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Dr. Taus
Dr. Taus, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
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Experience:  Veterinarian with experience in equine and small animal medicine.
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Hi, I have a ball python, and I keep it in a glass terrarium

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Hi, I have a ball python, and I keep it in a glass terrarium with a screen top. I recently have been looking into radiant heat panels to use as a heat source instead of heat lamps. I was told that the enclosure I am using is not ideal for a ball python. I was told that the screen top allows for too much heat and humidity to escape. I was also told that the fact that the sides are all glass makes the snake anxious. Is this true? Also, if the screen lid allows for too much humidity to escape, I am also curious about how to prevent blister disease. The snake has had this a few times, and I read that it can be due to too much moisture or an unclean environment. I keep the cage clean, so I thought the cage was too humid. Is that even possible, if I have a screen lid, and would getting a different type of enclosure with less ventilation make it worse or better?
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Taus replied 8 months ago.
Hi there,

I'm afraid that I don't agree with the advice you were given, and I really don't have a problem with your current setup. While turtles have a hard time telling the difference between clear glass and open air, and as such will continuously try to climb out of a glass terrarium, snakes generally do just fine in glass. I'd prefer you have a screen-top lid, too, because you are obviously fighting humidity problems already (with the blister disease), and you don't want to trap moisture.

How big is your enclosure? Young ball pythons do well in small tanks, but adults should have at least 30 gallons of space. Also, what substrate are you using? If you are using mulch or reptile carpet, you might find that ceramic tile or paper towels are easier to clean and don't retain as much moisture as the mulch and carpet do.

With heat, the ambient temperature is less important than making sure that your snake has a hot surface to sit on and bask. You need to make sure that a surface is hitting 90 degrees during the day, but the ambient temperature can be 75-85 and still be ok. While ball pythons don't have a full spectrum or UVB light requirement like some reptiles do, they should still have 12 hours of full spectrum light a day for optimal vitamin and mineral absorption. If you do switch to heat panels, make sure that your snake is still getting adequate daylight.

The other thing you might check is the humidity of the room. Pythons actually have a rather low humidity requirement, 50-60%. If your snake is in the basement or in a room with little natural ventilation, the humidity of the overall room could be contributing to your problems. You can keep your snake's scales healthiest by keeping the humidity low, providing clean water for the snake to soak in at will, and misting your snake daily with a sprayer when he is shedding. Change bathing water daily-- they do like to poop in it!

I hope this is helpful. If so, please rate me positively, and don't hesitate to let me know how I can help further.

Dr. Taus, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 394
Experience: Veterinarian with experience in equine and small animal medicine.
Dr. Taus and other Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Taus replied 8 months ago.
Hi Elizabeth,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Mr. Snake. How is everything going?

Dr. Taus

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