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  • Animal Plastics Caging question

    So I'm looking at moving my boa out of her 28qt tub and into an actual cage. She's a Hog Island boa, so I don't expect her to get much larger than 6'. She is 3 years old right now.

    I'm leaning towards a T10 for the extra height. I want to use it as a display cage I can keep anywhere in my house (if my wife allows it). My house right now routinely stays around 65 degrees.

    So, my questions:
    Would flexwatt heat tape keep the cage warm enough? If not, would just a radiant heat panel work?
    Second, would the shelf be worth adding on? I think she would climb--but I wouldn't know since she has only been in a tub.
    I'm also probably going to get the light fixture, since I want it to be a display cage.

    Also, pictures:





  • #2
    Re: Animal Plastics Caging question

    My vote is for RHP. If you're dealing with colder temps, RHP is the way to go. If it gets really cool you could spring for both RHP and flexwatt. Flexwatt is super cheap, and it's better to have too much heat and keep it lower than to have not enough with one source. Also definitely yes to the shelf, she'll enjoy it.
    Previously jjurczyk



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    • #3
      Re: Animal Plastics Caging question

      I use both uth and rhp in the winter here in Ne. I have a shelf in one my cages and that female is on it quite a bit. Hope this helps.

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      • #4
        Re: Animal Plastics Caging question

        Like with what the others said. RHP will keep the air temp safe and flexwatt will keep belly heat. Note: If you have 2 different heat sources, you need 2 separate thermostats.

        Even though she is a dwarf variety of boa, they tend to have more energy than a full size boa. I think you may want to look into a 6'x2'x18-24" cage just for extra space for her to roam. A 4'x2'xX cage will have her taking up a little over a quarter of the floor space when curled up. Doesn't make it look too visually appealing... more like a snake in a box. Honestly with most animals, the bigger you can go and maintain the proper climate, the better. Some snakes just have higher minimums in size.

        Having a shelf is nice for the boa to go to when ever she feels like it and it also artificially increases the floor space.

        Edit: Flexwatt is not good at heating air. Most people recommend it because they have snake rooms which don't get under 75°F. Flexwatt can maybe raise the cage temp 2°F from the room temperature on the cool side and 5°F on the warm side. Remember that you do not want any surface to get above 95-98°F for slight risk of burns and the risk getting worse the hotter it gets. RHPs can get over 150°F depending on how hard they have to work but your boa shouldn't be able to lean against it.

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        • #5
          Re: Animal Plastics Caging question

          I'm a big user of Flexwatt but as mentioned, there's only so much room-chill it can reasonably be expected to overcome. In an INSULATED cage however, the heat does build up, no matter the source...and in fact,
          heat RISES into the cage (using Flexwatt) more efficiently than heat from the ceiling (RHP), which also does it's best to "rise". All these products should be considered as OPTIONS: use what best serves your purpose,
          for the type of reptile, type of cage & ambient temperatures where the cage is located...test the cage well BEFORE it's occupied and never ignor it once it is, as thermostats can fail. If your snake seems restless,
          persistently wanting out, there may be a good reason (too hot!?) so always pay attention to such signals.

          In your case (house @ 65*) I'd plan to use both Flexwatt (under a third or half of the cage floor) and also RHP, both on separate thermostats. You might only use one in the summer, but see how it goes: if you
          keep the A/C so the house is still 65* in summer, you'll still need both...and especially in a taller cage.

          As far as I know, Hog Islands (& especially females) are often growing larger than they first started out...so I'd go with the most spacious cage you can for comfort & temp. options...shelves and other 'furniture'
          can vastly improve any cage both for the occupant and for the viewers. Snakes need traction & things to grab onto...the natural world is not smooth newsprint, lol.

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          • #6
            Re: Animal Plastics Caging question

            Thanks for the responses!

            Right now I keep all of my snakes in a room heated to 80--so I definitely know the importance of that I just don't have experience with how well plastic cages keep heat.

            I'll definitely get both RHP and heat tape--and the shelf too! I'll probably stick with a 2x4 cage.

            I think an 80 watt RHP and 12"x24" heat tape will work well. I'll probably get a VE thermostat, ve-300x2, or a second ve-100 since I'll have an extra.

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            • #7
              Re: Animal Plastics Caging question

              Snakes actually do best when they have temperature options (thermal gradient in cage, as in nature), not in a room that's all one temperature all the time, as convenient & sensible as that may seem.

              Many members here will tell you how much better plastic cages are at holding both warmth & humidity in, but all kinds of caging CAN be modified to work. Glass can be insulated*, & keep in mind that the ONLY
              reason that plastic cages hold in humidity better is because there is VERY minimal air flow allowed. They are designed for humidity-loving reptiles (like boas) so that new owners have less room for errors. The
              thinner-walled plastic 'tubs' that some use to house snakes don't "insulate" any more than glass does, btw...but the thicker & more rigid plastic 'professional' cages probably resists heat loss better than glass, at
              least until you insulate it.

              *Keep in mind that when insulating any kind of cage where UTH is used that it MUST have some small air spaces left to "breathe"...for safety reasons, you do NOT want it to overheat. For example, if your plastic
              cage OR glass tank is sitting on a solid cabinet, that will in effect "insulate" the floor of the cage. What I use on all my cages is the narrow rubber weatherstripping w/ peel & stick adhesive on one side, sold in any
              hardware store. You want the high-density stuff, you want it to be about .25" thick when COMPRESSED, so that the weight of the cage will still leave a gap of .25", about the thickness of the electric cord to the
              Flexwatt. The cage sitting on a cord all the time will cause damage & failure, but more importantly, all you need to do is leave a couple 1" gaps in the weatherstripping (on opposite sides of the cage) and the
              Flexwatt can breathe safely too. Easy!!! (-it still needs to be regulated of course, & if the cage is sitting on a wood cabinet, keep in mind that over time, that wood is going to dry out from constant heat. For
              safety, I also put thin ceramic tiles underneath the Flexwatt...as a "heat sink" and also, should the heat tape come loose, it won't be resting on wood. Always think safety, I've been using this extensively for 30
              SAFE years now.)

              Oh, one more good reason to install rubber weatherstripping on your cages: if you experience an earthquake, it will have to be monumental to make your cages slide off their bases! I lived thru some BIG ones in
              So Cal, and ALL of my cages stayed PUT. (I promise, I don't own stock in weatherstripping...)

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              • #8
                Re: Animal Plastics Caging question

                Not saying anything that most other people have already said but figured I would chime in. You definitely want to have some Flexwatt or some other type of belly heat along with either a RHP or some other form of additional heat, if you are looking to display the snake, a RHP is the most aesthetically pleasing option IMO. There is no way that just a UTH will provide enough heat, especially in a house that is consistently 65 degrees. Plus having a RHP or some other form of heat will allow the snake to thermal regulate on their own. On a side note if your wife is allowing the snake in your bed she has to allow it to be displayed Right? that has to be some sort of rule or something?

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