Snake Heat/lighting Confusion

JLeeM
  • #1
Hello everybody.

I've thought off and on about getting a corn snake for a while now. Been seriously considering if lately. Getting a little confused about some of the research though. So here we go with some questions.

1. Is a glass or plastic tank better? I've read that this can partly be determined by your heat source so....

2. Is a heat lamp or under tank heat mat better? Seems like most prefer the mats. Using a mat brings up another question though....

3. What kind of lighting is required, and how would I run it with either heat source, lamp or mat?

4. Would this be something worth buying to start with? It seems to come with a LOT of stuff in the description.
 
Gadfly
  • #2
Some types of plastics can hold heat better then glass. I’d choose glass myself but lots of people use and love plastic tanks.

You could get away with just a light if it can get the tank temps where you need them. The mat will also heat the tank but then you’ll end up buying a light anyways.

I don’t think the corn snake needs special lighting that other reptiles do. If you go with the mat or light fo heat source, look into getting a dimmer with a programmable thermostat. That way you can set it to 85 or whatever and it will regulate the tank temps for you.

I would personally never buy those types of beginner kits. Tend to only have a few key items, cost lots of $$$, and most of the included stuff isn’t needed or is junk they have trouble selling. I’ve always been happier piecing my stuff together myself.
 
JLeeM
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Some types of plastics can hold heat better then glass. I’d choose glass myself but lots of people use and love plastic tanks.

You could get away with just a light if it can get the tank temps where you need them. The mat will also heat the tank but then you’ll end up buying a light anyways.

I don’t think the corn snake needs special lighting that other reptiles do. If you go with the mat or light fo heat source, look into getting a dimmer with a programmable thermostat. That way you can set it to 85 or whatever and it will regulate the tank temps for you.

I would personally never buy those types of beginner kits. Tend to only have a few key items, cost lots of $$$, and most of the included stuff isn’t needed or is junk they have trouble selling. I’ve always been happier piecing my stuff together myself.
Okay, so.......a dimmer attaches to the heat lamp or the light just for viewing? Still really confused.
 
Gadfly
  • #4
Something like this for a mat.


You can find cheaper and more expensive ones on amazon. Set it for you desired temps connected to the mat. When the mat reaches the programed temp it shuts off automatically, when it gets cold, turns on.

So going with a mat for your hot side, a simple florescent tube light on top will be enough. You may even be able to avoid a light altogether if you set up next to a window and don't care about not having the tank itself under a light. Avoid direct sun light on the tank though.
 
trash.binh91
  • #5
I would use a glass tank, and you should have a weak heat pad, with a rock and also a heat lamp to bask. UV lighting is recommended, but I think that a heat lamp is a good enough light source. Remember, you want a cool side in your setup, and light everywhere is not going to provide that very well.
 
JLeeM
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
Something like this for a mat.


You can find cheaper and more expensive ones on amazon. Set it for you desired temps connected to the mat. When the mat reaches the programed temp it shuts off automatically, when it gets cold, turns on.

So going with a mat for your hot side, a simple florescent tube light on top will be enough. You may even be able to avoid a light altogether if you set up next to a window and don't care about having the tank itself under a light.
Oh! Okay that's making a lot more sense now. Sorry. So I take it you can put a cheap light over the whole enclosure? Wondering because I read that it needs to only be over the warm side, and the basking area. Of course I don't know how true any of this is.
 
JLeeM
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
I would use a glass tank, and you should have a weak heat pad, with a rock and also a heat lamp to bask. UV lighting is recommended, but I think that a heat lamp is a good enough light source. Remember, you want a cool side in your setup, and light everywhere is not going to provide that very well.
So how do I run a heat mat AND a heat lamp together, and not roast the snake during the day? And when I turn the light off for a day/night cycle won't the temp fluctuate too much?
 
trash.binh91
  • #8
JLeeM, where would you get your corn snake from. I recommend getting it from BHB Reptiles, and what morphs ? I recommend a Butter Tessera or Candy Cane.
 
Gadfly
  • #9
Florescent light won't produce heat. The mat would provide the hot side. A basking light would work during the day but if your home gets really cold you'd still want to mat to maintain temps while providing a lights off period.
 
trash.binh91
  • #10
So how do I run a heat mat AND a heat lamp together, and not roast the snake during the day? And when I turn the light off for a day/night cycle won't the temp fluctuate too much?
I meant to get a lower heat heat mat, one that is a lower watt and not so hot. Snakes need to bask, and the heat should come from above, not just below. And you could turn off the lamp during the night and use the heat pad. Or if you don’t want the heat lamp you could use a heat mat with a basking light above to bask.
 
Gadfly
  • #11
Corn snakes don't need to bask. I think that's why lots of owners prefer mats. They warm up in nature using the ground as heat source and that's enough to get their metabolism going. They're not sun bathers like many other reptiles. A simple florescent light will provide all the uv they need.

Corn Snake Care Sheet
 
trash.binh91
  • #12
Corn snakes don't need to bask. I think that's why lots of owners prefer mats. They warm up in nature using the ground as heat source and that's enough to get their metabolism going. They're not sun bathers like many other reptiles. A simple florescent light will provide all the uv they need.

Corn Snake Care Sheet
what other snakes don’t need to bask
 
JLeeM
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
JLeeM, where would you get your corn snake from. I recommend getting it from BHB Reptiles, and what morphs ? I recommend a Butter Tessera or Candy Cane.
Oh I have no idea. I'm still trying to figure out how to even set up a terrarium, and not having much luck. I do know that I like the splotchy pattern more than the striped ones. I like the normal color as long as the red is vivid, and darker color morphs. Between the two you suggested, I kind of like the butter tessera, and I don't like the candy cane at all.
Florescent light won't produce heat. The mat would provide the hot side. A basking light would work during the day but if your home gets really cold you'd still want to mat to maintain temps while providing a lights off period.
I meant to get a lower heat heat mat, one that is a lower watt and not so hot. Snakes need to bask, and the heat should come from above, not just below. And you could turn off the lamp during the night and use the heat pad. Or if you don’t want the heat lamp you could use a heat mat with a basking light above to bask.
Corn snakes don't need to bask. I think that's why lots of owners prefer mats. They warm up in nature using the ground as heat source and that's enough to get their metabolism going. They're not sun bathers like many other reptiles. A simple florescent light will provide all the uv they need.

Corn Snake Care Sheet
Okay, this is where I'm getting super confused too. One source/person says they like to bask, and another doesn't. I've read several places they do like to climb though. So do they climb, but not bask? Do they even NEED UVA or UVB light? Because that's something I can't figure out either. Plus, even if they don't bask or need certain light, during my research I read that they will naturally go to white light for heat. So, that being said, if they go to the white light on the cold side, bad news. So, that's why that particular source said ALL heating and lighting should be on one side.

Now, with all that being said, can someone make something make sense?
 
trash.binh91
  • #14
Oh I have no idea. I'm still trying to figure out how to even set up a terrarium, and not having much luck. I do know that I like the splotchy pattern more than the striped ones. I like the normal color as long as the red is vivid, and darker color morphs. Between the two you suggested, I kind of like the butter tessera, and I don't like the candy cane at all.



Okay, this is where I'm getting super confused too. One source/person says they like to bask, and another doesn't. I've read several places they do like to climb though. So do they climb, but not bask? Do they even NEED UVA or UVB light? Because that's something I can't figure out either. Plus, even if they don't bask or need certain light, during my research I read that they will naturally go to white light for heat. So, that being said, if they go to the white light on the cold side, bad news. So, that's why that particular source said ALL heating and lighting should be on one side.

Now, with all that being said, can someone make something make sense?
Ok, I found out they don't need to bask, just keep it near natural light, but not directly
 
goldface
  • #15
Heat mat.
 
JLeeM
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
Heat mat.
Okay. I have to say heat mat makes sense, because heat rises and all. So, do corn snakes not require any special light? If not, that makes it a bit easier I guess. Just put a basic bulb in a lamp set up top for a day/night cycle.
 
goldface
  • #17
Okay. I have to say heat mat makes sense, because heat rises and all. So, do corn snakes not require any special light? If not, that makes it a bit easier I guess. Just put a basic bulb in a lamp set up top for a day/night cycle.
Nope they don’t. I never kept them myself, but I’ve owned ratsnakes, kingsnakes, ribbonsnakes, gartersnakes, northern water snake, etc. , which all have very similar care requirements to the corn; none require any special uva/uvb bulbs either.

Also, unless things have changed, don’t let any reptile lay directly on the heat mat.

As you can tell, I used to be big into herps.
 
JLeeM
  • Thread Starter
  • #18
Nope they don’t. I never kept them myself, but I’ve owned ratsnakes, kingsnakes, ribbonsnakes, gartersnakes, northern water snake, etc. , which all have very similar care requirements to the corn; none require any special uva/uvb bulbs either.

Also, unless things have changed, don’t let any reptile lay directly on the heat mat.

As you can tell, I used to be big into herps.
So how do you keep them off of the heat mat since it is right under the glass? Or does the substrate help with that?
 
goldface
  • #19
So how do you keep them off of the heat mat since it is right under the glass? Or does the substrate help with that?
I used those fake grass mats or felt.

With substrate, I used several layers of newspaper taped to the bottom of the tank. Tape it all around, so the snake can’t slide underneath (obviously lizards and geckos are less of a concern), then add substrate. But honestly keeping it with simply newspaper was what I usually did as it was easier to clean, especially with a lot of snakes.

Things might have changed in the last decade or two, so continue researching until you feel comfortable. However, not sure there is much to improve on. It’s not at all like fish-keeping.
 
JLeeM
  • Thread Starter
  • #20
I used those fake grass mats or felt.

With substrate, I used several layers of newspaper taped to the bottom of the tank. Tape it all around, so the snake can’t slide underneath (obviously lizards and geckos are less of a concern), then add substrate. But honestly keeping it with simply newspaper was what I usually did as it was easier to clean, especially with a lot of snakes.
Okay. Makes sense. Do you provide your snakes similar to corns with only cave type hides or climbing places too? And did you provide any kind of light either for a day/night cycle (I keep asking because my apartment is very dark) or just human viewing pleasure? If so, how did you go about that?
 
goldface
  • #21
Okay. Makes sense. Do you provide your snakes similar to corns with only cave type hides or climbing places too? And did you provide any kind of light either for a day/night cycle (I keep asking because my apartment is very dark) or just human viewing pleasure? If so, how did you go about that?
They were mostly bare. Maybe I’ll have a hidespot on either side of the tank: the heated and unheated. With substrate, that really isn’t necessary. I probably had a few tacky deco for the snakes to crawl on, but I think it’s more for the keeper than the snakes.

I rarely used a bulb for lighting if I didn’t need to. They either got window lighting, room lighting, or both. Some of my tanks were on my desk, so the desk lamp gave it plenty of light for viewing. Some were on the floors and barely got any.

The last time I used a lamp, my rat snake got fried. It was an amateur mistake. The lid wasn’t properly secured and it squeezed out and crawled into the overhead lamp. Obviously, if I had a heat mat this might not have happened. Anyway, it took me a couple days to figure out where the snake escaped to. The thought never occured to me it crawled into the heat lamp. I finally found it loosely coiled around the bulb, cooked and discolored. Grisly scene. It still creeps me out thinking about it.
 
JLeeM
  • Thread Starter
  • #22
They were mostly bare. Maybe I’ll have a hidespot on either side of the tank: the heated and unheated. With substrate, that really isn’t necessary. I probably had a few tacky deco for the snakes to crawl on, but I think it’s more for the keeper than the snakes.

I rarely used a bulb for lighting if I didn’t need to. They either got window lighting, room lighting, or both. Some of my tanks were on my desk, so the desk lamp gave it plenty of light for viewing. Some were on the floors and barely got any.

The last time I used a lamp, my rat snake got fried. It was an amateur mistake. The lid wasn’t properly secured and it squeezed out and crawled into the overhead lamp. Obviously, if I had a heat mat this might not have happened. Anyway, it took me a couple days to figure out where the snake escaped to. The thought never occured to me it crawled into the heat lamp. I finally found it loosely coiled around the bulb, cooked and discolored. Grisly scene. It still creeps me out thinking about it.
Oh wow. Yeah, that definitely does not sound like a good experience. Thanks for all your advice and time. I think I'm getting a grasp on this now.
 

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