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Baby rack

Discussion in 'General Construction' started by BlackJack, Mar 6, 2006.

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  1. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    I'm getting prepared... still not 100% sure if Talyn is gravid: but preparing the baby room is fun!
    Here's my rack -- it's not yet finished. I'm using metal shelving insulated on 3 sides with styrofoam. The individual boxes (8L) are heated by two 50 Watt heat cables -- I'll have to run some temp tests to see if that will warm them up enough or if I have to go up to 150W. The shelves are lit with white Xmas lights. (I would have liked to space the shelves a bit closer together but the spacing was pre-determined on this shelving system.) The room will be heated to 25C.
    There's enough space in the rack for 28 babies to be housed individually.
    What do you think?


    Here it is with Talyn's terrarium in the background.

  2. kenman1963

    kenman1963 Moderator

    Wow Andrea,,,what an awesome job. It looks fantastic !!!
  3. aiden_punx

    aiden_punx Elite Member

    looks great hope she is gravid. is that just a basic white shelvin unit?
  4. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    Ken did you get my PM?

    Aiden: it's not white but it's one of those metalic shelving units that snap together. I just had to buy 4 extra shelves.

    I'm not sure it'll make a difference, but I thought metal might spread the warmth a bit more than wood. I still need to drill air holes in the boxes and I want to put two perches in each one. (These can also be used as chondro hatchling boxes!)
    Then I just have to wait and see...
  5. venus

    venus Founding Member

    Andrea,,,you're the bomb!!.. It looks fanstastic!! Great Job.
  6. Bitis Gabonica

    Bitis Gabonica Elite Member

    Fab job Andrea! - I sure hope you get something to fill it!!:D
    Can I ask - where did you get the tubs and how much were they? They look just the sort we need for our Hogg rack, but we are having trouble finding some for a decent price, the closest we have found are going to mean that our rack will be a very very expensive creation!!:D Also, what measurements are they?

    Really great job:)
  7. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    great job...they look really good...i hope your baby is preggers!
  8. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    Bitis - I got the boxes at Jumbo (it's a DIY store here). I like them because they have nice solid clip lock lids -- not a lot of jarring to get them open and shut but a good strong fit. AND the boxes are very transparent. :)
    Here's the info on the bottom of the box:
    Heidrun Europlastic
    cm 33x22x16
    lt 8
    They have smaller and larger sizes. I had to buy the lids separately but altogether for one box I paid about GBP 3.30
    I hope you can get some like these, I think they're going to be perfect!
    I also bought some little plastic plant saucers to use as a water dish and I got a good sized PVC plumbing pipe which I'll cut in half and in pieces for washable hide boxes.
    Now it's up to Talyn!
  9. zaroba

    zaroba Elite Member

    what ever happened to herp lovers wanting the best conditions and setups for thier herps?
    babies or not, thier still pets. like keeping a dog in a cage all its life, i doubt herps like it very much in ugly, barly decorated racks that only provide the proper light and heat when its nothing like thier natural habitat.
  10. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    Zaroba I understand your concern about the rack system; but as I stated, it is not yet finished and it is for hatchlings. It is the best way to keep up to 28 baby snakes if you want to monitor them individually: ie. who has eaten, how much, who has defecated, urinated, etc. Also as far as "wanting the best conditions and set ups" this is the way to go with little babies. Young snakes need very specific conditions to start off well and being able to reliably control the temperature and humidity in their environment could mean their very survival.
    When finished, my boxes will have nice perches for climbing and hide boxes. They are not going to live out their whole lives in there: just until they are eating regularly and reliably and I can sell them.
    Having said that, there are keepers who have larger rack systems for adult snakes and that works well too. I prefer to keep my adult animals in larger naturalistic terrariums, but babies have special requirements AND yes, it is much easier on the breeder to be able to monitor all the little ones easily and keep everything clean.

    My female rainbow boa's home looks like this and any snake that I keep as an adult will be similarly housed. This terrarium is: 5.5' long, 3' deep and 3' high.


    Honestly though: I think the terrarium decoration impresses me more than Talyn. :)
  11. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Zaroba, dealing with dozens of hatchling snakes takes a little more effort than dealing with a snake or two in an attractive display. There are a lot of things that must be very carefully controlled and this is impossible in a larger decorated display type situation. It just isn't practical. If you go to any breeder's website you will find similar setups. It allows for the creation and maintaining of a very precise, carefully controlled, environment.

    While you are entitled to your opinion, to imply that Andrea is not properly caring for her snakes, just because she is not following what, in your opinion, is the "proper" way to do things is rude and unnecessary.

    And as beautiful as Talyn is that's saying something!
  12. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    Thanks for the support, Merlin!
    I think I should clarify: the display terrarium impresses me more than it impresses Talyn. (Not more than Talyn impresses me!):D
  13. zaroba

    zaroba Elite Member

    i'm not saying that i don't believe in her ability to care for them. but babies or not, its like buying a few dogs, breeding them and only keeping them in cages because its easier to care for them (like large scale kennels). or like in chicken farms where they keep hundreds or thousands of chickens in an area too small for them to even walk around. it would cause boredom and stress.

    if i made a 'rack' type setup, i'd go with what some petshops have. shelfs with 10 gallon aquariums. have em all set up to provide the best conditions and environment to keep them happy and stress free. it sounds expensive, and it easily can be. but if you say its too expensive to do and thus wont do it simply because its harder and more expensive, then it's a good example of 'you shoulden't get an animal you can't afford'. it's like buying a gecko and tossing him in an empty coffee can with a small lite and misting it daily. the gecko would hate it, but it would be easy to care for.

    look at talyn's viv. its a beutiful tank. i'd set up 10 gal tanks with a setup similer to that one. the babies would probably be less stressed, much happier and already used to a viv environment when it came time to sell them or move them into a nice tank of thier own, which means less stress for them in the long run.

    yes, this is all just my opinion and i can't really stop you from doing what you want. i just believe in keeping reptiles in a habitat thats more like the habitat they'd be in when in the wild. it probably makes them feel more at home and probably makes them happier.
  14. Bitis Gabonica

    Bitis Gabonica Elite Member

    Zaroba, while you are entitled to your opinion, I have to disagree with your point of view. I can hardly say that keeping hatchling snakes in a racking system is the equivilant of keeping battery-caged hens and the like - that is detrimental to that animal's health. Racking systems do not reduce the quality of life for snakes at all - in fact, particularly for babies, they can be very beneficial; babies can be kept separately with ease, and with minimum cage furniture it is easy to see that the snake is eating well, defacating normally and is healthy overall, something which can be far more difficult, if not impossible, with newborn snakes in "natural looking" enclosures.

    Furthermore, a snake really doesn't care or even know whether it has a plant pot, a toilet roll tube, a piece of bark or a fancy shop-bought hide, that is for our pleasure. The snake only cares that it has somewhere to hide and feel secure. Racking systems can increase this feeling of security.

    I don't know if you have ever bred snakes yourself? - but putting aside the reasons as to why it is easier for us to house snakes in racks, the reasons that are purely beneficial to the animal far outweight any negatives. We keep some of our adult snakes in vivariums and others in racks - while the tanks may look nicer, the racks are equally as good homes for the animals. We often come up against controversial opinions on the matter, but racks allow for better hygiene - plastic boxes are far more easily cleaned than wooden vivs - and allow the snake to feel very secure, while still allowing for the room needed (racks don't have to mean small homes for the snakes). On top of this, we have a few large snakes in large vivs, but they are still not kept with "natural looking" decor - while it would be nice to have bark and chipped flooring and bark and leafy enclosures, it would be nigh on impossible and very expensive to thoroughly and hygienically clean out a 9ft python or boa every time they went to the toilet.

    Just wanted to put across my opinion on the matter. Sorry to hijac the thread Andrea - thank you for the info on the tubs. I think we have some very similar here for a similar price, we will have to search around and acquire some soon (Joe has worked out a late May date for the Hogg's babies - let's hope she's not bluffing!!!):D Any ideas on dates for Talyn?
  15. zaroba

    zaroba Elite Member

    yea, thats all true as well.
    i guess it all comes down to what you'd rather like your animals in :p
    and no, i never have bread snakes at all. it'd be interesting to get into, but i'd rather not try due to the possible costs and lack of time. and, (i really do hate to say it) but even though i the thought of useing racks, i can bet i'd whip up some cheap rack setup to keep them in mainly due to the space requirements and difficulty of using aquariums.

    heh, yea the chicken farm was a bit of an exaderation :p
  16. rbl

    rbl MacGyver in real life

    Zaroba, if you like your animals you provide them the best conditions, right? The best conditions for newly borns are enclosures that maximize their life expectancy. Naturalistic enclosures have several issues that may represent a risk in that matter and have practically no pros, only cons.

    Andrea, you have a Midas touch =) You took an ugly metallic shelf, some xmas lights and styrofoam, and made a rack that could convince my wife to let go of the other half of the room where we're keeping our herps =)
    I do hope you get babies for it!

    Just one tiny reminder: when you took some temp measurements, did you had substrate and decoration in the box? And btw, (it's kinda stupid asking this but you never know) did you took the readings after letting the heat on for several hours?
  17. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    Thanks for all you nice comments. I'm sure it will look even better when it's really done.
    I haven't taken the final temp measurements yet: as I still have to make air holes in the boxes and put the "furniture" in. Thanks, those are all important reminders about all that making a temp difference. I'll let you know! :)

    Rachel: as far as a due date: I'm going with the Jan 11 shed as her POS, so I think that will put me somewhere around the end of April or May.?? Someone said it would be about 120 days.
  18. Joe

    Joe Elite Member

    Great looking rack Andrea :D

    As Rach says I reckon the 18th May is going to be the day, well going by her POS :D Gives us time to save some pennies for the rack, as you'll know with heat cable, a stat, boxes and wood it ain't going o be cheap, about 300-400 GBP!!

    Good luck I hope you get babies :D
  19. Lyn'sSteve

    Lyn'sSteve Elite Member

    Awesome display Andrea!

  20. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    Baby box

    Here is one box set-up for testing the temps. I've hooked up a thermometer with probe to test different points along the bottom of the box and a thermometer for the air temps.
    Here are the pics: paper towel, 2 perches (scorched PVC plumbing pipe), water dish. Hide box (also made from scorched PVC plumbing pipe)



    The whole rack will be set up on a thermostat to keep the temps from getting too high.
    I've found that one strip of 50 watt cable doesn't heat the box enough (only 80.6F(27C) -- warm side floor temp) I've read that for rainbow boa babies it should be closer to 82.4 F(28C)

    By doubling the cable under each box I can get a floor temp on the warm side of 87.8F (31C) and on the cool side 83.12 (28.4)-- According to most sources, this is too high, but as I said, I can lower it with a thermostat.

    This is the confusing part: Some sources say extended temps over 85F (29.4C) will kill a rainbow boa... another source (book: Rainbow Boas and Neotropical Tree Boas, R.D. Bartlett) recommends daytime temps of 85-90 (29.4-32C)!!!

    Since most other sources suggest temps between 80-85 (27-29C) I think I'll try to stay in that range.
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