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Wow, your roommate sucks. Thank you for being willing to help this poor snake!
You can get a cheap plastic tub at Target (or similar) and use a couple bungee cords to reinforce the lid locks. The 27.5 gal Sterilite bin is $15 and can support a 4 foot snake (bulls would prefer a bit more space, but this will meet its needs in a pinch). If you can find a clear Christmas tree storage tub, that would work even better size-wise, but they're hard to come by this time of year.
Yes, they do need a hot spot at all times of the year. She'll be okay if you need some time to gather supplies, just hold off on feeding her. If you do get a plastic tub, you'll need to use a heat pad (can buy from any pet store, they're not expensive) and thermostat (all heating elements can reach dangerous temperatures if left unregulated). You want a hot spot of high 80s. Throw that heat rock into the garbage right now, they are dangerous and ineffective.
Ambient humidity is usually just fine unless your area is super dry. You can use a spray bottle to bump it up, though. If you use a substrate like coco husk, cypress mulch, or a bark blend, that will help retain moisture if you're having trouble.
Reptile-specific rescues are few and far between, but they do exist. You would probably have better luck posting on a FB group - look for some combination of "[your area] + reptile/snake" and you will likely find something! Sometimes people have even successfully rehomed snakes through posts on this sub.
Keep your heat mat on a thermostat! Check Amazon for the Hydrofarm Jumpstart. Do this ASAP, before anything else. Snakes don't feel pain the same way we do, and they have been known, commonly, to literally cook on an unregulated heat mat. Jumpstart
Make sure you have lots of clutter in that tank, and at least two hides which would be relatively snug fits. It is a very large tank for a young BP. Use black/dark paper to cover the back and sides of the tank. BPs like to feel safe, and that will help especially since the tank is so large.
Moving around at night is normal. They are nocturnal creatures. Being nocturnal, you should look into switching the lamp to a ceramic heat emitter (think light bulb, but without the light, only heat). Artificial light is unnecessary for them.
Don't handle them for 36-48 hours after feeding. You don't want to stress them and cause them to regurgitate.
Try to keep temps around 82, even at night, and no higher than 88 or so during the day
No it won't really give belly heat, you need a heating pad for a ball generally, and they are literally not usable without a thermostat. I got one for $18 on Amazon and it works fine. This isn't exactly it but close:
You know your limits better than anyone else, but really, we're all here cheering you on. Once you get the tools you need for a snek, they're so easy to care for, and they are wonderful pets. My snake was out last night and both my roommates got to hold her for the first time. She also chose to perch her head on my roommates thumb for a straight 90 seconds and I basically died of how cute it was.
Just because corns are easy doesn't mean that you were born with the knowledge to care for them. A thermostat from amazon will regulate your temps for you and then you can rule out the temps being an issue. Feeding is probably the most stressful part, but with patience,that can be overcome too. All snakes can go long periods of time without eating, so a couple more weeks of trial and error won't make him any worse for wear. You can do it!
I don't recommend the ones with them built in. Do you have a glass tank? When I had glass tanks I used an appropriately sized Zoomed Reptitherm heat mat, and used this thermostat from amazon. it's cheap and does the job well enough. I still use that one for my quarantine enclosure and I've had no issue with it.
If you want to get the best thermostat you can, spyder Robotics makes really nice ones. I use a Herpstat 2 for my ball pythons and it's fantastic, very safe and reliable.
I use this thermostat: Hydrofarm MTPRTC Digital Thermostat for Heat Mats [link]
And I got a strip of LED lights, a remote control dimmer, and a power cord on Amazon for lighting since it gives off no heat and can be adjusted. I can link you if you're interested in that :) Although I will add that my BRB freezes and/or retreats to a hide with lights on. Pitch black and he'll pop out within ten minutes!
I would get a thermostat ASAP. They're only 20$ on amazon for a cheap one! 98 isn't very comfortable and you're right that he might not be moving despite it being hot because he's still scared. My worry would just be if the heating pad spiked or something malfunctioned and it went above 100 degrees, which is burn territory.
If you're really worried and can afford the thermostat now, I would buy one. :)
Cheaper option is the jumpstart thermostat you can grab from amazon. Not sure why it's 33$ right now though, I got mine for 20$ in Oct.
I wouldn't worry about the eating at all! Leos take a while to settle in and get used to their new surroundings and my girl waited about a week before she was ready to eat. Your gecko is just busy getting used to its new environment and I wouldn't be concerned unless it goes on for a few weeks or more.
As for the heating mat, if you don't already have one, my recommendation would be to purchase a thermostat for it that can directly regulate the temperature. Amazon has several good options. I use this one and haven't had any issues with it but there are plenty of other cheaper options.
Edit: I'm not sure what temperature gauge you're using now, but chances are you'll get much more accurate readings with the laser heat gun and be able to tell exactly what your floor temps are, which will tell you if you actually are having an issue with the mat heating the cool side or if your readings are just weird.
If you hook up the heating pad to a thermostat, that will ensure it stays at 90. Heat pads alone without regulation often overheat and cause digestive issue, and can start fires or cause burns in extreme cases.
She will defiantly get lighter, at the very least when her spot pattern develops and the pigment spaces out. In general though they can be rather dull when cold or dehydrated
You want the humidity to be around 50-60%. you should really get a thermostat for the heat mat it should be around 90 degrees which is so close to our body temp that it makes it hard to tell what temperature it is at. Unregulated heat mats can get to 110 degrees or more which can get burn your snake. "Thermostat I use"
I was using a simple green mat but right now I'm using paper towels. Here's a link to my current thermometer
Jump Start JumpStart MTPRTC Digital Controller Germination Heat Mat Thermostat [link]
She is a Mojave morph and she is super sweet. Good eater too.
I'm just looking for something to log her enclosure conditions and allow me to monitor them remotely. I have a dedicated dumb thermostat to regulate her UTH. It is much more reliable than any home automation kit.
[link] I've used this one for years and it has never failed on me
No problem! In case you need any recommendations, this is the thermostat I use. You can find a few cheaper options, but this one has been going strong for me for a few years now so it's my recommendation. The heat mat just plugs right into it and the probe lets you set the temperature super easily. A temp gun is also about $15 on amazon. Best of luck to you and your future leo! Sounds like they'll be well taken care of :)
No, not a thermometer. A thermostat, has a probe like a digital thermometer and it can measure temperature and regulate your heating element. The Jump Start is a good affordable one. But if you're running heat lamps you're gonna wanna switch them for a ceramic heat emitter because the turning on and off again will burn the bulbs out quickly.
Sounds like she has some good hiding spots!
Depending on the distance from your bulb to the bottom of the tank, I'd imagine that it's not getting very warm at all. If you want to keep the bulb at a lower wattage, you can supplement the warm side with a heat mat on the bottom of the tank. You'd need to have this connected to a thermostat that turns the heat source on and off as needed, like this.
For comparison, I put 75 watt bulbs in my heat lamp and I have the lamp positioned over a piece of slate. That's 3x the power of the bulb you have now. But I don't use a heat mat.
Paper towel is fine for a young gecko.
Once it gets older you may want to switch to a different substrate.
Which heating options do you want to use? An under the tank heater (UTH) or a ceramic heat emitter (CHE)?
When using a UTH you will need a thermostat. The substrates you can use with UTH are paper towels, non adhesive shelf liner, or something like slate tile. You cannot use dirt/loose substrate with a UTH because the heat will not go through.
When using a CHE, you can use whatever substrate you like. As long as it's safe for the gecko. 👌 The heat from a CHE comes from above. It's like a heat lamp but it gives off no light.
9/10 times someone claims the gecko has stopped eating, it’s because the gecko has given up trying to digest given improper temps. It sounds like your heating pad isn’t hooked up to a thermostat. If it’s getting above 94, she will be very uncomfortable using it. I highly recommend this brand of digital thermostat and almost guarantee that will solve the problem. Set the thing to 90, and have the probe read the center of the heating pad. This way it won’t overheat
This timeline of posts since you got him gave me an anxiety attack, Coconut has been displaying a myriad of stress related behaviors related to his inadequate enclosure that you seem to be misinterpreting as cuteness. He needs to be able to hide while digesting, and heat rocks are notorious for causing burns. Heating pads can only help if they’re usable for the gecko, they heat the floor not the air, so with it under the glass in his hide he’ll be more comfortable getting the necessary heat to better regulate his body temperature. The way his tank is set up currently is so hazardous to his health, I wouldn’t be surprised if it stunted his growth, caused a digestive disorder, or killed him.
Please take that heating pad off the wall and affix it to the underside of the tank, below his warm hide, and get that heat rock out of there. Then hook up a digital thermostat, place the probe inside the hide over the center of the heating pad, and set the thing for 90°f. Unregulated any heat source could overheat and cause a fire, or burn your gecko. It will also conserve electricity
Please get a thermostat, using your hand is not a reliable way to tell the temperature. It could feel completely fine to us and be burning them. Our bodies are 97+ which is much too hot for them, so if it feels warm to you it’s way too hot for them.
Jumpstart thermostats are on sale on amazon
Those stick on humidity gages are usually pretty inaccurate and then also if you ball python messes with it and it falls off, it can stick to them and possibly rip off scales. I recommend a digital hygrometer. Accurite is a good brand and you can find them cheap on amazon. Also the UTH is good for a hot spot, but you may have trouble keeping ambient temps up since the UTH won’t do much for that. For ambient temps you will need some kind of overhead heat source like a CHE. I have both a CHE and UTH. Make sure they are both regulated as if they are left unregulated they will get way too hot and burn your snake. You can get cheap thermostats on amazon as well. This is the one I use [link]. Hope this helps!
Oh okay, I have one of these I got for the heat mat, which I can return, would something like this one work? If not do you know what brands I should look out for? [link]
I use 20 gallon long tank with some dirt in it and cork barks. Half of it is heated with undertank heat mat sitting on cheap and reliable thermostat set at 85-90F:
They eat cucumber skin shavings, shredded mozzarella cheese, whatever vegetable leftovers from table, salad greens. They are easy to keep.
If you want your temps to be safe for your snake, you must get a thermostat (a Herpstat if you have the cash and want the extra safety features, or at least one like this inexpensive one: [link])
Without one, you will eventually get a burned snake from unregulated heat sources. Both the mat and any heat bulbs should be regulated.
If you can feel any heat from the mat inside the cage, it is too hot. Human body temp is above 90 generally (my hands are consistently 94+ and I typically have cold hands) and if you feel it then it is way too hot.
Sorry kept thinking of more stuff to tell you. Make sure your thermometer is near the heat of your heat pad so that it doesn't get to hot. There is a thermometer that can turn off your heat pad so it stays at a certain temp, This is my current one. You just plug your heater into this device and the device is plugged into your power source, then if your heat pad spikes for some reason it will turn off.
Here's a simple one as an example. With the probe set right that'll ensure she can't be burned when she's burrowed on her hot side.
Can't wait to see pictures of her!
Heat tape has a tendency to get really really hot when it fails. You should have it hooked to a thermostat regardless of it being the "right temperature" or not. This jumpstart thermostat gets really good reviews and isn't particularly expensive.
Oh that's exciting! I'm sure that you already know but since it's a VERY common rookie mistake I have to say- if you are getting an UTH for you snake it NEEDS to be regulated by a thermostat. An unregulated UTH can easily overheat and badly burn your snake. You can get a reliable thermostat on Amazon for $30:
Feel free to ask if you have any questions!
I figured, given how you described it. You need to get a real thermostat that you can control properly. For cheap options, I've seen people use this one and have no complaints. There are better, of course, but in a pinch, that should work.
This is a cheaper thermostat, you plug the heat mat into it and put the probe on the floor inside the warm hide set to the right temps. If you have amazon prime I would unplug the heat mat to keep your gecko safe. Another great item to get would be a laser thermometer to monitor floor temps because sometimes those thermostats can be a bit off.
This may be a little late, but I use two of these with mine, and they work pretty well, just make sure you hot glue the sensor directly to the bottom of the tank, on top of the heat pad.
Jump Start MTPRTC Digital Controller Thermostat For Heat Mats, Seed Germination, Reptiles and Brewing [link]
Wow, thanks for the reply! I actually hadn't come across anything about RHP in any of the care sheets/setup videos I looked at, so I'll definitely give that a look. I've been at the mercy of my house's heating, which has worked so far, but I was going to get a space heater since the temperature is only going to get colder. I like the idea of the RHP a lot better.
Ninja Edit: Also, the thermostat I use is the Jump Start one, and it seems to do well. I'm not sure I can spring for the spyderrobotics one at the moment, so will that one work for now?
If you don't have a lot of money, but want to replace your thermostats. Jumpstart ones on Amazon have done me good for a year and a half now, and are very affordable. Easily something you can use until you can save up for something nicer.
I've been using This one Which, has done okay for me. Only difficulty is sometimes the little suction cup on the sensor end doesn't like to stay in place.
Polypropylene and Polyethylene, the plastics that those bins are made of, require temperatures of at least 248 degrees Fahrenheit to melt, and that is the conservative, low end number. I'm not aware of a heat pad that will get anywhere near that hot. That being said, you still need to buy a thermostat to go along with your heat mat, as you have to have a way of regulating the temperature of the "hot" side of your reptile's enclosure.
Any decent reptile shop should carry them, or you can order one from amazon via the below link.
Wow, sorry, I never got a notification about this thread! This is the thermostat I got that I was recommended on this sub: [link]
I was not able to tell from the page whether it has variable output or not.
Crickets or meal worms should be the staple diet, then use the super worms or wax worms as treats once a week maybe twice. You definitely want to have a thermostat for each tank to keep the temperature of the heating pad regulated, I suggest this one.
A great setup for keeping your brew at a consistent temperature is a cooler and a seed warming pad. Prop up the seed warming pad along one wall of the coolers walls. Wedge something along the hinge so the cooler remains open at least 4-6 inches. Then drape a light flannel over it.
To get more high tech get one of these thermostats:
UTH and regulated by this. I'm using medium UTH. Measuring the temp at the top of the substrate - he doesn't burrow that much - so I didn't put the probe at the bottom of the tank. I have the temp regulator set to 85, but the UTH can't get the top of the substrate to that level - should I get a red light?
You're welcome! Oh, and here's a lower-end thermostat that a lot of people use: [link]
Herpstats by Spyder robotics are significantly better than this, if you have the money for it. But they're about 3-4x as expensive per probe. Much more precise and safe in the long run though.
Do you know if the hydrofarm thermostats would work for aquariums? I'll have a few of them left over when my reptile rack gets in and it would be nice if I could get some use from them
I have this thermostat and I have yet to have any problems if you end up needing a new one. For the one I use (and to my knowledge its the same with most others.. I could be wrong though!), you put the probe on the inside of the tank, on the ground. For my leopard gecko I keep the probe laying on the tile on the same side as where his UTH is.
It's very pretty, but not ideal for a ball python. The lights will stress Gary out and hurt his eyes. Consider getting an under the tank heater (with a thermostat) and, like the other commenter said, ditch the thermometer and hydrometer for a digital one.
This is a great thermostat.
is your heat pad making good contact with the bottom of the tank? It does take a while to reach temp too.
You should really buy a thermostat to control the heat mat. It will keep it at a steady temperature and once set up and a little double checking with your temp gun is pretty much set and forget. They are not very expenive either.
This is the one I ordered. Apparently I'm able to plug in the mat into the device and it would regulate the heater
Jump Start MTPRTC, Digital ETL-certified Heat Mat Thermostat for Seed germination, Reptiles and Brewing [link]
you keep the heater on all the time. the thermostat (like this one) will keep the heat mat at a steady temperature, just the one for the ac in your house does. it will not burn him if its only set to the needed 90*F. what you were told about is using a heat mat without using a thermostat so the mat is running full power 100% of the time, which can easily get around 150*F, which can be dangerous. heat rocks can do the same too, so avoid them as well.
top of the tank being mesh is fine, it will hold heat a little better if you want to try to seal it off though. simply putting some tin foil/piece of cardboard or wood over the top will work. mostly wont be an issue, but could be useful if it gets cold where you live in the winter to help keep temps up.
Im not quite sure what you mean, are you going to be putting the plastic bins in the tank as hides? or keeping him in the bins instead of the tank?
If the bins are in the tank it should be fine. However either way you set it up you NEED a thermostat to control the temp of the heat mat like this one. This will let you set the temp for the heat mat instead of it running full blast, as too high a temperature can cause harm. youll want the mat on one side of the tank so theres a hot side and a cold side for your gecko to move around and regulate his own body temp. 90F on the hot side, 80ish on the cold side. the thermostat comes with a probe to stick on top of the heat mat that tells it to turn on and off when it reaches a certain temperature.
I now know why I have been SO confused on putting the probe b/w uth and tank. The thermostat I have is this onehttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B000NZZG3S/ref=sr_ph_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1474642323&amp;sr=sr-1&amp;keywords=thermostat+for+reptiles
And the probe is meant to be inserted into soil, so it is significantly larger. I was confused by that for so long.
Also, is the only place to by heat tape online?
Make sure to get a digital thermostat instead of a analog one. I personally recommend the Jump Starts.
Install the probe over the hot spot of the UTH (normally in the center) and hot glue it in place.
Really though, Herpstat 2 is an overkill for your needs. It is pulse-proportional and dimming thermostat with humidity control. None of those are needed for controlling UTH. For UTH most effective will be Hydrofarm Jump Start.
Unless of course you need to set day/night schedules and control humidity as well.
If you live in the US, a cheap temporary thermostat would be a Hydrofarm. You can buy them off Amazon. Since they're ON/OFF they're not good long term. When you can, I'd suggest a Herpstat or Vivarium Electronics with pulse-proportional. It should have whether or not it's supported in the description.
Do you have the mat connected to anything? The analog thermometer is going to try(and do a poor job) to measure the ambient heat of your tank. Since your heat mat is heating the substrate and not the air, you'll need something with a probe to measure the temps or a temperature gun. Also, if your heat mat is not currently being regulated by a thermostat like this, it will probably be reaching temperatures high enough to burn your snake. If you post pictures of your enclosure, it will be easier to see what is and isn't working right.
For a cheap thermostat, I recommend this one. It will shut the heat pad off if it gets too hot to avoid burns, and turn it on if it's too cold. Though it's not the best option, you should save up for a better thermostat like a Herpstat.
Your tank is also very small, I would upgrade it to a 20 gallon when you get the chance. It's probably okay for now since your leo is so small, but the next time Petco has their $1/gallon sale I would grab a 20.
I can't really give you straight answer. I would raise the coolest temp to 78F, though. You can use ceramic heat emitter with thermostat for night to keep temps stable. You could route thermostat probe to the coolest corner and set it at 78F. Here is good one.
The good ones are expensive, yes. They are also a requirement. You can get cheaper ones like this one that work fine however. Your heat pad will plug into the thermostat itself, and the probe for your thermostat should be sandwhiched inbetween the heat pad and the tank so that you are controlling it directly. You then want to measure the basking area inside the tank (which should be in/under his hot side hide) with an infrared temp gun, do NOT use the dial thermometers, they are horribly innaccurate.
This one works just fine, and you want your lil beeps hot spot to be 90-92 F
I have my girl in a 40 gallon with a custom hard top and 2 UTHs, one set to 91 one set to 80. This is a decent inexpensive one to use. I also covered the sides and back of her tank on the outside with some black foamcore craft board to aid with heat retention.
you really need to use a thermostat instead of a rheostat. i recommend this one for a low-end option.
you need to either sandwich the prove between the UTH and tub, or hot glue it flush to the floor inside the tub. letting it sit on top of the paper towel is why it was so slow to read/respond to temperatures.
Putting more layers isn't going to fix anything. Snakes enjoy burrowing under things, it will just burrow under it. The only true option is to buy a thermostat, otherwise you will just torture the snake more and more from the hot temperatures.
Here's a cheap option
I've been using it for a while now and it works like a charm. Put the probe between the heating pad and the glass, or put the probe inside the enclosure and on to the glass. Use a thermometer gun to determine it's temperatures, as the thermostat is not to be trusted entirely.
Snakes will often harm themselves just so they can feel secure; even if their hide is too hot, they will stay in it, because it makes them feel secure. Even if the warmth is too warm, they will stay in it, because they need warmth. It is up to you to make sure everything is right.
Heat mats and a good temperature control(I highly suggest this one) are necessary. Keep one side of the tank around 90-92 in the day and a couple degrees cooler in the night and keep the other side unheated. Have one "hide" spot in the unheated side, one in the heated side, and a moist one in the heated side as well for use in shedding. For heat mats I use zoo-med brand though there may be better ones- just slap one or two under the side you want to heat. Geckos hate sunlight and as an extension hate heat lamps. Just for your reference, a uth is an under-tank heater. If you are using wood chips as a substrate, I would suggest tiles or "reptile carpet" instead.
Yup, that sounds about right for a BP. They love knocking things over, but giving them things to slither around and over can be enriching, so I like to offer them plants anyways.
Do you have a thermo*meter* to measure conditions in your tank? How about a hygrometer to measure humidity? You definitely need both of these. And note that dial gauges are notoriously inaccurate!
Do you have a thermo*stat* for your under-tank heater? If not you NEED one. An unregulated thermostat can and will reach dangerous levels. Hydrofarm is a good starter thermostat, and look into Herpstats or VE thermostats for the long-term.
What substrate are you using?
Thanks for the reply, I'm going to switch from aspen chips to coconut fiber and seal up the top of the tank. As for a UTH replacement, I'm going to pick up a large exo-terra pad from my local pet store right away, and see if they have a decent thermostat in stock.. if not I'll probably just order this: [link]
Herpstat and VE thermometers do seem a bit overkill for one tank, so I'll see how this works. Though I would like to get a higher end heating pad.. something that will last more than a couple years.
ninja edit: Should I be concerned about air-flow after sealing the top of the tank?
Those mats can spike in temperature and then return to normal. I don't know why they are even sold without some sort of temperature control. Anyway, if it is a burn, it sounds like it's a mild one. Just monitor your snake's condition closely and keep the enclosure very clean to reduce any chance of infection. If you're using a different substrate, it might be a good idea to switch to paper towel for a while until the problem clears up.
In the meantime, unplug the pad until you've got a thermostat. Here's a cheap one with a good reputation: [link]
Alternatively you can use a regular lamp dimmer, but unless the room your snake is in holds a very steady temperature, you're going to have to adjust the dimmer at least a couple of times per day.
Actually they seem be even cheaper than that. They seem to be pretty highly reviewed, although I would definitely want a more expensive one if I had multiple snakes on a rack system.
I decided to go with a Jumpstart Digital Thermostat. Thinking that with either a heat mat or ceramic heater would be nice. I've had so much different advice from so many people it's a wonder I can figure it out myself. I think it boils down to this. There's a risk to anything heat related. I actually like the idea of the ceramic bulb. Bulbs can smash, heat pads can fail and burn the animal, heat tape can do the same. Again, I was using a 30W bulb, there was NO reason it should be able to get as hot as it was. I mean I understand it's a small tank. But it's all I could afford, and the snake is really small anyways. He really hasn't spent that much time in the hot area, mostly stays in his hide and comes out at night. Just wish people would be more open minded about how they suggest things.
Hey there! First off, it's always better to have this stuff completely sorted out before you bring the animal home.
For daytime heating, my skink does perfectly fine with a ZooMed 100w on just one end, with a clear basking spot he can fit on. Remember 12 hours of light on, 12 hours off.
For nighttime heating, ambient house temperature is probably fine, although in the winter a heat pad would definitely help. This also depends where you live, if you're somewhere really cold a heat pad would just be recommended in general.
To prevent fires or overheating (which could burn your skink) definitely get a thermostat to regulate the temperature. This is the one I use for my ball python and works great: [link] (to clarify I don't use a heatpad for my skink and he does great.)
As for shed, it can sometimes take longer than just a day. If there really seem to be pieces that appear stuck, you can fill a small tub with lukewarm to warmish water and let your skink soak, applying little massages. Remember not to pull on any sheds!
If you have any more questions, let me know! I am in no way an expert but all this info comes from my experience as a fellow skink owner!
Thanks for the response! I like the look of this thermostat by Hydrofarm.
One thing I thought of was maybe the 15quart is too low? I saw that sometimes they like to hang on things, is that something I should worry about?
Also, for hides, should I just try to see what they fit in when I get one? Or is it a trial and error deal.
Thanks for all the help!
to be fair, OP did say under another comment that they're going to be looking into getting a thermostat for it
there's the one that I use for the heat tape in my snake rack OP, if you really wanna go out and get the rolls royce of thermostats get a herpstat! they're expensive as fuck though, the one I linked is like 30 bucks
I get crickets & mealworms from a pet store near my house. With only 3 geckos, it just isn't worth it to breed my own.
And yes, they are excellent pets! They don't smell, can be left over the weekend, and don't care if you don't have time to "play" with them. All they want and need is a thermostat regulated heat source, 2 hides, a water dish and calcium powder and you're good to go! Not to mention they are super cute!
For thermostats, the Hydrofarm Jump Start one for seed germination is the best bang for your buck. For UTH, just forgo the pet store stuff and jump directly to an Ultratherm in my opinion, they're generally more reliable -- but anything is better than nothing for this poor animal.
Thank you so so much for giving him a home... and if things don't work out, don't blame yourself. He's a sick animal that's been through a lot. You trying to help is more than most have done for him. You're a good person OP.
He's... gonna have issues. PVC pipe makes a great hide, and an overhead heater is better than nothing. I'd honestly recommend keeping him straight on paper towel for the time being, it's easier to clean and check for problems until he gets settled into trying to be a healthy snake, and it's cheaper to replace than substrate. A simple bowl, two hides, paper towels. That's the basics they need and for a sick animal, it's probably the way to go because if he is sick, it's a lot easier to sterilize that and a lot cheaper than replacing the bedding every week.
You know it's coming -- if you CAN get him to a vet, I would do that ASAP. If not... I get it. What you can do personally in the meantime is check him over for snake mites (like snake fleas, really small, like specks of black pepper moving over him,) and listen to how he breathes. If you hear clicking when he breathes, it's a strong sign of a respiratory infection. Those can be very dangerous, and you're gonna need to pick up antibiotics for him if that's the case. Since he's probably definitely underweight, fighting it off will be hard for him -- my vet told me to keep the ambient temperature in the enclosure a few degrees higher to help fight them off, and when my corn was battling his, it helped immensely. Heat is going to be a lifesaver for him in general... the thought of what he's endured is making me choke up in all honestly. I'm angry for him. But that's neither here nor there; an overhead heat source will do until you get an undertank heater!
That done... just... give him some time to settle in. A week before you touch him or try to feed him, unless you're gonna run him to the vet. He's been through a lot. He needs some time to feel secure and safe in this huge new environment. Once he's had that time to settle, try him on a nice frozen-thawed feeder of appropriate size, maybe even smaller just so you don't overload him all at once. If he's stubborn, hit the head with a hair-dryer to heat it up a little more than room temperature (not too hot!) and see if he'll take it then.
(Be sure to thaw the rest of it first, naturally. No offense meant whatsoever, I've just... seen some things in my time.)
If not, no pressure yet. This will take time. Leave it in there with him overnight, some of my snakes won't feed from tongs and prefer to find it on their own, and he might be similar. Him not constricting isn't too bad on its own, some of my snakes are like that -- but the reason for him doing it is almost definitely his health. He's probably pretty weak.
If he won't take it by morning, toss it. You can try again another time. If he doesn't eat after a week or two, you might need to source a freshly-killed mouse to try him on... given his state, I'd be terrified to try live even as a last resort. Again, a vet can advise you on what to do here, but if there are any snake-savvy folk around you that you can ask, they might have advice too. I'm sure the people here can give some great advice, too, but nothing will really compare to a vet being able to have hands-on time with the animal and to diagnose and advise him directly.
Does he look... wrinkled at all? He might have a stuck shed if he does- after he's had time to settle in, maybe try to give him a soak in some nice warm (not hot!) water if so, and then put a towel in his enclosure for him to rub it off on. May take a few tries... slow and steady will help this fellow, and be warned that a lot of snakes like to go to the bathroom in warm water. You'll have to take him out, wash everything good, and put him back into a clean container if he does. They always do in my house...
This is long, so TL;DR:
-Vet if possible
-Quarantine him to keep an eye on him. Paper towels/butcher roll, two hides, heat, water bowl. Sterilization over Beautification and all of that.
-Give him a week to settle in before you try to feed or handle him
-Check for respiratory infection, parasites, and other issues with his health
-When you do try feeding for the first time, try frozen thawed first
-If he won't feed from tongs, leave it in there overnight with him
-If he won't take that, toss it and try next week
-If he doesn't eat after a few tries, try a freshly-killed mouse
-You're doing good, but this will take time and it won't be easy
Snakes are resilient. I have faith in this one... keep us posted!
Edit:// I can't format text on reddit very well.
pvc reptile cages are hands down the best type of enclosure for ball pythons [and most other snake species].
here's my BP info/link dump, you might find it useful.
the first three links are detailed care sheets, then a tub tutorial, and the rest are product recommendations. read everything thoroughly, come back with any questions. let me know if any of the links don't work.
glass tanks can be very challenging for ball python husbandry due to the high amount of air flow with the screen top and the total lack of insulation with the glass walls. it's generally recommended to use tubs or pvc reptile cages instead. wood enclosures can also be suitable if they're designed well and sealed properly to protect the wood against moisture. glass tanks can work, but they require a lot of modification and maintenance, which you'll find tips for in the second link. i'll give you product recommendations to cover options for tanks, tubs, and pvc/wood enclosures.
Ideally you’ll want two identical hides. One for each side of the tank. The ones you have are WAY too big. They need to feel snug in them. My boy has basically outgrown his favorite hides, but still stuffs his whole body in them regardless.
There’s also too much open space for a snake that size. It can cause lots of stress for them.Try cluttering it up with some more fake plants. You can get them much cheaper at any craft store near you. Just be sure to clean and dry them first.
Not sure what the heating source that you’re using is, but no matter what, it is vital that you are regulating the heat with a thermostat. This is NOT the same as a thermometer. Here’s a cheap, but reliable one. This will prevent any possibility of burns or overheating.
Speaking of thermometers though, the stick-on one that you are currently using is VERY dangerous and extremely inaccurate. The adhesive on the sticky ones fail quite often and can cause serious damage to your snake if they get caught up in it. Example of adhesive damage here.
Please invest in a digital thermometer/hygrometer ASAP and remove the sticky one.
Humidity might be difficult to keep up in a screen-top glass tank as well. Not impossible, but definitely difficult. Covering part of the screen top can help retain the moisture in the tank if you are having trouble keeping it at an appropiate level (55-80%). Switching substrates can also help woth humidity. Coco fibers like Repti-chip or Eco-earth are good options that won’t mold in the higher humidity environment.
I hope that all helps! If you have any other questions, please let me know!
exactly what kind of research did you do? because this enclosure does not look like the product of good research.
you might find my BP info/link dump helpful. the first three links are detailed care sheets, then a tub tutorial, and the rest are product recommendations. read everything thoroughly, come back with any questions. let me know if any of the links don't work.
i have recommendations for all kinds of things.
spyder robotics makes high quality thermostats to regulate your heat sources with pulse/proportional temperature control and various safety features. this is a popular cheap thermostat with simple on/off style with zero safety features. inkbird thermostats are also low-cost but overall higher quality than the hydrofarm type.
since there are a lot of basic husbandry problems here, and your snake is now injured as a result, i'm going to post my BP info/link copypasta. the vet will help you in treating the current issues, but you have a lot of changes to make so this doesn't happen again.
I'm just going to drop this link dump from u/_ataraxia. The first three links are fantastic care sheets and will talk about feeder size vs snake size and age. The rest of it highlights products you may need.
>Do I need to get a weight scale right away, or can that wait for a few weeks?
It can wait, you'll want his first couple of meals to be the type of prey that the breeder was feeding anyways.
>How long should I wait to move the little guy into the 30 gallon? How big should he be?
General rule of thumb is that the length+width of the enclosure should be at least as long as the snake. A standard 10 gal is about 20" by 11", so that will be sufficient until your snake is about 30" long, though you can certainly upgrade him sooner (just make sure he has lots of hiding opportunities so the extra space doesn't freak him out).
>If I get a more humidity-holding substrate, can it be mixed in with the aspen shavings or should I replace the old substrate with new substrate?
Aspen molds quickly when wet, so I would avoid mixing it with a moisture-rich substrate. If you need to increase your humidity, just switch them out instead.
>I need some tank clips to keep the top closed, any recommendations?
Any of the commercial varieties (like from Zilla) should be okay, someone else can correct me if I'm mistaken on that (I've never used clips because I've stuck with tubs/PVC cages).
>what should the ambient temp gradient be vs. ground/local/hotspot temperatures?
Hotspot 88-90F, Ambients can hang out around 80F, avoid letting it go below 75F.
>any other comments/criticisms?
Thermostat!!! All heating elements need to be regulated with a thermostat, especially your UTH (which can spike up to 120F if unregulated, a very serious burn risk). You can get a decent one on Amazon for 20 bucks. If you have the funds, a higher-quality Herpstat or Vivarium Electronics thermostat is even better - those will run you about $100 but last a lifetime and have better safety measures.
Not sure how you intend to use that lamp, but I recommend ceramic heat emitters over heat bulbs. Bulbs - even red lights - will disrupt your snake's day/night cycle, so a CHE allows you to keep consistent heating without compromising that. However, you probably won't even need the lamp once you get your tub (and they are not safe to use with plastic tubs anyways), because tubs will be much more efficient at temperature insulation.
For your half-log, the opening is still more exposed than ideal even with having the back up against the wall. However, I think if you hang some foliage over the front all drapery-like, that should fix that!
Give him a week to settle in without handling (you can make an exception if he soils himself or needs more water, etc), then try to feed him inside the tank. You can begin to handle once he's taken a couple meals. If you're having trouble getting him to eat, see this write-up. BPs can be stubborn for no reason, but usually if they refuse to eat it means that something is bothering them.
Good luck! :)
DIY outdoor greenhouse for my succulents this winter.
Build it with the zippers going up leaving a crack at the top. Cut a small vent on the bottom behind the ceramic heater for adequate ventilation. Get a humidity monitor to make sure it doesn't get too humid.
[More pics](<blockquote class="imgur-embed-pub" lang="en" data-id="a/Ml0lK"><a href="//imgur.com/Ml0lK">DIY greenhouse </a></blockquote><script async src="//s.imgur.com/min/embed.js" charset="utf-8"></script>)
Yes, even a Jump Start will let you control temp
unless that newspaper is literally glued to the floor, don't count on him never getting under it.
there are lots of simple on/off type thermostats on amazon, commonly used for things like gardening, brewing, etc. here is a popular example. these thermostats will create some temperature fluctuation [which is not necessarily a big problem] and do not have any safety features such as automatic shut-off is something malfunctions.
for something more sophisticated and higher quality, spyder robotics and vivarium electronics are two popular companies. these thermostats have features like proportional control for a more consistent temperature, safety shut-off, etc.
i use both the jumpstart thermostat and a herpstat4. both are perfectly fine options.
To address your first question, rats and mice are different. If the breeder said she's eating ft (frozen thawed) hopper mice, then you shouldn't have any issues feeding her a small mouse. That is, if her set up is correct. Ball pythons don't ever really need to be eating mice to be honest. I know there are more differences between rats and mice than I'll get into here, but for one mice have higher fat than rats while rats are higher in protein and that's important for a growing ball python hatchling. She'll soon grow out of mice entirely so you should switch her to rats as soon as you can. But try to get her to eat what the breeder says she's been eating first.
Your comment about the temperature makes me concerned that you don't have a thermostat for your heating. You need to buy one immediately. This regulates the temperature of your heat mat. Otherwise (like you mentioned) it's going to get hot and stay hot. 103 is WAY too hot. You want to have her warm side at around 91. This amazon link is a very reliable brand of thermostat that a lot of people in the reptile community use: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000NZZG3S/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_image_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 You should also get a temperature gun if you don't have one to accurately check the temperature regularly and make any necessary adjustments.
Okay. You don’t need any lights, I was just making sure you didn’t have any. Temp on the warm side should stay around 90 F. If you don’t have a thermostat for your uth, you need to get one. I have this one: ([link]). You should also get a temp gun.
As far as hides go, you should have at least 3, one hot, one cool, and a moist hide. Even if they aren’t shedding, it’s good to keep one out at all times. Make sure he isn’t on loose substrate, I prefer tile or paper towel. And you should keep a pure calcium supplement out at all times. Just put some in a milk cap.
Here is my set up: [link]
It’s very plain and I’m actually going to be buying some more stuff to put in soon, but it can give you an idea of the basic necessities.
68 is too cold; having a thermostat hooked up to your heating pad would help with that! (shouldn't go below 77).
heat wise it shouldn't go above 84/85; maybe a fan like another user suggested??
Not true. These are incredibly dangerous and can burn through plastic
This snake almost died not very long ago because of an unregulated heat mat
There are many, many cases of reptiles being burned to death by heat pads, regardless of brand or wattage
A cheap, solid thermostat can be had for a little over 25$ on Amazon
Jump Start MTPRTC, Digital ETL-Certified Heat Mat Thermostat for Seed Germination, Reptiles and Brewing [link]
Is risking your gecko dying a terrible death worth 25$?
Doesn't have to be this size obviously lol but here's what I mean by real heat tape that's flat [link]
Here's a cheaper thermostat I used this one for over a year and it worked amazing. I did end up switching to the VE ones though. They have might drop and stuff for people who are into that and it also has an alarm if Temps get to high or low but here's a cheaper version [link]
They mean the heating pad needs to be hooked up to a thermostat in order to safely stay at temps appropriate for your gecko. Then you can use thermometer/hygrometers to read the air temps and humidity of the tank
A 10 gallon will be fine. Make sure you pick up a thermostat aswell so you can monitor the temperature of your under tank heater. I also recommend picking up a thermostat so you can ensure your little guy is staying the same temperature while you are away. They are about $30 on Amazon/Ebay.
Excuse the wordy response, I realize you only asked about equipment. Jump to the end for some links.
You're just trying to start the germination process and give your little babies a starter home.
Stick with a "soilless" potting mix as it will work better than rich soil for seedlings. I use bulk Baccto, since I'm doing a lot of seedlings, but a small bag of Jiffy does the trick. I try to stay fully organic so avoid things like Miracle Gro.
Check on the seed packet for preferred germination temp (or Google for details). Some seeds won't begin germinating until they're warm, like nightshades, and will just rot or stay dormant in cool soil.
Humidity is the same, many seeds will start better with higher humidity/moist soil so a dome covering the tray is useful.
A few seeds will only germinate if they have light (surface sowed) so, again, check the specific seed requirements.
Once your seedlings begin to grow (look like little plants?) remove the domes and turn off the heating pads, they don't need either and it will just lead to problems.
Start with plants you want to eat/see instead of something exotic. Having a dozen Carolina Reapers seedlings is not as useful as one tomato plant for most people.
Don't get frustrated if everything, or barely anything, sprouts up immediately. It's a learning experience but there's a wealth of information out there and gardeners are always learning.
Learn about damping off and other problems and then hardening your seedlings for transplant, things I learned the hard way.
My current setup is for eight trays and I'm using 4-foot/4-bulb fluorescent light fixtures I got at Home Depot (I have some LED but haven't replaced my main grow lights yet). If you do fluorescent then bulb types make a difference although use what you can get. Full spectrum is best (IMO) but I use a mix of cool and warm to keep the price down.
I use a programmable timer for the lights, seedlings need at least 12-16 hours of light and, in the case of fluorescents, the light source should be close to the tops of the plants.
This is the thermostat I use with the heating pads. Most of my heating pads are older but I bought some of these last season and they seem well constructed.
I prefer these 50-cell flats as the 72 cell are just too crowded for my taste. I use these trays to hold the flats but any decent one will work. I can't find the domes I use but they're basically all cheap clear plastic.
Other than the links, I did this off the top of my head so I'm sure I missed several important things. There are plenty of ways to start seedlings and this is just what works for me.
Jump Start JumpStart MTPRTC Digital Controller Germination Heat Mat Thermostat [link]
As long as the skin doesn’t seem dry or raw after she’s finished shedding, it shouldn’t be a problem. My main concern is her heat setup if she stays in her moist hide all the time.
Do you have a heat pad with a thermostat set to 90? Analog wall thermometers are pretty much useless, generally inaccurate and don’t read the temps where it matters most.
I’d recommend, if you don’t already, invest in a jumpstart thermostat and a Zoomed Digital Probe Thermometer/Hygrometer
She may also feel more comfortable in the warm hide with some fake plants for cover
I use a zoomed under tank heater that is plugged into a thermostat. It keeps the hot spot at 90 F. The thermostat I use is : [link]
This is the one I use, and it work great!
Hello! Awesome that you're getting back into the hobby and can share it with your loved ones. To answer your questions, though:
1) Albinos became an incredibly popular morph, so you're in luck there! I recently purchased a 4-year-old albino female for $440 USD after shipping (she came from the other side of the country). Currently their price is pretty stable at about $250 USD both online and local to me (I live in the midwest), and they're one of the cheapest recessive morphs out there.
I don't have any suggestions for specific sellers, but if you've been well and truly out of the trade for a while I would recommend taking a look at World of Ball Pythons since a lot of morphs have been released since 2000 - just be aware that so called 'designer morphs' (morphs with many different genes) will run you up to thousands of dollars. Also regarding those recently released morphs (and improved husbandry standards) you should be aware that some morphs have been linked to genetic issues that effect the snakes' behavior and potentially it's quality of life and ability to feed and/or breed. Most notorious of these morph is the 'spider' morph, which almost always suffers some amount of neurological issue. I personally don't judge people who want to keep spiders or any other of these morphs, but also I personally never intend to breed them myself, and feel that anyone buying a snake should be aware of them. Finally, Regardless of if you're having your animal shipped to you or want to buy local, Morph Market is currently the best place to find individual snakes and/or breeders.
2) A 36 by 18 by 18 should be perfect so long as you provide enough clutter. Make the cage fell crowded from your perspective with lots of plants and hides. If the sake doesn't eat, try adding more clutter after checking the obvious temp etc. For reference, I got a hatching that I put straight into a 36 by 18 by 18 for my first snake, and he was reliably eating within the first month I had him.
3) I don't have hygrometer/thermometer suggestions. I have been told the digital ones are more reliable than analogue ones. I just use a UV thermometer gun paired with a couple digital combo hygrometer/thermometer kept in the cage. I highly recommend a bioactive enclosure if you can do it, but I know not everyone can. Live plants really help with the humidity a ton, though.
4) Please make sure to get a thermostat for your UTH! A popular brand is JumpStart, meant for seedlings, not snakes, but still reliable (basically the cheapest one people really trust, though I use a couple Century brand ones that are even cheaper). But as for your basking question... Do they 'need' it? No, it's been pretty definitively proven they don't 'need' a basking area. However, I have found that all my BPs (I own two but do some rescue/rehome work) seem to benefit greatly from it. I've always gotten a much stronger feeding response from my BPs who have a basking area, as well as found them curled up beneath it during the nighttime despite having a perfectly nice warm hide they could also be in. Ball pythons do not need UVB, either, but some say it makes breeding easier.
On that note, I actually have the same tank you intend to get for my male BP. Here's my setup:
-Substrate (eco earth is acceptable, but you might consider something else)
-Clean up crew of dwarf white, giant canyon, and powder orange isopods as well as spring tails
-Three hides (hot hide, cool hide, and humid hide)
-Large wood piece
-Several Pothos plants, several sake plants, and a spider plant (these plants would run you a total of $30 at lowes, you just need to be careful to wash them before introducing them to your snake)
-One UVB bulb on a timer, mostly for the plants, on 6 hours a day (It's on about 10AM-4PM, when the snake is in a hide anyway)
-One CHE, on 16 hours a day (it's off during late night/early morning)
-One UTH on a thermostat
Please let me know if you have any other questions. I am currently working as a lab manager at a university, but my dream is to bail on having a "real job" and work as a reptile breeder. Because of this goal, I've done and am doing some pretty intensive research on different ways to do things and varying opinions. I'm obviously biased towards my own preferences, but I can definitely give you references for anything you might want to hear about!
I have this one: https://www.spyderrobotics.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=23
It's a little on the pricey side but it works so much better than my previous one and it has better safety features.
If you are on a budget my previous one was this one: https://www.amazon.com/Hydrofarm-Germination-MTPRTC-Controller-Thermostat/dp/B000NZZG3S
but be warned that after 3 years it started to malfunction.
A thermostat is one of the most crucial pieces of equipment that you will need to set up any reptile tank. It controls how hot your heating element will get. Without one, heating elements alone can literally cook your snake.
Having a temp gun is good and will help you set up your thermostat.
Setting one up will vary a little bit depending on your heating element and type of tank but in general it goes like this:
1) plug thermostat into power source
2) plug heating element into the thermostat and set up heating element where you want it
3) place temperature probe in tank. Actual placement may vary by heating element but in general you want to put it in a place that will measure the hot spot in your tank and where your snake can't move it
4) monitor the surface temp with your temp gun and adjust your thermostat to make sure that your hot spot is getting to the right temperature
they really need consistent belly heat to digest foods properly & avoid impaction. using anything overhead, you probably aren't going to get those 91F floor temperatures in their warm hide without the hide itself being a million degrees. look into these thin updated heat pads, i love them... should cover 1/3 of floor. i have used that with the thermostat for 4 years. you can try Amazon for the heat mat, too... or eBay, but i would only buy brand new items.
thin heat shield
Amazon! Here’s a good thermostat and here’s one of the many heat pad brands they have available.
Here’s the cheapest digital one on amazon
I am a bot programmed to automatically provide the following content by /u/_Ataraxia when summoned. Link to the most recent version of this content here
The first three links are detailed care sheets, then a tub tutorial, and the rest are product recommendations. read everything thoroughly, come back with any questions. Let /u/_Ataraxia know if any of the links don't work.
Glass tanks can be very challenging for ball python husbandry due to the high amount of air flow with the screen top and the total lack of insulation with the glass walls. it's generally recommended to use tubs or pvc reptile cages instead. wood enclosures can also be suitable if they're designed well and sealed properly to protect the wood against moisture. glass tanks can work, but they require a lot of modification and maintenance, which you'll find tips for in the second link. i'll give you product recommendations to cover options for tanks, tubs, and pvc/wood enclosures.
Ball Python Care Guides
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Yes, those look good.
Thermostat all the way from simple Jump Start all the way to Spyder Robotics Herpstat.
Jump Start: [link]
Spyder Robotics Herpstats: [link]
UTH's reach temps of 120 degrees + just plugged into the wall. A thermostat, found here (https://www.amazon.com/MTPRTC-Controller-Thermostat-Germination-Reptiles/dp/B000NZZG3S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1528258805&sr=8-1&keywords=jumpstart+thermostat) regulates the temperature to what you decide so it does not burn your reptile. You plug the mat into the thermostat and place the probe in the tank so it can read the temp on the floor above the heat mat and turn it on/off as need be.
you might find my BP info/link copypasta helpful. the first three links are detailed care sheets, then a tub tutorial, and the rest are product recommendations. read everything thoroughly, come back with any questions. let me know if any of the links don't work.
pet store employees are rarely educated on current husbandry information. this is why pet owners need to do their own research.
you should not be spraying water on the snake, and the substrate should be dry at least inside the hides. if your BP is constantly exposed to moisture, scale rot can develop.
you might find my BP info dump helpful. the first three links are detailed care sheets, then a tub tutorial, and the rest are product recommendations. read everything thoroughly, come back with any questions. let me know if any of the links don't work.
you might find my BP info copypasta helpful. the first three links are detailed care sheets, then a tub tutorial, and the rest are product recommendations. read everything thoroughly, come back with any questions. let me know if any of the links don't work.
if he's not eating, he's not happy. snakes are not social animals and do not love attention.
since i've been paged for my BP guides, here's a pile of info. the first three links are detailed care sheets, then a tub tutorial, and the rest are product recommendations. read everything thoroughly, come back with any questions. let me know if any of the links don't work.
having her for two days isn't much of an excuse to still have her in an inadequate setup, and it doesn't explain why you have the same inadequate setup for your other BP.
since it seems like you have some issues in your husbandry, and your new rescue needs better care, i'm going to post my info dump. the first three links are detailed care sheets, then a tub tutorial, and the rest are product recommendations. read everything thoroughly, come back with any questions. let me know if any of the links don't work.
since your rescue is covered in stuck shed, you should also add a humid hide to the enclosure. is a fully enclosed hide with a solid bottom, like the zoo med 3-in-1 reptile shelter or a plastic food container with an entrance hole added to the lid. choose a hide with plenty of extra room for the snake to move around. line the bottom with a moisture-friendly substrate like sphagnum moss, cypress mulch, or coconut husk/fiber. saturate the substrate with water and gently squeeze out the excess, so it's wet but not soupy. re-dampen the substrate as needed. this hide will allow the snake to "soak" in a humid microclimate.
covering all but 6-12 square inches of the screen with something non-porous will be a very necessary step in making the tank work. with that said, it's easy to say you can dedicate time every day to monitoring and maintaining the tank, but what happens if you're not home or just too busy for a day or two or three? it'd be a better investment in your snake's health to set up the enclosure to be as low-maintenance as possible, and that might mean not using a glass tank.
some of this will be a little redundant, but i'm going to leave my BP info copypasta here. the first three links are detailed care sheets, then a tub tutorial, and the rest are product recommendations. read everything thoroughly, come back with any questions. let me know if any of the links don't work.
this might help you get on the right track. the first three links are detailed care sheets, then a tub tutorial, and the rest are product recommendations. read everything thoroughly, come back with any questions. let me know if any of the links don't work.
i use the products that i recommend in my BP link copypasta. i'll bold the specific items i have for my BPs, if that's helpful.
I use this one:
Works as the other user described. Very easy.
here's my full BP link dump. the first three links are detailed care sheets, then a tub tutorial, and the rest are product recommendations. read everything thoroughly, come back with any questions. let me know if any of the links don't work.
Yes, I've got an infrared gun and I've been checking the temperature of both side of the tank with it. This is the thermostat I use for my UTH's:
This is the terrarium I have: [link]
When I need to upgrade to something larger, I'll go with a PVC enclosure. This terrarium though has holes for wires which are really useful. It's got a screen lid, do you mean I should hot-glue the thermostat's probe to the bottom of the screen lid, directly under the lamp? Won't it be a lot warmer there than it would on the cold side of the tank?
I'm using a 100W ceramic heat lamp, and I have my little snake corner's light on a timer.
i've been paged, so here's my BP link collection. the first three links are detailed care sheets, then a tub tutorial, and the rest are product recommendations. read everything thoroughly, come back with any questions. let me know if any of the links don't work.
as a side note, in addition to fixing your humidity issues, you may also want to add a humid hide to the enclosure. this is a fully enclosed hide with a solid bottom, like the zoo med 3-in-1 reptile shelter or a plastic food container with an entrance hole added to the lid. line the bottom of the hide with sphagnum moss or a moisture-friendly substrate like cypress or coconut husk, saturate it with water and gently squeeze out the excess. re-saturate the substrate as needed.
stuck shed is a symptom of dehydration, generally caused by low humidity. a humid hide can help remove stuck shed and rehydrate your snake.
Ahh yeah 88 is probably the air temp then. Might be too hot on the floor.
I use these as my thermostats for my heating pads. I use this temp gun for double checking floor temps. The thermostat will keep it within 3+/- degrees of the temp you set for the most part.
Do you have a thermostat?
I have this one and it's set to 91F, so my temperature never goes below 89F
Not unless you specifically get one with a dimmer. I know of none that are quality that have dimmers.
Jumpstart is a model brand of thermostat on sites like amazon that are around $20. Lutron makes a dimmer you can get online or at a home improvement store for around $14
Heat bulbs or CHEs much be on a ceramic socket for safety reasons. They are common ones you buy for reptile tanks so most likely you have one or would get one for the light anyway.
Search google for "under tank heater thermostat probe placement" there are tons of guides on how to place it
NEVER put tape in a tank ever that includes those crappy stick on thermometers they sell at pet stores. Balls can and will pull them off and tape and snakes do not mix.
i'll go a few steps farther. here's a portion of my BP link dump. the first three links are detailed care sheets, the rest are product recommendations. read everything thoroughly, come back with any questions. let me know if any of the links don't work.
glass tanks can be very challenging for ball python husbandry due to the high amount of air flow with the screen top and the total lack of insulation with the glass walls. it's generally recommended to use tubs or pvc reptile cages instead. wood enclosures can also be suitable if they're designed well and sealed properly to protect the wood against moisture. glass tanks can work, but they require a lot of modification and maintenance, which you'll find tips for in the second link. i'll give you product recommendations for pvc cages, since that is what i would recommend. i can also give you recommendations specific to tanks, tubs, and wood enclosures, if you would like to explore other options.
pvc reptile cages are ideal. they have the husbandry benefits of a tub with the aesthetics/visibility of a tank, they're much lighter than wood or glass, and they will remain unaffected by decades of constant high humidity. animal plastics, boamaster, and boaphile plastics, are some popular companies. many people will use a tub for a young snake and upgrade to pvc later.
spyder robotics makes high quality thermostats to regulate your heat sources with pulse/proportional temperature control and various safety features. this is a popular cheap thermostat with simple on/off style with zero safety features. inkbird thermostats are also low-cost but overall higher quality than the hydrofarm type. any heat source should be regulated by a thermostat to ensure safe and appropriate temperatures.
heat tape or ultratherm heat pads are high quality and affordable under tank heater [UTH] options. this is a suitable heat source for most enclosure types. remember that a UTH will not provide ambient heat, it will only affect the temperature of the surface to which it is attached.
a radiant heat panel [RHP] is the best ambient heat source in a pvc enclosure. there are a few options, such as reptile basics and pro products.
a digital dual sensor thermometer/hygrometer allows you to easily monitor the warm side floor temperature [with the probe] as well as the ambient temperature and humidity [with the main unit].
an infrared thermometer allows you to spot-check surface temperatures anywhere in the enclosure.
these hide boxes are a cheap simple hide with a design that offers the best sense of security for your snake. cave style hides, cardboard boxes, plastic food containers, etc, can also be used. half logs are not appropriate hides.
Don't apologize! You're doing exactly the right thing. I wish more future snake owners had your foresight and willingness to do research/set things up ahead of time.
Great choice with Animal Plastics. Might I recommend either a T8 or T10 instead of the A10? For a lower price, you get more floor space and still adequate vertical room. BPs tend to wander horizontally rather than vertically anyways (and you don't want them falling more than a couple inches, since they're heavy-bodied, "plop" snakes). The T8s are very popular, but I personally have a T10 and love it.
SET-UP INSTRUCTIONS: Sorry if any of this is a repeat for you...
Heating - You may have already seen this but, ANY heat source must be regulated by a thermostat. Jumpstart is a cheap option, and I recommend getting a Herpstat Intro+ or 1 if/when you can afford it.
Heat source depends on your local conditions. For people in warmer climates (ambient room temperature always above 70 degrees), a strip of Flexwatt or other heat tape on one side of the enclosure provides an adequate hot spot. If you live in a colder climate, you may need a radiant heat panel as well to maintain 75+ degree temps. Reptile Basics sells RHPs you can install yourself, or call ProProducts and they'll ship a unit to Animal Plastics to install for you. (Each heat source needs its own thermostat, OR use something like a Herpstat 2)
You can use a heat lamp, if you order your AP cage with a hole in the roof. However, heat lamps aren't as effective or efficient as RHPs, and can drain humidity.
Lighting - The pre-installed fluorescent is fine. I bought a cheap aquarium light, and hot-glued it to the ceiling. I like having multiple color options, and the ability to turn it on from outside the cage.
Bedding: I really like coco husk, like ProCoco or Reptichip. Cypress mulch is also good, but not eco-friendly. Other people use coco mulch, like EcoEarth, though it can get dusty/messy when dry. Reptibark is also fine if you like the look. All are close enough that you can't go wrong whatever you choose.
Fortunately in a PVC enclosure you won't need to worry too much about substrate. I live in a dry state, and can still get away with bare newspaper most of the year. I still use substrate mainly for aesthetics.
I think that covers it? Great questions. Let me know if you have any more! I also recommend reading over _ataraxia's BP care guides. She gives a lot of good advice for beginners.
i like the cypress mulch and coconut husk mulch from reptile basics, here. any similar substrate is fine, though. the brand doesn't really matter.
it seems like you might find some other recommendations useful, so i'll give you my BP info copypasta. the first three links are detailed care sheets, then a tub tutorial, and the rest are product recommendations. read everything thoroughly, come back with any questions.
This is a good thermostat, they're very important: [link]
If you want a better (but much more expensive) version, a herpstat would work great.
Just one of these Hydrofarm ones!
This one for the budget end, and this one for more bells, whistles and safety features. Be aware, if the first thermo fails it fails on, which means your heatpad will go on full bore again, if the second one fails it fails off, so no heatpad on full blast.
This one [link] works well and is pretty cheap, you can set it to a certain temp and it will turn on when it's needed.
tubs are perfectly fine.
i'm going to dump a bunch of links for you. the first three links are detailed care sheets, then a tub tutorial, and the rest are product recommendations.
r/snakes and r/ballpython are more active than this sub, for future reference.
i'll give you my standard BP info dump to get you started in your research. the first three links are detailed care sheets, the rest are product recommendations. read everything thoroughly.
your tank looks very sparse, you don't have enough hides, those analog thermometers are a big problem, and not having a hygrometer is an even bigger problem.
i'm going to dump a bunch of links to get you on the right track. the first three links are detailed care sheets, the rest are product recommendations. read everything thoroughly.
thats the one a lot of use i think. just replace the probe you already have in there with this one and thats it. it will show the temp vs what its set on.
these are really handy to have around too:
glass tanks can be very challenging for ball python husbandry due to the high amount of air flow with the screen top and the total lack of insulation with the glass walls. it's generally recommended to use tubs or pvc reptile cages instead. tanks can work, but they require a lot of modification and maintenance. i'll give you product recommendations to cover options for tanks, tubs, and pvc cages.
as far as the cat goes, the most important thing is to make sure he can't get on top of the tank. it's best if he can be kept out of the room altogether.
for everything else, i'm going to dump a bunch of links for you. the first three links are detailed care sheets, the rest are product recommendations.
glass tanks can be very challenging for ball python husbandry, and this is especially true of large/tall tanks. it's generally recommended to use tubs or pvc reptile cages instead. tanks can work, but they require a lot of modification and maintenance. i'll give you product recommendations to cover options for tanks, tubs, and pvc cages.
just so you know, the large size of the 3-in-1 reptishelter will NOT fit in your 20 gallon tank and leave room for two regular hides + a water dish. there are big size jumps in these hides. the homemade humid hide you have is fine. your tank, however, is not fine.
i'm going to dump a bunch of links to get you on the right track. the first three links are detailed care sheets, the rest are product recommendations.
Hooking up a thermostat to a heating pad is as easy as plugging it in, then plugging the thermostat into the wall. Heat Pad into Thermostat into Wall Outlet.
Here's a cheap thermostat that a lot of people get
I personally use these for a heat pad but ZooMed ones work too (found in most petsmarts and petco's)
Also if you go this route, I HIGHLY reccomend getting a laser thermometer to make SURE the pad isnt getting too hot. One I have is found here.
that thermostat is garbage. this is a popular cheap thermostat option. it's a simple on/off style thermostat [meaning the temperature will fluctuate a few degrees] with zero safety features [which means it won't alert you to any problems and if it stops working your UTH will run at full power]. spyder robotics and vivarium electronics are popular options for high quality thermostats with features like proportional temperature control, the option to set high/low temperature alarms, emergency shut-off, etc. remember that you get what you pay for.
the thermostat probe can either be sandwiched between the UTH and the outside of the enclosure [and you'll have to set it a few degrees higher, to account for some heat being absorbed/dispersed by the floor], or the probe cord [not the probe itself] can be hot glued to the floor inside the enclosure.
FYI I know this is an old thread but that thermostat is garbage. You want to use something like this one for a cheaper option, as far as the thermometer/hygrometer goes I and a lot of others use this one.
These are very good thermostats for the price you pay.
So the first thing I would do is to ditch the sand. You can use paper towels for now and get ceramic tiles cut to size whenever you have the time.
The cage is a bit small (looks like a ten gallon?), which won't kill him, but he would appreciate the walking space of a twenty gallon long tank.
Heat lamps are hard to regulate and break often. A good long term solution would be to buy an under tank heater and a thermostat to control it. You absolutely must have a thermostat with a heat mat, or your lizard would be in danger of a serious burn! I've never had either a heat mat or a thermostat break and I've been using them for years.
This is a great cheap thermostat : Jump Start MTPRTC, Digital ETL-Certified Heat Mat Thermostat for Seed Germination, Reptiles and Brewing [link]
And a heat pad: Zoo Med ReptiTherm Under Tank Heater, Medium [link]
If you choose to order them I would toss in a couple digital thermometers with probes to monitor the hot and cold sides. They should be super cheap
I would also add another hide on the cool side. You can use anything from a small cardboard box to a fancy reptile hide. If he has problems shedding in the future you can also add in a "humid hide" which in this case would be a small Tupperware with a hole cut out and damp moss or paper towels in it
Buy a thermostat. By not using one, you risk burning your leo. Those under tank heaters get well north of 100F. Your leo only needs 90F on the floor.
You can order this one with next day shipping. Do not plug in your UTH until you have it regulated.
Ok you NEED a thermostat not a reostat. Every time your house temp fluctuates so will your heat pad temps. Reostats are only a temp fix, a thermostat is a must have for heat pads. This one is a decent cheap one and I use it on a couple of my enclosures. Humidity must stay between 60-80% in his enclosure at all times. Is your humidity gauge digital as well? If it's one of these get rid of it, those are horribly inaccurate. the hides on both the cool and warm side need to be identical so he doesn't prioritize safety over thermoregulation. Not trying to chew you out, just want your noodle to be happy.
this is a popular cheap thermostat option. it's a simple on/off style thermostat [meaning the temperature will fluctuate a few degrees] with zero safety features [which means it won't alert you to any problems and if it stops working your UTH will run at full power]. spyder robotics and vivarium electronics are popular options for high quality thermostats with features like proportional temperature control, the option to set high/low temperature alarms, emergency shut-off, etc. remember that you get what you pay for. the UTH gets plugged into the thermostat, and the thermostat gets plugged into the electrical outlet. the thermostat probe can either be sandwiched between the UTH and the outside of the enclosure [and you'll have to set it a few degrees higher, to account for some heat being absorbed/dispersed by the floor], or the probe cord [not the probe itself] can be hot glued to the floor inside the enclosure.
the heat lamp alone is not ideal, but it's better than an unregulated UTH and will probably not be a huge problem for a couple of days.
I'm assuming you mean this one?
this is a popular cheap option. it's a simple on/off style thermostat [meaning the temperature will fluctuate a few degrees] with zero safety features [which means it won't alert you to any problems and if it stops working your UTH will run at full power]. spyder robotics and vivarium electronics are popular options for high quality thermostats with features like proportional temperature control, the option to set high/low temperature alarms, emergency shut-off, etc. remember that you get what you pay for.
the UTH does get plugged into the thermostat, and the thermostat gets plugged into the electrical outlet. the thermostat probe can either be sandwiched between the UTH and the outside of the enclosure [and you'll have to set it a few degrees higher, to account for some heat being absorbed/dispersed by the floor], or the probe cord [not the probe itself] can be hot glued to the floor inside the enclosure.
Not gonna lie. It's more expensive.
This one is a good cheap one for a starter.
this thermostat is a popular low-end option. i would recommend this over the zoo med rheostat.
buy digital thermometers/hygrometers. analog dials are wildly inaccurate. they don't need to be specifically branded for reptiles, regular household items are the same thing [but cheaper]. these are cheap, and you'll have one for the warm side and one for the cool side plus a couple extras.
This one is a good cheap one for a starter.
This is just an on/off one, variables are better, however more expensive.
As for the digital hygrometer/thermometer, really anything with a probe should work. like this [link]
Once you know your humidity, just aim for 50-70% humidity.
First off your head wasn't bitten off. You made a post asking if heating is required which it definitely is. This would like me asking if everyone is sure that I need to give my cat water in r/cats. People are going to react very strongly when you make such a basic mistake.
From what I understand you already have a snake. Don;t get any more snakes. Take care of the snake you have for a year or so and then maybe consider getting another snake.
I hope that you have a heating pad for the snake that you have and that it's on a good thermostat. I would suggest a jumpstart. They will put you back $30 on amazon. Don't get one of those shitty analog ones like the ones zilla sells. If you get the Jumpstart it comes with a nice small little probe that you can then stick between the heatmat and the bottom of your container. Also do not buy anything marketed as a "hot rock" you will burn your snake if you do.
Now read everything you can about owning and caring for snakes. There are many good resources like Reptile Magazine and RepTimes (disclaimer I run reptimes). When you see something like temperature requirements listed in a caresheet, listen to it. It's put there for a reason.
Ask questions here whenever you need help, but take the advice you are given. There are a lot of people here who are much more knowledgeable in snake keeping then you are.
There's a lot of bad advise handed out, just for the sake of selling products.
Here's a good, basic thermostat. [link]
These are fantastic. I use them for 4 python enclosures and one for my leo. [link]
hydrofarm thermostats are a popular low-budget option, simple on/off style thermostat with no safety features. herpstats and vivarium electronics thermostats are popular high-budget options, proportional temperature control and safety features.
you really need to stop getting advice/information from petco.
I recommend and currently use this for a single animal setup. [link]
you plug the UTH into the thermostat, and plug the thermostat into an electrical socket. then you take the thermostat probe and place it either between the UTH and the outside of the enclosure, or flat against the floor inside the enclosure over the UTH with hot glue on the cord to secure it in place. i personally prefer the latter.
Just in case you need it, here is that Hydrofarm thermostat.
If you're using dial gauges for temp/humidity, switch over to something digital. THose analog ones can be off by as much as 10-15 deg.
Also, be sure you can spot check temps to make sure your thermostat is working properly. I use this:
Consider switching out the lights with ceramic heat emitters. No energy is wasted on visible light (which is completely unnecessary for BPs and can cause unneeded stress).
And you might want to invest into some type of dimmer for those lamps/CHEs just in case your temps get high enough. Consider covering part of the top of your tank (does it have a screen top?) with a piece of plexi or something similar. That will help keep in heat and also help to keep your humidity at proper levels. you'll want to shoot for around 60%, and bump to 70% when in shed.
Below is the Hydrofarm thermostat that ghostycrow mentioned. Please get that UTH ASAP on a thermostat as they can reach up to 120F unregulated. You cannot depend on substrate insulating as the snakes can and do move that stuff around (especially aspen, its so light and fluffy!).
You haven't mentioned how your'e measuring temps. If you're using those stick on dial gauges, they can be off by as much as 10F-15F. There is an AcuRite digital thermometer/hygrometer combo that runs about $9 at Walmart. You'll want it down on the substrate level as that is where your snake will be living.
i'll do you one better and give you a full breakdown of my low-budget 74qt sterilite tub setup.
I would recommend using this thermostat because it's cheap, with any heat mat you have. Zoomed's are good because they stick flush to the tank, Flukers is also good but isn't sticky so you have to tape it. To stop it from burning the carpet, I elevate mine with little furniture feet or other equally sized objects on each corner, so it's still sturdy, but gives ~1in of airflow under the tank to allow the heat mat to dissipate.
If you could get the hot side up higher, that would be better. If that's surface temperature, he may have slower digestion than he would normally, and the lower temps may be contributing to his lethargy. I usually offer a hotspot of around 90 for tropical boas so they can rest and digest there to increase their metabolism. If you have an IF temp gun already, that's killer! (If you're super poor and don't want to purchase the thermostat, if you buy the heat mat and religiously check its heat for the first few weeks, it may be alright. heat mats don't usually fuck up if you install them properly and let them get airflow, but any higher than 95F and your snake will not use the spot at all, and can be harmed by continuous exposure to higher temps) The cool side should be no lower than 78 or so (though nighttime drops and winter drops are acceptable but again, this may contribute to health problems or lethargy)- if you live somewhere cold, you could move the red bulb to the cold side and put the heat mat on the hot side, and just turn the lamp off at night (while still being sure to check the temps).
The humidity is a problem though- he could definitely use more like 60%, and lower humidities can cause URIs in boas easily. I can't exactly tell what kind of substrate you have, but in my experience, boas do better on "richer" substrate than wood chips. Coco husk or coco fiber, cypress mulch, Eco earth, and other more soil-like substrates hold humidity a lot better. You can mist them daily and keep your humidity perfect. If you don't want to change the substrate fully (which is totally fine, I keep all of my snakes on kiln-dried pine and aspen (kiln-drying removes most if not all of the harmful phenols from pine shavings so it's safe to use IF kiln-dried) so I don't switch for different species (though I probably will once I get my tegu, as he needs a soil substrate for higher humidity, and my boa will enjoy it too). If you don't want to switch, make a small hide box he can curl up in and feel nice and safe, and fill it with sphagnum moss. It's super cheap, just get organic or pesticide-free. If you mist this daily, it'll maintain a microhabitat with ~100% humidity for the whole day. This means your boa can choose if he feels dehydrated, to go and balance his body in the humid hide. I would still recommend getting the overall humidity to 60%, but I like to also provide inexpensive alternatives because I get it.
I've also noted that snakes will climb on pretty much anything as long as it's safe for them. You could use old ceramic pots, an old basket handle, some scrap metal you have sanded down, whatever- as long as it's been cleaned and treated, and is "soft" enough to not damage the animal. For wood, I rarely sand it down unless it's an actual wood cut that is being made. In nature, they encounter things like rough bark and stones, and I always see my snakes rubbing their faces on the roughest surface in their cage to shed.
I hope this helps! I'm fairly experienced with boas, so if you ever need any more help down the line, seriously feel free to PM me any time. :) I love helping people with snakes and giving them new ideas to make their pet even happier.
Thanks for the info. That definitely makes me feel better.
I ordered this thermostat and this heater. (do you know if these two are compatible?)
So now I just keep the heater on 24/7 and the uvb light on during the day only, right?
Thanks again for all the help you've given me since yesterday. Being new to this whole reptile thing is kinda daunting.
I figured it was implied but I intend on avoiding sand for the very reasons you've listed. I'm not keen on loose substrate in general - I don't like the mess. As far as warm tiles go, I bought a Hydrofarm digital thermostat and a Nubee temperature gun to keep an eye on it.
Do you find boiling hot water adequate in removing smells from your tiles and decor? I've heard this can be an issue.
Thanks for your replies!
75 on the cool side 85 on the warm side. An unregulated uth that's actually under the tank is most certainly too hot. I'm all properly setup now, but when I was a newbie without a thermostat I attached the uth heaters to the back of the tank. That way heat doesn't get trapped and also the snake can lay next to it without being forced to sit straight on top of it.
Also this thermostat will work for a heating mat and is cheaper. I'm pretty sure lots of people here use this one. This is even cheaper and I've heard on this sub it's also good though I've never personally used it. Also you get digital thermometers on amazon for super cheap. Here shipping is a little slow cause it's from china but I have a BUNCH of these and it is literally the exact same product offered by ZooMed, Zill, etc. No problems with quality or anything.
Ok, I think we've found the source of your humidity issues. Heat lamps will drain humidity like nothing else. The first thing to do is to cover the mesh with cardboard, plastic wrap, or tin foil. This will prevent moisture from leaving through the mesh top, and additionally reflect heat back into the enclosure.
See if that helps your humidity issues any. If you still have problems because of the lamps, the next step is to purchase a UTH, a thermostat (absolutely necessary for a UTH), and a lamp dimmer for the heat lamp. With a UTH, you can maintain a decent hotspot without having the lamp on 100% all the time. Use the lamp dimmer to adjust the heat lamp to maintain general ambient temps. When the lamp isn't on 100% all the time, it won't drain humidity as much!
You can see how to set all of this up in this tutorial, which I highly recommend for BPs in tanks. Hopefully with the humidity issues fixed your snake will feel more comfortable and also hungrier!
I use this one for all my reptiles:
It works great and I've never had a problem with it :)
I use this: [link]
I got it for $30% off Amazon and it works like a charm.
Does this look alright?
I'm planning on plugging it into a Hydrofarm. They work great!
Lurk on snake forums for a while and check out the "Just got [species]" threads. When you see something you like, search it incessantly, then delurk to ask specific questions about the animal that your search didn't turn up. Don't settle. Be aware that the first few months of snake ownership usually result in a ton of questions until you settle in to normal and can tell what's not normal for your new snake.
You will need (for adult snakes; the baby will need all this but can be housed in a Rubbermaid bin for growing-out purposes):
Thermostat for heat source 1, 2, 3
Water dish large enough for immersion
Place the PVC enclosure on a stable surface, install the radiant heat panel or have the cagemaker install it for you, set it up with a thermostat to your desired temperature, fill the bottom with substrate to about 1" deep, place hides around the enclosure at warm end and cool end, place a humid hide inside the enclosure, place the water dish inside the enclosure, place the snake inside the enclosure, close enclosure.
If you haven't already come across this caresheet I found on GeckosUnlimited forums, I highly recommend reading! It's insanely detailed but really, really helpful!
You might want to get a thermostat like this one for the UTH, I found that mine was going crazy and getting up to 100F when I checked it with a temp gun. Here's a cheapie one off Amazon, it'd be better than nothing!
You might try some overhanging fake foliage to provide shade from the light and make her feel more secure, as well. As far as cleaning, you can clean with white vinegar which a lot of reptile peeps use and swear by. I personally prefer Zoo Med's Wipe Out, and Chlorhexidine which is also reptile safe but for deep cleaning, a vet grade sanitizer like F10 might be good.
Just make sure you quarantine her away from your other animals, and get a fecal test checking for parasites done for her if she poops. I'd also advise a visit to an experienced reptile vet, as her poor nutrition may have caused some deficiencies like MBD. As for diet, I might advise trying to get her some silkworms (which are pricey, but if she'll eat them they can help her recover) and a varied diet of Dubia, calciworms, hornworms, and occasional wax or mealworm (they shouldn't be her main diet, nutritional value isn't very high.)
She's a very lucky girl and hopefully with a little time and TLC, she will make a full recovery! No matter what, her quality of life will be 200% better with you and I'm sure she's very grateful
corn snakes are great for beginners. they're very low maintenance, they usually have great temperaments, and they come in a wide variety of color morphs. you can easily buy a corn snake for $15-$25.
aquariums can be found on craigslist pretty cheap, and petco has several "dollar a gallon" sales throughout the year. a 40 gallon long tank would comfortably house a corn snake for its entire life [as in, it will never outgrow that size tank, you will never have to upgrade]. you will need to purchase something to secure the tank lid; i use and recommend use these clips, they are cheap, simple, and very effective. an under tank heat pad will cost about $20-$30 to purchase, and you will need a thermostat to regulate the temperature. these will hardly be a blip on your electric bill. beddings that can be used for a corn snake include shredded newspaper, aspen shavings, reptibark, or coconut husk. the snake will need two enclosed spaces to hide that are just big enough for the snake to curl up in, and a water bowl large enough for the snake to fit inside it. these things can be as cheap or expensive as you want. carboard boxes and plastic dog bowls are perfectly sufficient.
snakes eat once every 7-14 days. corn snakes have to get pretty old/large to eat rats. most corns are good eating mice for their entire lives. the mouse should be the same size as the thickest part of the snake's body - an adult corn [three years or older] will eat one adult mouse per feeding. you can buy frozen rodents from petco and petsmart, singles or packages of 2-6 rodents depending on what type/size you're getting. your local mom-n-pop pet store might also offer frozen rodents at a more affordable price than the big chain stores. adult mice will cost a couple dollars each on average. you can buy frozen rodents in bulk, online or at your local reptile expo, which is more expensive up front but it will save you money in the long term.
i recommend browsing /r/snakes for more information.
Id say 96F is still a bit too high. Not likely high enough to cause serious long term damage, but warm enough to be uncomfortable.
As far as thermostat, I'm a fan of digital. A little more expensive, but not necessarily excessively so. I've used [link] for a while now, and I use an IR temp gun to spot check.
that's a big empty enclosure for a 2' BP. definitely get extra hides/decor to clutter things up a bit.
hydrofarms and herpstats are the most popular thermostat options. hydrofarms are a simple on/off thermostat, which means the temperature will fluctuate a little, but they're a perfectly fine budget option. herpstats are a thermostat+rheostat combo that maintains a very steady temperature, but the price is higher since it's more sophisticated equipment.
heat pads need thermostats, but thermostats don't need to be expensive. i use zoo med heat pads and hydrofarm thermostats for all of my snakes [ball python in a boaphile cage, corn snake and kenyan sand boa in glass aquariums].