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auzzy Posted - 03/04/2020 : 17:52:50
Hi all,

Just wanted to clear a few things up regarding my heat mat setup. I currently have it stuck to the bottom of a wooden viv, buried under some aspen bedding, regulated by a thermostat.

1. Does the mat need to be protected under a physical barrier e.g pane of glass on top, or is the thermostat enough to keep the snake safe if it burrowns down and lays on it? I am reading some conflicting advice on the net.

2. Does the thermostat temperature probe go under the aspen (against the mat) or on top of the aspen (a couple of cm above the mat)

3. How do I measure if the hot side of the viv is hot enough given this setup, or if another heat source e.g heat lamp is required? Do I measure the surface temperature of the aspen or the air temperture?

Thanks for your help!
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Kez Posted - 09/04/2020 : 16:26:08
Hi Auzzy

No problem, you're welcome!

I use the Lucky Reptile LTH-31 Thermometer Deluxe, link below for Amazon. There are two probes, one for each end

With regard to the temperature at the hot end, everyone has their own opinion on whether to provide a basking heat lamp in addition to the heat mat. Personally, I have basking lamps for both of mine and they definitely use them. The heat mat is there for them if they need warmth and also to help them digest their food and then they also have gradual, cooling temperature gradients as they move along the length of the viv, so you could say it's the minimum they need. If you provide a heat lamp and they get too warm, they can move to a point in the viv where they're more comfortable; as long as the snake has a warm end with a heat mat and a cool end, it will know where it wants to be.

With regards to the shedding, I have one Corn who sheds perfectly every time and another who is a messy shedder. If you find it to be a frequent problem, you could always give the enclosure a very fine misting when you notice the snake is getting ready to shed. Either that, or you can let the snake wriggle through a damp towel once they have shed, if there is stuck shed left.
auzzy Posted - 08/04/2020 : 19:04:39
Hi Kez,

Thanks so much for your reply, that's really clear advice. I do have the mat taped down but it's very sturdy tape and very neatly cut to avoid the ends fraying / risk of catching the corn. That said it never really occurred to me that it could simply be placed on the bottom. I will certainly give that a try, no need to put my corn at any unnecessary risk.

What type of digital thermometer are you using? It sounds like you have one with a dual probe but I couldn't really find any of those on amazon.

I'm still a little unclear if I need a secondary heat source. My corn has been quite happy with a single heat mat under his smaller glass viv, but I've just moved him to a 4ft viv so I definitely want to make sure it's warm enough in there. He's always shed absolutely perfectly in the past, but this time it was in a few pieces so I want to check everything is perfect with the new set up. I'm hoping it's just one of those things or perhaps due to the sudden change of environment. It did get me thinking about the temps though. My thermometer probe on the hot side, if placed next to my thermostat probe, is aways going to say 29 degrees i.e what I set the thermostat to, regardless of what the air temperature is directly above the aspen. Am I worrying unecessarily?

Kez Posted - 04/04/2020 : 11:41:08
Hi Auzzy

Quick question first; how is your mat stuck to the bottom of the viv? You don't want any kind of sticky tape inside the viv as snakes will burrow and if tape sticks to their scales, it can cause really nasty injuries when they try to get unstuck/when the owner tries to unstick them. The mat doesn't actually need to be stuck down, if you have a reasonably heavy hide for the hot end, you can place that on the mat and that should keep it in place, more or less.

1. No, you don't need to put any barrier on top of the mat; the thermostat is there to ensure the mat doesn't go over the temperature you set it at. For Corns, it's between 28 - 30 degrees.

2. The thermostat probe must go directly onto the mat so that it measures the temperature on the surface that the snake will lay on. You can put the aspen on top of it. If you notice the temperature go really high or low, just check that all of the probes are sat properly on the heat mat as the snakes have a habit of disturbing them when they burrow and lifting them off the mat and above the substrate (aspen).

3. As long as the heat mat has a thermostat set at the right temperature, then that should be fine, although it's a good idea to buy a digital thermometer to place the probe from that next to the probe of the thermostat. That way, you can visually see what the temperature of the mat is sitting at. There will also be a probe for the cool end, which we sit on top of the substrate to read the air temperature.

We also provide our Corns with a 40w basking lamp, which they definitely use. That's on every day for between 8-12 hours, dependent upon the season and if it's really high temperatures outside, then we often turn it off to avoid overheating the snake. However, it is vital that you cover this with a guard to ensure the snake cannot get to the bulb and burn itself!

I hope this helps

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