on it, it will heat up above that and possibly injure your snake. Most of the "heat rock" I described will not be warmer than the air temp and possibly even cooler depending on the time of day with a couple sections warmer. You're better off making a heated platform which is evenly distributed above the heat tape as you are more likely able to keep a steady safe temperature.


      • #4
        Re: DIY heatrock?

        Ok, well this is why I thought of it.

        They already use this to heat a PVC perch for snakes/iguanas, and its OK to use inside the enclosure according to the instructions. They just coil it inside a PVC pipe and attach it to the wall and BOOM, a heated perch.

        Heat concentration would probably be the issue of the day. IDK it was just a thought. Still might attempt the concrete covered foam rocks but without the heat. I also have access to a clay kiln and some clay.. should I just make some hides out of that?


        • #5
          Re: DIY heatrock?

          Originally posted by acephantom903
          .... You're better off making a heated platform which is evenly distributed above the heat tape as you are more likely able to keep a steady safe temperature.
          "Hot rocks" (made of cement) are just a bad design in part because of the varying thickness that makes them look 'realistic' but allows un-even heating.

          I have successfully made & used heated platforms in the past, using some professional ceramic heat-pads (made-sold by Valentine equipment for zoos) that are "safe around moisture" (designed to bury in soil) &
          that are about 9" x 9" x 5/16" thick. I still have them -decades later they still work fine (Flexwatt is easier to use, taped under my tanks), but I'm currently using one for over-head heat for my spotted python
          and it's working every bit as well as an over-head light, & like a CHE, allows heat with darkness. Actually more efficient than a light, because it lays flat right on the screen top, not further away as a light in a
          fixture does.