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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey, so Im basically tossing up the idea of getting a corn snake instead of the leopard gecko I was originally planning for. I was just looking for some advice on corn snake setups and was wondering is what I already have appropriate for a corn snake.

At the moment I have a wooden vivarium that's 33 inches long, 15 inches wide and 15 inches deep, now I am aware this wont be big enough for an adult corn but I plan on getting a hatching to start with and will definitely upgrade when the time comes.

So at the moment I have a heat mat and habistat reptile radiator, this one to be precise:

https://www.reptiles.swelluk.com/habistat-reptile-radiator/

Would this be appropriate to heat the viv?

Also do corns need UVB/special lighting or any special supplements?

How long would it take a hatching corn to outgrow the enclosure I have?

Thank you!
 

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That viv will be fine for a couple of years. Include a lot of cover and clutter initially and you can gradually take some out as the snake grows and increases in confidence. You're right, it's not adequate for a fully grown adult corn (although some wouldn't hesitate to keep them in that viv their entire lives) but if you feed sensibly I think you'd be good for 2 years.

I haven't used a reptile radiator like the one in the link, but I'd imagine it would need controlling with a thermostat - every heat source should be regulated, otherwise you have no control over the thermal gradient you are providing for the snake.

The same goes for the mat - if you use this, it needs to be regulated with a thermostat.

You do not need both the radiator and the mat - one or the other will suffice.

Corns do not require UVB to live long healthy lives in captivity, but probably do benefit from it. They don't require supplements if you are feeding whole prey items.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the reply.

Yeah I have two thermostats, a pulse one for the radiator and a mat stat for the mat.

If I don't need both I reckon the radiator would suit me and the snake better since that would also boost ambient temps, I live in Ireland so need it and thats why I bought the radiator, but if I could kill two birds with one stone and could forgo the mat that be great!

Would I put a flat rock, or something directly underneath it for basking?

85 - 90ish on the hot side, dropping to the 70's or soon the cooler side is that right?

Yeah I thought they didn't need supplements, this is another reason Im going for a corn snake, frozen mice once a week or so far easier than whats needed for the gecko!
 

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It's all documented in the two guides already mentioned at the top of this section.
 

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Thanks for the reply.

Yeah I have two thermostats, a pulse one for the radiator and a mat stat for the mat.

If I don't need both I reckon the radiator would suit me and the snake better since that would also boost ambient temps, I live in Ireland so need it and thats why I bought the radiator, but if I could kill two birds with one stone and could forgo the mat that be great!

Would I put a flat rock, or something directly underneath it for basking?

85 - 90ish on the hot side, dropping to the 70's or soon the cooler side is that right?

Yeah I thought they didn't need supplements, this is another reason Im going for a corn snake, frozen mice once a week or so far easier than whats needed for the gecko!
Yes, I would go for the radiator in preference to the mat. Glad to hear you have a stat for it. A flat rock or similar directly under it is a good idea, but the snake may not bask out in the open while it is young so you might not see it used for a while. Make sure there is a hide near the hot spot so it can enjoy warmth without being exposed.

I'd probably aim for about 88 on the hot side. Don't worry about the temps for the rest of it, remember they come from the temperate USA so they aren't super sensitive - make sure your hot spot is as far to one end as possible, and let the rest of it be what it will be.

I hear you on the feeding - snakes are way easier than lizards in that respect. You're also spared having to deal with creepy crawlies if you go for the snake :2thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So just a quick question on the thermostat probe placement and thermometer probe placements...where would be the best place to place them? should they be on the floor, say under the hide on the hot side?

I was going to put maybe some branches on the hot side too so the snake can climb, wondering how close can the branches be to the heat source? is 88 the maximum temp the snake can be exposed to as obviously the higher the branches the closer t'll be to the heat source and hotter it'll be..

Any opinions on how to set it up?
 

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So just a quick question on the thermostat probe placement and thermometer probe placements...where would be the best place to place them? should they be on the floor, say under the hide on the hot side?

I was going to put maybe some branches on the hot side too so the snake can climb, wondering how close can the branches be to the heat source? is 88 the maximum temp the snake can be exposed to as obviously the higher the branches the closer t'll be to the heat source and hotter it'll be..

Any opinions on how to set it up?
https://www.reptileforums.co.uk/forums/snakes/1230121-basic-guide-heating.html
 

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So just a quick question on the thermostat probe placement and thermometer probe placements...where would be the best place to place them? should they be on the floor, say under the hide on the hot side?

I was going to put maybe some branches on the hot side too so the snake can climb, wondering how close can the branches be to the heat source? is 88 the maximum temp the snake can be exposed to as obviously the higher the branches the closer t'll be to the heat source and hotter it'll be..

Any opinions on how to set it up?
The closer to the heat source you situate the probe, the more accurately you can control the maximum temperature.

For mats, the probe should be in direct contact with mat, but if you're using the radiator, I'd drill a hole so you can locate the probe as near to the radiator as possible (but not in direct contact). Remember to seal up the hole from the outside around the cable once you've fed the probe through - otherwise it's a potential escape route for the snake.

No, 88 isn't the absolute maximum a corn can safely be exposed to - it gets hotter than this in the Southern USA. It's great to be able to provide a range of temperatures by using the vertical space, and thereby give the snake choice. Remember though that young snakes are very timid and I'd say it is unlikely to bask openly in a branch for long periods of time. It might make use of a hide positioned on a high shelf though, accessed via the branch. Or bird boxes mounted high up on the viv wall can also work, again, accessed via the branch.
 

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I've said it before, people get hung up on temperatures. In the wild there will be fluctuations in temperatures throughout the day and from one day to the next. You won't get the stable temperatures seen in a vivarium.

You need to set the environment so there is a temperature range suitable for the reptile being kept. If the guidelines and consensus is that 88f is the "ideal" hot spot for your snake then setting an area up to reach that temperature is the thing to do. If you find the snake spends all its time under the heat source then it can be increased a degree or two at a time until the snake is seen to move away from the heat, returning periodically as it thermoregulates. Equally if it spends all its time at the cool area, or midway, and is never directly under the heat source then turn it down a degree or so. Let the snake tell you what it likes.

Having said that, there will be times in the snakes normal life cycle where it will use any heat it can, such as straight after a meal, or if it's in poor health, or sometimes females will seek out the heat as part of the egg development. Also, some species are nocturnal, so will spend all day under the heat source to store the energy for being active at night, when in the wild the temperatures will be a lot cooler, even for desert and tropical species. - Its all part of researching and monitoring your snakes needs, and then adjusting the environment accordingly.
 

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Yes, exactly as Malc says - be guided by the snake to some extent. If you find the snake using all the available hides at different times, this suggests you've got it right. If you find it never goes to the one nearest the heat source, you've probably got it see too high, and vice versa.

Providing choice is key, so a range of accessible hides all the way along the heat gradient (whether that gradient is vertical, horizontal, or both) is the ideal way to set up an enclosure, in my view. It's not too hard to do for smaller snakes like corns that only need small hides.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I really appreciate all the replies, great info.

Ive been doing a lot of reading and research and watching lots of videos and it can be a bit confusing when it comes to heating, ive been seeing a lot about heat mats being the better option because they provide belly heat, Im concerned the radiator I have wont provide adequate belly heat, I mean for instance with a heat mat all id have to do is put a hide directly over it and when the snake uses it you know it's getting that optimal 88 degrees, where as with the radiator the heat would be coming from above, its also so low profile too its quite a distance from the actual ground where the snake would be under a hide.

But my house would be to cold to use the heat mat on its own, I would need additional heat to raise the ambient temps too.
 

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Ceramics/radiators are superior to mats in every way.

I think the belly heat argument is completely spurious - what do you suppose happens in nature? The sun heats the earth, or the rocks, or whatever the snake is on, from above. An overhead heat source does the same, and as you rightly observe, heats the air and impacts the ambient temperature, something a mat can never do because they can only heat what they are in direct contact with.

Bottom line - you can successfully keep corns with either heat source, but if anything meets the needs of the animal better, it's the ceramic/radiator.

As for the corn not being able to get near enough to the heat source - that was partially addressed above by your own idea to have branches. But you can also side mount reptile radiators, they don't have to be on the ceiling of the viv.
 

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OK lets try and give you an example.



Here is a picture I took of my normal female royal sitting on the hottest area in the vivarium. The shelf directly above the the ceramic heater reads 39c using an IR temp gun. The top of the cork shelter reads 36c, with the substrate reading 31c-33c at various points. The substrate at the cool side reads 26C

So I have a temperature gradient from 26C to 39C. No most people would say that the hot spot is too hot, but in order to get the substrate 8" below the heater at the idea temperature of 32C the surface of the shelf above the reflector reaches 39C. Again, she's only every basked on that spot once whilst gravid. She spends all day under the warm hide, and her skin surface temperature is 29C as measured with the gun. At night she becomes very active.

The point I'm trying to make is that the substrate gets warmed by the heater from above. The snake will sit on that substrate and absorb the heat. When the heat has been absorbed and the substrate drops a degree or so, the snake moves slightly to another exposed area of the substrate that is warm. It repeats this until its internal thermostat is triggered and it needs to move off, go hunt, look for a mate, or whatever. This is how it works in nature too !

The placement of mats has also been very misunderstood. They are not designed to be floor mounted and covered in substrate. They should really be placed above, or on a side or rear wall. They are designed to emit IR radiation that warms the reptile in the same way IR radiation from the sun does. The disadvantage is that mats do not warm the air, nor (to some degree) do they warm the substrate in this fashion. But I'm repeating what has already been written about the two forms of heating.
 

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I would say yes, a hatchling corn could get through those holes potentially. I would definitely block them up.

Are you going for a conventional wooden viv with sliding glass doors? One thing people often forget is a lock. They're pretty much essential because they make you make sure you've definitely shut the viv properly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
So Ive had a bit of a disaster today, my habistat reptile radiator doesn't seem to be working properly all of a sudden. The only thing different is I put a guard on it...this would hardly effect the heat would it? When I was running it without the guard I was getting temps in the mid to high 80s easily while on a pulse stat now it wont go above mid 70's and this is directly under it, their is heat from it just not near enough.

So now I'll probably switch to a regular ceramic bulb, any opinions on what's best?
 

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Are you sure its the heater that's faulty and not the thermostat ?

Firstly remove the snake - place it in a tub with a tight fitting lid, with a few small holes in it (small enough so the snake can't get out)

To test the heater - power off the equipment, unplug / disconnect the heater from the thermostats output and plug it / connect it directly to the mains outlet from the wall or known good extension lead. If the heater gets hot then this proves the heater is good.

To test the thermostat - unplug / disconnect the heater from the thermostat and plug in a working table lamp. Connect the thermostat to a known working mains outlet and turn it on. If the output LED on the thermostat illuminates but the table lamp doesn't then you know the thermostat isn't outputting mains to the heater. Depending on the make / model of thermostat there may be a fuse in the connector to the heater. If not then it's a blown component in the thermostat and you need to replace the thermostat.

Its worth testing to save you replacing a heater that is otherwise working fine
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
thankfully i dont have the snake yet, its coming next week which gives me time to sort this out.

It wasnt plugged into the stat it was plugged directly into the mains and i couldnt get it to hit the required temp, as i said heat is coming through just not enough.
 

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thankfully i dont have the snake yet, its coming next week which gives me time to sort this out.

It wasnt plugged into the stat it was plugged directly into the mains and i couldnt get it to hit the required temp, as i said heat is coming through just not enough.
In that case it does sound as if the heater is faulty. If its new it will still be under warranty so contact the supplier and request details on how to return it for exchange
 
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