Incubator Recommendations?

This will be my first year breeding ball pythons and I’m trying to determine whether to invest in an incubator or attempt to build my own. I would love to get feedback from some of the more experienced breeders here as to what brands/methods you have had success with.

I’m only expecting one clutch this time around, so I don’t need a super large incubator starting out. It will be at least another year until my next largest female is ready to breed, and probably three years from now until I can expect to have more than two or three clutches at a time. So I don’t necessarily need a large commercial incubator to start out, but I’m hesitant to attempt a DIY build because I would hate to have it not work properly and to lose my only clutch of the year.

Does anyone have recommendations for a small to medium commercial incubator, or suggestions for a relatively foolproof DIY project? Thanks in advance!

DIY incubator can be very simple, a cooler or fridge, heat tape and the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT piece of equipment a reliable thermostat such as Herpstat, VE or Helix this is where your main cost will be and it can be used with you next larger incubator as you grow.

You can often find fridge for free (small and big) and simply strip them down here is a good DIY on that http://arbreptiles.com/cages/incubator.html (aside from the T-stat part)

After that when it comes to commercial incubator you want to look at Nature Spirit or Hotbox.

Even if you are only expecting one clutch this time around you definitely want something you can grow into and allow you to hold 6 to 8 clutches at once.

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Thanks! I appreciate the feedback. I’ll check out the tutorial and start looking into DIY. I’m fairly handy but this would be the first time an animal’s survival would depend on something I built so I’m feeling really nervous about it! Seems like a lot of people here have converted fridges with pretty good results though!

Hotbox was definitely on my radar but I hadn’t heard about Nature Spirit. I’ll check them out too. Thanks again!

Got mine from Cserpents. https://cserpents.com/C_Serpents_Hot_Box/HOME.html Love it. Look them up!

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Built mine from a red bull mini fridge and has worked fine for last five seasons

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I would recommend you build your own. Years ago I made one out of a bigger cooler. Super simple. 11 inch heat tape along the bottom and up the sides. Laid water bottles on the bottom. Then a shelf on top of them. Could hold 4 tubs. Like others have said most important part is the thermostat. Do not be cheap here. You invest a lot of time and money to produce eggs. The last thing you want is a cheap thermostat ruining all your (snakes) hard work. I used a herpstat redline and loved it. I now have a bigger mini fridge with a glass door that I’ll use as a fridge all year until I get eggs then it’s also my incubator. Love it. What’s nice about it is the fan still works and that helps.

I would look at building one,. A 24" incubator is around 500 plus a decent thermostat. You’re really only looking at the cost of The box itself, heat tape (you can pay to have it assembled if needed) and a a computer fan or any little fan if you even want or need a fan. You can find most old soda displays for 100-300 if not free depending on the size and condition. Everything else plus a thermostat doesn’t touch 500. If you go the cooler route you’re even cheaper. I need to build one but I’m waiting on the right type of container to come along. Until then I’m planning on using a cooler when needed.

Not the greatest photo, but $60 not including herpstat1. LED was around $20 off amazon and not strictly necessary but the built in light caused too much of a heat spike for my comfort.

Just keep an eye on craigslist refrigerators, wine, and beverage coolers that people are either giving away or selling for a reduced price. As long as the door seals are good it will work. More often than not either the compressor, main board, or coolant level is too low and it is more expensive, or close enough cost wise to fix as to replace.

Also check with local refrigerator repair shops, I have one locally that will clear the refrigerant lines for less than $20 and have on several occasions been happy to get something out of their storage area sometimes for nothing beyond the refrigerant recovery cost.

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