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Accessories & Other Stuff For Herptiles


| Introduction | Heating Equipment | Lighting Equipment | Timers | Heat Related Equipment | Feeding Equipment | Humidity Related Equipment | Related Topics |
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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.

Heating Equipment:

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 the container.

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 shops.

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 species.

a Small Heat Pad Picture b Low Output Fluorescent Light Picture c 60 Watt Spotlight Picture d Spotlight Fitting Picture
e Fitting Series Picture f Large Heating Pads Picture g 40 Watt Light Bulp Piture
Figure 1: Heating & lighting equipment. a Small 25 Watt low output heat pad; b Low output fluorescent light; c 60 Watt spotlight; d Screw-in spotlight fitting; e Party lights series fitting; f Large 30 Watt low output heat pads; g 40 Watt lights used in smaller vivariums & containers.

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Lighting Equipment:

Low output fluorescent lamps or newer power saver bulbs (Fig. 1b) can be used to light up cages without significantly increasing the temperature. Low output and power saver lights will not burn reptiles if they come to close to the lights or coil or press against them. Make sure to buy the correct fitting, that fits the cage and the light you are planning to use. Not all fluorescent lamps use the same fittings.

Normal 40 or 60 Watt light or spotlight bulbs can be used to lighten up larger enclosures where they will not influence the cage temperature. Such bulbs should always be covered to prevent direct contact with  herptiles.

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.

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Timers are for switching electrical equipment on or off on required intervals. Various electric timers are currently available and range from outdoor timers to be used with pool pumps (Fig. 2 A) to the more expensive digital timers to be used with sensitive appliances. Most timers work on a daily basis, but there are some that can be programmed on a weekly basis where time can be set for each day of the week. The on-off lag period of different timers range between minutes with digital timers, 15 minutes with daily timers (Fig. 2 B) to a few hours with weekly timers. Timers can be bought from various electrical, hardware and general purpose shops. Click here to buy timers from our website.

A B Electric Timer Picture C Thermokontroll Picture D Open Thermokontroll Picture
E Mounted Thermokontroll Thermostat F Thermometer Picture G Small Industrial Thermostat Picture H Aquarium Heater Thermostat Combination Picture
I Thermostat Picture
Figure 2: Timers & heat related equipment. A & B Two different types of timers. B are a indoor model where A is more frequently used outside; Click here to buy timers from our website. C, D & E Thermokontroll® thermostats (not heater/thermostat combination) are usually used in water, but works equally well outside; F Two different thermometers usually used with aquariums, but can be used to measure temperature; G Industrial thermostat; H Aquatic heater with build-in thermostat; I General purpose incubator thermostat to be used in dry environments. Click here to buy thermostats from our website.

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Heat Related Equipment:

The correct temperature can be accurately obtained and maintained connecting an appropriate heat source to a thermostat (Figs 2 C, D, F and H). Various thermostats are available, ranging from aquarium stats (Figs. 2 C, D and G), sometimes with a build-in heater, to general incubator thermostats to those that are being used in controlling human incubators. Some thermostats are controlled through computers. Make sure to read the instructions carefully before installing a thermostat. Thermostats are usually available from large pet shops and electrical shops. Click here to buy thermostats from our website.

Thermometers are used to indicate temperatures. More accurate and electrical thermometers are usually more expensive than less accurate (Fig. 2 E) ones. Some electrical thermometers can be connected to computers and give readings over a period of time. Thermometers are available from most pet shops.

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Feeding Equipment:

A syringe (Fig. 3 B) are used to force-feed or tube-feed problem Egg-eaters (see the Common Egg-eaters, Dasypeltis scabra section). Rubber tubes (Fig. 3 C) or stomach tubes can be used.

Small scissors and surgical forceps (Fig. 3 D) can be used to cut and present various types of food to problematic herptiles

A Spray Bottle Picture B Syringe Picture C Tube Picture D
Mistmaker Picture F Stomach Tube Picture G H

Figure 3: Feeding & humidity related equipment. A Spray bottle; B 20 ml syringe with a rubber tube connected to it; C Plastic tube used in fish tank filters; D Stainless steel kidney bucket, forceps tweezers & nail scissors; E Mist maker to humidify the environment; F No. 4 Stomach tube used to force feed problem Egg-eating snakes; G Shallow containers bought from nurseries; H Normal plastic dog & cat feeding bowls.

Various sizes of plastic feeding containers are available. What you use depends on the purpose. Shallow containers (Fig. 3 G) are available from most nurseries and comes in various, shapes, colours and sizes. Normal plastic dog and cat feeding bowls are available from most pet shops and general stores.

Humidity Related Equipment:

Spray bottles (Fig. 2 C) can be used to spray a vivarium or container once or twice a day to increase the humidity and/or to water lizards such as chameleons and Bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps). Water bottles are available from large pet shops, nurseries, general and hardware stores.

Mist makers or humidifiers (Fig. 3 E) are the more expensive way to humidify the environment. Keep in mind that some mist makers can only work for a certain amount of time per day. Humidifiers can be connected to electrical humidity controllers for an more desired effect. Various humidity meters are also available to indicate the amount of water in the air as a percentage. Mist makers are available from nurseries and specialized pet shops and humidity meters from most specialized pet shops.

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"If you think I should add more information to this section or think that something is incorrect, contact me and let me know. I would love to hear your ideas or methods you might use that is different than ours."

Last updated 16 April 2005 by Renier Delport

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Related Topics:

General Snake Care Sheet
Suitable Substrates For Herptiles
General Animal Bio-security & Quarantine
Photoperiod & Brumation / Hibernation

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| Introduction | Heating Equipment | Lighting Equipment | Timers | Heat Related Equipment | Feeding Equipment | Humidity Related Equipment | Related Topics |
| Price List | Email This Page |


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