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Faulty Under Tank Heating Pad Causes Death

Discussion in 'Over the Rainbow' started by TJOHNSON722, Jul 13, 2012.

  1. TJOHNSON722

    TJOHNSON722 Elite Member

    Sadly, I have bad news to report. One of my babies, (actually it is the one i bought with the slit from the umbillical cord still open that hadnt eaten), died today. We ended up having to assist feed successfully twice. We attempted about 6 times, 4 of those times he spit it out or would work it until he could spit it out. I kept hoping his feeding response would kick in. He wasnt gaining weight and still hadnt even shed yet.

    However, I dont think that is what killed him. See last night my husband was checking on all the snakes while I was at work. We had an undertank heating pad that was connected to an on/off thermostat. The thermostat was actually running two tanks well under the wattage requirements and is set at 87 degrees. The one tank (with my pastel ball python) is fine and is actually reading 88 degrees with my temp gun. The undertank heating pad got so hot on the baby ball pythons cage it melted through the pad (there was a hole in the middle) and charred the wood of the desk underneath black (can you say almost caused a fire?). He was cooked. He lived for a little while but died sometime through the night last night. I will never use undertank heating pads again.

    Is there anything I could have done differently to prevent this? I am thinking I did something wrong, but I am not sure if it was a technical failure of the heating pad, or my fault for setting it up wrong.
  2. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    So sorry to hear about your loss!

    What brand was the UTH and thermostat? I would definitely contact the company and let them know what happened so this doesn't happen to someone else's reptile.

    Sending a pray for you and your family, I know this must be very hard to deal with.
  3. TJOHNSON722

    TJOHNSON722 Elite Member

    It was a zoo med. Here's a picture of it. I'm not sure if I should or not contact zoo med. its also hard as a rock and i am unable to bend it.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 13, 2012
  4. justor

    justor Elite Member

    What type of thermostat are you using? Does it have two separate probes? The one I use has two plug-ins for heat equipment, but only one probe. You could in theory use it to heat two enclosures, but it will only be monitoring temps in one. The temperatures in both tanks might not necessarily be the same especially if you're not using the exact same heat pads in the exact same size enclosures.

    Even with the UTH on full blast all the time though it shouldn't melt or char the surface the tank is on. I suspect it was a faulty unit, but at the same time it could have something to do with heating two enclosures with one thermostat...

    So sorry for your loss :(
  5. TJOHNSON722

    TJOHNSON722 Elite Member

    It did only have one probe, but i checked the temperatures twice daily in both tanks. It has been fine until now. I figured it was ok especially since i didnt go anywhere near the maximum wattage and people did it all the time. the thermostat itself actually has 3 plugs where we could plug in. This literally happened in the space of 4 hours. I left at 3 for work, had checked the temps that afternoon. My husband left at 4 with the kids to the park. I got the call at work about around 8pm telling me what happened.

    The thermostat is a Zilla I believe. It was recommended to us by a breeder near here. He told us that is what he uses. I figured it would be okay.
  6. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    This is the one that I use;
    Zoo Med ReptiTemp 500R

    I use exo terra brand UTH, with the two of these products, I have never had a problem. I use a digital thermometer and a temp gun to double check my temps often.

    I would e-mail them, so you have a copy of your email and their response.
  7. justor

    justor Elite Member

    I too am using the 500R with an exoterra UTH (small), and have experienced nothing short of perfection.
  8. TJOHNSON722

    TJOHNSON722 Elite Member

    I think I am going to stick to bulbs now. This is also making me very weary of using the heat tape on my custom cages. It is basically the same thing i believe. Except whats going in those are expensive boa's (for now). I would cry and mourn if anything happened to them. While I love my ball pythons, I love my boa's and big snakes more. The problem with this baby ball python was..... it was my 4 year old daughters. She checked on it, cleaned the cage when it was time, changed water daily. Did everything herself with my supervison except she didnt feed. She was super good at it, and like clockwork, would change the water in the cage and spot cleaned.

    I will check those thermostats out. I may email the company but it will have to be later because my daughter is telling me (like clockwork) it is time to feed the bearded dragon).
  9. mele

    mele Elite Member

    I'm truly sorry for your loss. I would definitely contact zoo med. It obviously wont bring back your beloved pet but they need to be aware of what happened. Thank god nothing caught fire.
  10. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    So sorry for your loss :(
  11. JoeyG

    JoeyG Subscribed User Premium Member

    Sorry about your loss. I know you had tried really hard to get that little guy to eat.

    I don't know if the UTH would be the main problem though. It should only heat up a part of the enclosure and they wont do enough to heat the whole thing unless they are oversized. It was probably faulty but the snake should have been able to move to the cool side if it had gotten really bad for it. He may have been really sick and that may have simply been the final straw.

    Again I really am sorry for your loss.... I also use zoomed, you can e-mail and see if they would be willing to do anything
  12. TJOHNSON722

    TJOHNSON722 Elite Member

    Thanks guys. I will email them to make them aware of it. Like I wrote before, the pad was hard as a rock and unable to bend it.

    I think it was the final straw for him. The funny thing is he could have moved but he didn't. He was directly on top of it. It's like he had absolutely no instincts. No feeding response, I saw one tongue flick and he is in my bedroom so I seen him quite a lot, and didn't regulate his body temperature. It's wierd.
  13. diehardislanders

    diehardislanders Elite Member

    That is horrible, I am sorry to hear that. Defintately contact them. Tell them that you brought it up on herpcenter and some of the members (I can speak for myself at least) are concerned. It will not replace your baby snake, but companies like zoo-med are often protective about their reputation. I am going to think twice before purchasing another one, and they can't really afford that. Most of us (the people that support them) do not own one heat-pad, we purchase several... because lets face it... we are addicts.
  14. TJOHNSON722

    TJOHNSON722 Elite Member

    That we are. I will email them tonight. Yes I am definately an adict. For sure.

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