Boa  tank / terrarium / enclosure / cage  heating

We strongly discourage people from using ground heaters, especially those with a high wattage, because the snakes lay on them and dry out. We have received several calls from people seeking advice, because their python was having a bad shed and looking very wrinkled. These people swear that the humidity lies above 60%. Right, but not immediately on the ground heater! Measure that spot sometime, and you will be very surprised: 35% or less are no rarity. Unfortunately, the snakes love these spots, because they are nice and warm. They are simply too stupid to realize that resting on a strong heat pad or heating cable is slowly but surely killing them.

Other keepers use ground heat to place the water bowl on top. This leads to nice and warm water, which makes for an excellent breeding ground for bacteria. We have thrown out all of the heating cables and mats years ago, and we have not regretted this once.

The best way to heat the enclosure is by the use of an infrared heat source (available with 60 to 250 Watts), which does not emit any visible light. The latter is especially important, in order to maintain a daytime-nighttime cycle for the inhabitants.

The boa terrarium heating source is to be contained in a strong guard box to protect the animal from sustaining burns.

The following photos are for those of you who don't believe in guard boxes:

This Costa Rica boa had to be destroyed because she has got letal burns caused by wrapping around the unprotected ceramic heat emitter. Device temp: (510° C - 950F)

The owner of the boa thought (like many others before him): "She never gets there" Well, he was mistaken...
... and the boa had to pay the bill

Another example...

The infrared heating source in the terrarium can be mounted at the ceiling of the enclosure, towards the first or second third (in length).

Finally an enterprise conceived to develope a guard box for ceramic heat emitters. The widget is called „Heat Protector“ and is manufactured by Dohse Aquaristik (available in specialist shops). Fortunatley the times are gone now where one has to build such a guard box oneself. We have tested the Heat Protector yet and think that it is optimal. 

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It can be controlled by a terrarium thermostat, whose probe constantly measures the inside temperature and shuts off the heating source when the desired temperature is reached, and turns it on when the reverse is the case.

A good choice is the "Biotherm 2000" by Dohse Aquaristik, Otto-Hahn-Str. 9, in 53501 Grafschaft-Gelsdorf, Germany. We have been using the "Biotherm" since entering this hobby, and so far none of these units have failed to function in any way.

Here is the website of the company:

Thermostats of the make "Biotherm 2000" for controlling the heat source. The desired temperature can simply be adjusted. These appliances are manufactured by
Dohse Aquaristik/Germany and available at specialists shops.

Lighting in the boa  tank / terrarium / enclosure / cage

Even though it is not really necessary to provide boids with lighting that resembles the spectrum of lighting emitted by the sun, we have noticed that the animals appear more natural in regards to their coloration when such an equipment is used. Every time we acquired a boa from a keeper who was using white or yellow neon lighting, the animal turned lighter and more colorful immediately after exposed to the lighting in our enclosures.

For this reason, you should consider spending a few extra bucks for lighting that resembles the spectrum of lighting emitted by the sun. The products of the make “Repti-Glo”, Fa. Hagen Deutschland, which are available in reptile specialty stores, have proven to be especially suitable. We mention this product here, because we have used it for years ourselves and have been very satisfied with it, even in regards to the price.

Our models Ulrike, Suri-baby and Astrid (from left to right) proudly present Repti-Glo flourescent tubes. Honestly, only in the light spectrum of the Repti-Glo flourescent tubes the colors of the boas are shown to advantage.

Control devices  tank / terrarium / enclosure / cage

A device for measuring the temperature and humidity in the terrarium is an absolute must for every enclosure. Reptile suppliers offer mechanical as well as digital thermometers and hygrometers.

One more hint: Do not place the measuring device at a spot where it seems especially decorative, but rather at the location at which the snake usually rests. This is the only way to determine the climatic conditions that your animal is exposed to. The variations in temperature and humidity in the different parts are often significant