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Arizona Mountain Kingsnake Heating

Discussion in 'Kingsnakes' started by SPruitt22, Sep 3, 2018.

  1. SPruitt22

    SPruitt22 Active Member

    My kingsnake was originally housed in a 50-gallon tank with a 100-watt basking lamp and no heat pad. Well, I recently moved him to an exoterra 24x18x18 and actually did research on how to best care for him. I was originally planning on using a mix of heat pad and basking lamp to keep him warm. I planned on continuing using the basking lamp during the day and then have a five-gallon heat pad come on at night. The pad is situated under his hot spot hide so that any heat will be trapped in the cave keeping it at 85 degrees. I got a thermostat to control the heat pad since I was worried it would get too hot. The 100 Watt bulb ended up being too hot, exceeding 100 degrees in the hotspot causing my king to stay as far away from it as possible and stopped being active during the day. I then tried using a 75 Watt bub instead, but it also proved too hot at around 1o0 degrees. I am wondering if I shouldn't try a 50-watt basking bulb and see if it would better match the correct temperature, which I have read is around 85 degrees, or try a different heat source such as an infrared bulb or heat emitter. I would rather not use a heat emitter since I have already purchased a deep dome lamp that cannot be used with a heat emitter. I have heard a lot about just using a heating pad under his hide as his only heat source all day and night, but am unsure if that is the best option. I have measured the ambient tank temperature as being around 79 degrees and the thermostat controlling the heat pad is set to a max of 85, which its digital readout tells me it is usually around. My only worry is that when it gets colder here in the winter the ambient temperature will be too low and my kingsnake will never want to leave his hide. Would a five-gallon heat pad produce enough heat to keep him active during the day? Or should I try the 50watt basking bulb or another heat source? Also, I currently have the thermostat probe under the hide but on top of the substrate, but am wondering if I should be worried about the pad burning my kingsnake if he were to burrow down to it since to warm the hide to 85 degrees it typically exceeds 95 or more degrees. Please let me know your thoughts on the matter. Thank you.
  2. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    As I mentioned in another thread, get a heat pad big enough for the tank in question and skip using the lights as a heat source. You'll have much more stable temps than if you are trying to switch back and forth all the time. And I would return that dome if at all possible, if you end up needing additional heat to control ambient temps later it will be much more efficient to use a CHE rather than a bulb, if for no better reason than you will go through dozens of bulbs before you reach the lifespan you get from the emitter. There are also steps you can take to help a tank retain heat, like adding insulation foam to the outside and such.
    SPruitt22 likes this.
  3. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Snakes I've had were always easier to keep a base temperature with stick on heat tape under the tank. Just at one end as you want a gradient. Place a piece of slate over it and it will retain heat nicely.
    I would also do as suggested and use a CHE on a rheostat for the rest of the required temperature.
    A little time to set it up properly in the beginning saves a lot of headaches later.

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