There's a heat wave in my place !!!! What can ya do...

BUT FIRSTLY A WORD OF SAFETY !!

Big snakes like the Burmese, can pose a serous thread when they are fully heated, and excited by whatever they need to excite them... I saw with my own pythons an enlarged appetite, more movement and a huge dosis of activity.

 BE CAREFUL PEOPLES !! Most of the SFE's and ( nearly )fatal accidents occur when the temperature rises... in the summer...

handle large snakes that are active ONLY !!! when needed, or in the presence of some strong ( they know what to do if... ) friends..

Well, currently ( 07-08-2003 at 0100 CET ) we in Holland have what we call a heat wave going on. That means that the temperatures will rise, for a number of days, above the 30 degrees Celsius... Hmmm. Reptiles thrive in that conditions, BUT will need some coolant if temps get too hot... If the terrarium temperature is 30 degrees, and the outside air is also, the terrarium cannot maintain that temperature.

In my tanks it's an avrg 28 - 32 degrees in daytime, and at night it will drop to 23. Now, with OUTSIDE AIR TEMPERATURES ABOVE the 30 degrees, the terrarium will surely overheat, if no proper action is taken.( there is no cool air ) I think that if I do nothing now, the daytime temp will get as far up as 50 degrees.... Of course that's an untested theory :-) and I took some measures to prevent my snakes ending up fried in the enclosure :-)

THAT TEMPERATURE IS QUICKLY FATAL FOR BURMESE !!!!

Reptiles ( all of them ) are eco thermal and cannot sweat to regulate there temperature.. Thus they will hide in dark places ( pythons LOVE water, and plenty of it ) when it gets too hot, and seek the heat if they want to warm up for hunt. Not only can they "hibernate" in the winter, but will also "sit out" the hottest times in summer.

So what did I do to make sure temperatures stay reasonably low...

Well, first off I pulled out the IR heat emitting bulbs, since they are the hottest one's. That took care of a lot of the access heat. Meanwhile I replaced a 120 W light bulb with a 36 W TL light. So there's still plenty of lights in the enclosure, but not from heat producing bulbs. For now it is enough to keep the tanks at a level temperature of 32 degrees. At night they drop to 25 degrees, witch is upper limit, but acceptable. Since there is pretty cool water in their tank, and the 2x 3 liters sprayed at the evening, temps stay down,  and the humidity is also acceptable. As temperatures peak above the 35 degrees, I just spray more to keep temperatures down a bit, making SURE there are at least 2 dry spots, and that there is no mildew or fungus developing..

MORE TIPS FOR A COOLER ENCLOSURE OR SNAKE :

Also you can bath your snakes some more, they usually love it... ( just be ware if they are alert ) if they do not mind they will need some hours to warm up again, if bathed in colder water... If you cannot bring the snake to the bath, try getting something into the enclosure that is big enough to bath in...

a small waterfall will enhance the humidity, and also cools a bigger terrarium...

DO NOT create a cooler enclosure by putting it in a draughty place... it will kill your pythons, draught can cause pneumonia.

Very carefully ventilate some more, but be careful with it.

Mist making machines are also OK, but be careful with the temperature drops they can cause... I saw a smaller terrarium drop from 30 to 20 degrees in like 3 minutes.... that's way too much, in a way to fast time ;-)

I saw a guy hanging some ice cubes !! in a net, on top of the enclosure, letting them melt there... it worked ok, ( cool air "falls" down ) so give it a try, who knows... But in my sized enclosure I'll need a 3 gallon ! bucket or so... Hmm, that will give a mess...

Last web blast : 07-08-2003

 UPDATED 10-08-2003 :

One week into the heatwave, and all animals here are still fine. The rabbits have it a bit harder, but they have plenty of shade and water to cope this heat. The main enclosure holds out great with only 1 light emitting TL tube in it, the rest is turned off. I expect no problems if the temperature stays this way, hopefully it will not last another week. the snakes however, love this and are more active than usual... a safety standard is not so bad now... and remember :

I do not handle them, unless needed

every day fresh water

slightly increased humidity

more bathing in the morning...

More food :-) keep em happy, not hungry... especially not at bigger sizes..

UPDATE 18/08/2003

well, heatwave is over, tank is back to normal... Since I used more water in the dry season, I will wait a few days to let the tank dry out a bit.. The snakes did not even knew what happened outside ...