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If it was not for modern technology, herpetology probably would not have been
possible today. Because of
modern equipment we are able to mimic the
natural environment of herptiles quite accurately. This section will
introduce some of the equipment available in the market, and
more specifically the South African market.
Electricity is dangerous! When working with electricity, caution
must be taken at all times. Buy accessories that are
approved by the SABS. Seek assistance if you do not know what you're doing!
Electrical equipment and their wiring should be inspected at
least every six months.
To heat up one end of a cage to create a temperature gradient, low-output heat pads
(Fig. 1 a) can be used. Pads are cheap and cost effective.
Different sizes are available for different scenarios. Shown here are 24 Watt and 30 Watt
(Figs. 1 a and f) pads. 30 Watt pads are technically warmer than
24 Watt pads, but because the heat is dispersed over a greater
area the effective heat transmitted is less. These pads are
commonly used in larger vivariums or containers. Pads should never cover more than a third of the
ground area of
Heat pads can be fixed on the top, bottom or
the side of a vavarium or container as long as direct contact is avoided.
To avoid direct contact when the pad is fixed on the bottom of
a container, a suitable substrate should be used. Heat pads or heat strips can be bought from most large pet
A hot spot or basking area can be created with a spotlight (Fig. 1 c
and d) or infra
red light pointed to a rock or a log in one corner of a cage. The rock will automatically
start to heat up and heat will be emitted from the bottom as well. Infra red lights
are available in 175, 250 and 500 Watt and some can also be used
during the night. These wattages are to high for smaller
cages and should only be used in large room like enclosures. 40
and 60 Watt spotlights or normal light bulbs can be used in smaller cages or vivariums. Various spotlight,
light and lamp sizes as well as light accessories are available
from electrical, hardware and general stores as well as some
large pet shops. Please note that hot spots and basking areas
are usually not the safest way to supply heat to most snake