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That’s great Malc thank you, I can open them links on my phone so that’s a great help.
I just have a couple more questions and then I will leave you in peace from my pestering.
I’m not quite understanding the dimmer stat. I get how it works etc, but you suggested putting it on a timer to go off between certain hours at night, how will his tank stay warm during the night if it’s not on? Sorry if that’s an obvious question.
Willks has explained, by nature cornsnakes have a wide natural range, but most come from a range where the climate is similar to the UK, so instinctively they would normally be exposed to cool temperatures at night. By turning the heating off at night you are mimicking that natural occurrence. Most houses in the UK will drop down to 18-22c at night in the middle of winter. His viv will retain a little heat, so it could be a degree or two higher. You need not worry

Lastly, if he is coming to the end of his life, are there any signs to look for?
At what point do I take him to the vet if I think he’s suffering?
I can't answer that. Unless there are visual signs such as constant gaping, convulsions or it's bleeding from the vent then there is no way of telling if there is anything wrong internally, if he is on his way out or if he is experiencing pain. But this could be a simple phase that he's going through and is otherwise in good health other than being a tad overweight, and may go on to live for another few years. If you want to get him checked out then by all means contact a vet, but in the current confused lockdown situation and as it's not an emergency, the vet may not be able to see him. And may give you similar assumptions to those already advised by forum members.

We can make all the suggestions we want, give you possible improvements to his habitat, and advise you what we may do if we were in similar situations, but what you do with that advice will be down to you, your finances and personal circumstances.
 

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Discussion Starter #42
That’s great thank you so much for your help, I really appreciate it.
I’ve ordered him a new dimmer stat and a heat mat because our house if FREEZING! I live on a military base in military housing so it’s an old cold house that we aren’t allowed to modify regarding the barely existent central heating system and the draughts. We are also at the top of a hill in the country so even in summer the wind howls through. I’m sat here now in May with the sun blasting outside and the temp is 19 outside and it’s only 11 degrees in my house. So I don’t think his tank will retain enough heat to get him through the night, so we can use the heat mat for that.

Thanks again for all the help and no doubt I will be back at some point if I run into more problems.
 

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Dam that's cold, which may also explain things. It could be that the heatmat can't cope with that temperature which is why his hot spot is so low, and he's starting to go into a burmation state (might be clutching straws here, but its a possibility if its that cold in the day, its going to be a lot cooler at night.

You could try running the heat mat alongside the lamp on their individual stats, so that he still has access to mid 20's at night.
 

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Please do not take this harshly.


This snake is significantly obese, visually. And long before they are visually obese, they have filled up their entire body cavity with fat. This fat pushes on organs, including the heart, and significantly impacts their health and shortens their lifespans.



In an ideal world, you'd take him to the vet and get a blood panel done to make sure he's not having any issues with his organs but times are tough right and money is an issue for almost everyone.



Part of the reason why you're seeing the spine is because he also lacks muscle mass. In addition to providing warmer temps, I'd take him out for periods of exercise such as 'treadmilling' him with your hands, and giving him objects to climb up to build up muscles.



I do hope he starts eating for you soon, but my largest corn (who is also on something of a diet) gets fed once every 3 to 4 weeks to help with his weight so you might want to consider a similar plan for your boy.
 

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Discussion Starter #45
Thank spirit serpents. I’m slowly coming to the truth that I’ve basically screwed this poor snake 😞 and it’s breaking my heart. I will give the vet a call and see if they are accepting general appointments or if they consider this an emergency hopefully they will let me bring him to them.
My question regarding the travel, it’s over an hours drive to my closest exotic pet vet, what’s the best way to keep him warm on the drive? Would putting him a pillow case and keeping him close to my body work?
Any tips on what will minimise any stress from the journey?
Thanks again for your help.
 

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You didn't know better, and now you do. I think most everyone has done something pet related that they look back on and go 'I did that so very wrong.' A pillowcase and kept inside your jacket should work fine and is less dangerous than having him so confined and atop a hand warmer.
 

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Thank spirit serpents. I’m slowly coming to the truth that I’ve basically screwed this poor snake 😞 and it’s breaking my heart.

Victoria, there is no need beating yourself up over this. You weren't to know at the time you took charge of the snake, and its normal for you not to question what you do thinking you are doing it right. When I first started keeping snakes in 1986 I followed the advice of the shopkeeper from where I purchased the garter snake. I kept it for three years before my shortcomings in husbandry and feeding caused its death. When I discovered what I was doing wrong having joined a society, I researched and researched my next snake (a royal) before making the purchase.

I will give the vet a call and see if they are accepting general appointments or if they consider this an emergency hopefully they will let me bring him to them.
My question regarding the travel, it’s over an hours drive to my closest exotic pet vet, what’s the best way to keep him warm on the drive? Would putting him a pillow case and keeping him close to my body work?
Any tips on what will minimise any stress from the journey?
Thanks again for your help.
A pillow case placed either in a tub or (if you are not driving) held in your lap will be OK. They are hardy and he'll be fine for the two-three hour round trip.
 

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Discussion Starter #49
I just followed the guides that said they should shaped like a loaf of bread and not round like a tube.

I’ve ran into a problem again with heating his tank if anyone else has more ideas.
He’s on the dimmer stat now but his tank won’t get above 22. I’ve moved the sensor and no matter where I put it the max the tank will get to is 22.
If I run the mat alongside the lamp, do I just put it underneath his substrate? Only I worry that he touches is because he like to burrow down into his substrate making tunnel. Will it burn him if he comes into direct contact with the mat? What’s the solution to this?
 

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I just followed the guides that said they should shaped like a loaf of bread and not round like a tube.

I’ve ran into a problem again with heating his tank if anyone else has more ideas.
He’s on the dimmer stat now but his tank won’t get above 22. I’ve moved the sensor and no matter where I put it the max the tank will get to is 22.
If I run the mat alongside the lamp, do I just put it underneath his substrate? Only I worry that he touches is because he like to burrow down into his substrate making tunnel. Will it burn him if he comes into direct contact with the mat? What’s the solution to this?
Either raise the basking spot or lower the bulb- or use a more powerful bulb. Where have you got the stat probe? It should be as near to the basking spot as possible.
 

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I just followed the guides that said they should shaped like a loaf of bread and not round like a tube.

I’ve ran into a problem again with heating his tank if anyone else has more ideas.
He’s on the dimmer stat now but his tank won’t get above 22. I’ve moved the sensor and no matter where I put it the max the tank will get to is 22.
If I run the mat alongside the lamp, do I just put it underneath his substrate? Only I worry that he touches is because he like to burrow down into his substrate making tunnel. Will it burn him if he comes into direct contact with the mat? What’s the solution to this?
22, Is that the surface area temp at the basking spot (measured with an IR gun) or the air temp of the warm end (measured with a probe thermometer)?
 

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Discussion Starter #53
It’s a 100W bulb.

I’ve tried the stat sensor in different areas but surely if I put it close to the bulb it will switch off because it hotter there?
I’ve also got multiple probe thermometers around the tank that read the air temp. The hottest they read is 22 from the area that he sits in the most.
 

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Assuming the bulb is at one end, put the probe under the bulb, just to one side and just above the substrate. Set the stat to 30, and use a digital ther.omter with its probe next to the stat probe to confirm the temperature. You will need to leave it for an hour or so as it settles itself.
 

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I use a 20w mini halogen in my vivs and have no issues. The stat probe is on the back wall in line with the lamp and a few inches off the surface. I've a hot spot of 32c directly under the lamp.
 

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What type of bulb is it. A small Halogen GU10 spot can easily raise the surface temperature well above 30c at a distance of over 40cm, so a 100w lamp should be more than adequate.

Follow Ian's advice to read the substrate temperature after an hour or so. If you find the substrate is not reaching 30c then follow Wills advice and either bring the lamp down lower, or (and probably more practical) place something under the lamp that closes the distance between the lamp and the basking spot.

A third option is to replace the bulb with a spot 60-100w spot so the energy is focuses more. Remember that whilst air temperature is important it's not critical for a corn snake as it would be for a tropical species.
 

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Discussion Starter #57
So it’s still 22 after doing what Ian said.
The bulbs are the ones in the picture that I previously sent when showing you the set up during the week.
I can’t lower the bulb as it’s attached to the top of the tank and has a cage surrounding it.
I’m not sure what I could use to close the distance from the floor as he doesn’t fit on anything I have.

Did you see my question about the heat mat? If he comes into direct contact with it will it burn him? Because he likes to dig around and tunnel in the substrate so putting under that worries me.
 

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I suspect this is because the viv is so big. I have a 4 x 2 x 2 wooden viv housing a pair of diones rats. Its heated to 30 at the hot end using a 100w spotlamp controlled by a dimming stat.
What is the temperature directly under the bulb? Provided its hitting around 30 or 32 under it then you are fine the snake will move around to where it wants to be.
 

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Ian, looking back she is using a 100w IR basiking lamp



It could be that the lamp is faulty ? If you can, try replacing it with a normal halogen spot lamp, something like this



or this



As Ian has asked, use your IR temperature gun and measure the substrate temperature under the lamp and let us know.

If you used a heatmat it would need to be controlled by its own thermostat. The probe would need to be in contact with the mat to ensure it didn't get excessively warm. This can have two drawbacks. If the probe is taped to the mat, the tape can work loose and then attaches to the snake.. not good !. Secondly, covering the may with lots of substrate to a depth that allows him to bury through will tend to insulate the heat mat and could cause it to overheat. Personally I would suggest you stop fixating on using a mat. Install a decent lamp, or as mentioned, raise the basking spot using cork bark, or make a cave up with a nice bit of slate (worth using aquarium grade silicone to stick the slate down to the other rocks).
 

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I have used those and had no issue at all.
I did see that the stat is a simple on/off mat stat.
Hopefully that was changed to a dimmer.
 
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