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Temp Scare

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Atroxus, Jan 30, 2018.

  1. Atroxus

    Atroxus Well-Known Member

    Well last night my wife and I had a little scare regarding our Ball Pythons and Leopard geckos.

    I use digital thermometers with temperature probes in my reptile enclosures, and periodically move the probes around to make sure I have good temps across the entire enclosures. The other day I decided to try moving the probes into the hot hides of my geckos and ball pythons. I didn't want them crawling over and dragging the probes out of the hides though, so I buried the probes in the substrate down near the heat pads. (Some of you may guess where this is going)

    Fast forward to last night, my wife goes to feed our geckos and check on everyone, and sees the temp in the pythons hot hide is 126 degrees farenheit, and the geckos are at 120 degrees. So we open the door to our reptile room, make sure nobody is in their hot spots, and start troubleshooting. Surface temps in the hotspots don't feel abnormally hot(I know I should have a temp gun, and it's on my to get list, but don't have one yet).

    After about 30 minutes of fretting, it dawns on me, that I had buried the temperature I dig them up and just set them on top of the substrate inside the hides. Of course as soon as I did that the temps started plummeting, and within minutes were back down to more reasonable temperatures.

    Needless to say my wife and I were pretty freaked out for a bit, thinking, " Have we been slow cooking our snakes and geckos all this time??" Luckily all is well, but I figured I would share in case anyone else gets the same "bright idea" I had for checking the temperature of a reptiles hides.
  2. AmityReptiles

    AmityReptiles Well Established Member

    Yeah, with heat pads they create thermal hotspots under the substrate, so it heats up in pockets of higher temperatures, because of how the heat bounces around in there. (Dont ask me the specifics I'm not that smart) that's why heat mats aren't the best choice for fossorial reptiles.
  3. Atroxus

    Atroxus Well-Known Member

    I am just happy I figured out what the issue was. We were literally minutes away from just stripping out and replacing the heat pads as defective.
  4. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    Do you have the pads on thermostats? This is very important, because although the Leo's arent likely to dig around too much, the balls can and will sometimes shove the substrate around, and then they will be running the risk of some degree of burning. And trust me, the vet bills from treating 1 burn will far surpass the cost of even the best reptile thermostats. The explanation for the hot spots is fairly simple, unregulated heat pads often have hot spots of their own, I have checked a number of different pads of different brands, and have seen temps go above 135°f in a matter of minutes unregulated. Add to that a layer of substrate which usually acts as an insulator, and this is where all those nasty pictures of burned snakes and other reptiles come from.
  5. Atroxus

    Atroxus Well-Known Member

    No thermostat yet, just closely and frequently monitoring temps. Rather than buy several thermostats, I am going to buy a herpstat 4 in the next week or two, so that I can hook up all of my enclosures to it.
  6. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    Good choice on the herpstat.

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