We will be moving this summer and plan to order a pair of custom cages for the snakes. We'll be ordering them ahead of time and having them shipped down ahead of us and leaving the old/current cages behind. I have a lot of things to figure out though and would love some input. We're on Spring break next week so I plan to do most of my research and decision making then, so I'd like to get some good input now. We have a corn snake who is currently living in a 29 gallon, and a ball python who is currently in a 40 breeder. Right now I'm mostly leaning towards ordering from PVC Cages: Snake Cage and Reptile Cage at PVC Cages | PVC Cages: For Healthier and Happier Snakes and Reptiles BUT I've discovered these too and I love the price, but I can't tell anything from the site in regards to lighting, heating, and ventilation: Animal Plastics Lastly, Monster Cages is our 3rd option right now, but it appears they don't come with an option for a radiant heat panel, and I don't know how well we can control heat with just heat tape... Monster Cages Four-foot Plastic Reptile Cages We will be making a few more moves after this one, so I REALLY like that the PVC cages aren't preassembled - we can take them apart for easier packing/shipping when we move again. If you have any other suggestions for places to buy good custom cages, please let me know! (Or if you have any good or back feedback on any of the above cages). What we need: - Safety - needs to be 100% escape proof (obviously) - built in lighting and heat - easy ability to control heat/heat gradient - Must be stackable, space is an issue since we have no clue what our future apartmentS will be like space-wise - Costs need to be kept as low as possible, but I am expecting/prepared to spend ~$300 for each cage, give or take (though lower cost would be a great bonus) My Questions: 1.) What size to order? - Right now we are leaning towards getting a pair of 48" wide cages (both cages will be the same size for easier stacking). We could go with a 36" cage, but that wouldn't be much of an upgrade for Shiiva. Both snakes are super active, and with the money these will cost, these will most likely be their permanent cages. - With that in mind, we need to decide on height. Space and size are an issue, since we have no clue what our living space will be like, and we will be making multiple moves (so a big bulky cage will be more difficult to transport). Because of this, I'm leaning towards the 12" height. That would be less expensive as well, and only 4 inches shorter than Shiiva's 40 breeder. My hesitation with that is that no one seems to have told either snake that they are both terrestrial! lol Both snakes love to climb. Would the increased floor space be enough to make up for the lack of height? I mean it should.... - Also, if we DID decide to go with the 36" cages, they would have a 36x24 (864 sq" or 6sq') base instead of 36x18 (648 sq" or 4.5 sq') so they would have an extra 1.5 square feet of floor space. I know that technically a 40 breeder is big enough for an adult Ball, but I just feel like it's not enough room. Shiiva is close to 5' long and super active. The SO and I will be discussing before we make a decision, he's leaning towards bigger is better also, but IF we got the 36x24 cages we could get 24" tall cages that come with perches. Would that possible be better, considering how much both snakes like to climb around? 2.) Heating? - We will probably be going for radiant heat panels. The choices (on PVC cages) are 40 watt or 80 watt. I'm assuming we need at lest 80 watt. Assuming that the house temperature might be as low as 60F, (hopefully not, but if we come back up to Alaska some days it's just darn cold), but will Probably be around 68-72F, and a.) Is the 80 watt radiant heat panel going to be enough heat? b.) If that isn't enough heat, how can we increase it without heat lamps? c.) How can we control temps and establish a proper temp gradient with a radiant heat panel? d.) Will the heat panel get hot enough to risk burns? I've heard they don't but want to be sure e.) How often to heat panels need to be replaced? - Some cage companies offer heat tape - I don't know much about heat tape. Does it go in or out of the cage? Would it even get through the cage wall/floor material enough to warm the cage? Would it get warm enough? How would we make a gradient? How would we control temps? 3.) Lighting? - Do fluorescent tube lights get hot enough to cause burns if they touch them? - I know there was some info a while back on coiled fluorescent lights causing eye damage in reptiles, have there been any indications since then that straight tube lights do also? I wouldn't think so, but I want to be sure! - On that same line of thought, IF we at any point wanted to try live plants in the cage (I know, I know, they'll probably just get crushed/destroyed lol), would a fluorescent bulb made for plants be safe for their eyes?