Tag Archives: ceramic heater

The Ultimate Reptiles for Apartment Living II

18 Jun

Leopard Gecko Eublepharis macularius

As far as substrates are concerned for the Leopard Gecko Eublepharis macualrius and Milk Snake Lampropeltis triangulum use washed play sand which is available from most home improvement stores.  Pour the sand into the enclosure to a depth of 1/2” to 1”.  I have heard all of the stories of impaction from Leopard Gecko Eublepharis macualrius owners and these cases have been found to be a normal behavior and generally related to not providing a calcium supplement when dusting the insect fare which is offered as food.

It may come as a surprise that Milk Snakes Lampropeltis triangulum be kept on sand but this has been proven to be the

Milk Snake

best by the premier breeder of the species Robert Applegate.  Washed play sand can be purchased for approximately $6.00 for a 50 pound bag.  This will last at least two months given that you’re only changing it entirely once every couple of months and in between times doing regular spot cleanings.

Albino Rosy Boa

For the Corn Snake Pantherophis guttatus and the Rosy Boa Charina trivirgata I use a mixture of ½ a part washed play sand to 1 part ground cover bark.  Ground cover bark is also purchased at the local home improvement store and is usually about $3.00 a bag. No matter what species you choose to keep you must provide a way for them to access fresh water.  This is best done by providing a water bowl which the reptiles can enter and completely submerge themselves without knocking it over.


The Ultimate Reptiles for Apartment Living I

17 Jun

Living in an apartment leaves little room for doing much of anything in the way of pet keeping.  Closer examination and a direct conversation with your landlord/manager may reveal that you’re able to keep reptiles.  The only question remaining is which reptile do you keep?

There are literally hundreds of species to choose from when looking for pet reptile.  Only a handful will make a suitable pet for an apartment setting.  Within that handful; through a decade worth of experience with reptiles and living in an apartment setting myself I have discovered there are a four genre which have similar requirements and are relatively speaking “easy” to maintain when compared to most species available today.

Leopard Geckos Eublepharis macualrius, Corn Snakes Pantherophis guttatus, Milk snake Lampropeltis triangulum, and Rosy Boas Charina trivirgata can all be kept in a twenty gallon terrarium.  The best style to use is a twenty gallon long vs. the normal twenty gallon enclosure as this gives the reptile more floor space to roam in.  Glass terrariums run on average of about $36.00 and come equipped with a sliding lid that can be pinned into place preventing escapes.

One of Robert Applegates Snakes

Heating these species is as easy as buying a ceramic socket reflector and a 65 watt ceramic heater and placing this over one of the two hides.  The basking temperature for all of these species is between 80-85˚ Fahrenheit which will leave the rest of the terrarium at about 5-10˚ cooler which is known as the ambient temperature.

Heat “The Goldilocks Principle of Herpetoculture” Part VI

16 Jun

We come now to the point of controlling the heat.  Thermostats and rheostats are both options when controlling any type of heat source.  For those who are mechanically inclined, you can build your own rheostat set-up with just some wire and a lamp dimmer switch purchased at any home improvement or hardware store.  It is then a matter of simply turning the knob to either increase or decrease the heat as needed.  These controllers in my experience have a tendency to freeze/burn their internal contacts into a set position when being used at a stable temperature.

The other option is a thermostat which can be purchased either from Helix Controls or Big Apple Herpetological supply.  Helix controls are just thermostats which keep the heating element at a constant temperature and turn off when that temperature is reached.  As with all thermostats they have a probe which is placed underneath the basking area to monitor the temperature constantly.

The Big Apple brand of thermostat is one which uses a technology they call “pulse proportional.”  This means the thermostat operates at a lower than normal setting through a pulsing signal and never actually shuts it off completely but dims it so to speak the heating element a longer lifespan.  They also have a nighttime temperature drop system which allows the temperature to be automatically dropped to a preset level(s) automatically allowing the vivarium to experience a more natural fluctuation of temperature.

In my experience such thermostats are most applicable to commercial breeders and those that use heaters such as mercury vapor, metal halide, and radiant heat panels.  These elements are capable of putting out a more intense heat than the normal incandescent style of heating elements.

After reading this article you should have a clear understanding of all the available elements used to heat reptile, amphibian, and insect pets.  No matter what “style” of element you choose you must provide an external heat source for your pet so that they may thermoregulate as needed.  When you’re done reading this I would also suggest that you read the article on reptile lighting as well as the two practices are synonymous with reptile health and neither can ever be ignored.