UTHs and sand boas

I’ve been keeping sand boas for a few years now, and house them in glass tanks on metal shelving (not solid shelves but open wire) with heat cable. The cable doesn’t come in direct contact with the tanks but runs just below.
My question is this: I want to switch to UTH heating but am a little concerned with having the heaters in direct contact with the glass. I provide about 1-1/2 inches of sanichip bedding, but my snakes like to snuggle down next to the glass, and I’m concerned that the heaters may burn them. The UTH heaters I have purchased are 4 watt. I’m in the process of adding shelving since my addiction is growing :laughing: and thought this would be a good time to switch my heating.
Should I increase the depth of the bedding? I’m wondering if they go to the bottom because the heat cable doesn’t warm enough and they are seeking more warmth, and they won’t go that close if there is an UTH warming the bedding? I use a thermostat to monitor and regulate the heat.
Has anyone had a problem with burns related to UTH? I prefer to keep them in tanks since they have been doing really well eating, shedding, etc. and I enjoy being able to view them. They also seem to enjoy their environment.

It’s not about bedding or type of enclosure it’s about having your heat source (regardless of whether it is a UTH, heat cable, etc) controlled by a reliable thermostat.

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My thermostat is reliable so I’m not worried about it failing. I’m just worried that my snakes may lay on the glass directly above the heater and get burned. So if I set the temp to 90 for the heat gradient the area would be safe? I’ve only read about problems from thermostat failure, but is direct contact with the glass also an issue? Maybe I’m just worried for nothing :worried:

You need to set your T-stat to whatever allows you to reach proper temps in the tank (it’s not a one fit all it depends on many factors), and remember that proper placement of probe is outside the tank, sandwiched between the UTH and the tank.

Millions of snakes are keep on belly heat with a thermostat without any issue.

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I feel more comfortable with the decision to go to UTH over the cable I have now. Just trying to imagine any issues before they happen. :slightly_smiling_face:

(remember that proper placement of probe is outside the tank, sandwiched between the UTH and the tank.). Thanks for reminding me about that! Makes sense if I want to know glass temp. :thinking:

You can also just put a cage liner or construction paper between the glass and substrate so the snake can never really get directly on the warm glass for your peace of mind but if you have a real nice thermostat it’s probably okay

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I like the idea of using a cage liner, if for nothing else than my peace of mind. Thanks for the suggestion :slightly_smiling_face:

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IMO opinion, a liner would do more harm than good. As long as you have a reliable thermostat and a temperature gun, you’re good. If you use a liner, you’ll have to bring the heat up more than you would without it in order to achieve the desired temperature. If your snake found it’s way under the liner, you’d risk burning it. If you set it to the right temperature, there’s no chance of the glass burning your snake as long as your thermostat is working.

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You bring up a good point about the snake possibly getting trapped between the liner and glass. I do have a reliable thermostat and also a temp gun, and since no one has stated they have had problems with sand boas being injured by uth’s, it seems I will be fine setting them up with uth’s like my corns and my ball python. Right now my sand boas have a heat cable, but the uth’s would be a better setup for my tanks. Thanks for your comments :slightly_smiling_face:

You’re very welcome! Enjoy your sand boa! They’re wonderful creatures!

That doesn’t make since because if it’s a reliable thermostat set to the right temperature the snake won’t get burned from going under the cage liner it’s literally the same as being under news paper bedding or something but the liners are cut to the exact size of the cage floor with substrate and everything over it so that won’t happen anyway it’s probably safe either way but 10000% not more dangerous with a cage liner

I see what you mean, but I guess the reasoning is that you end up turning the uth up higher in order to warm the tank through the liner? Like if you use a temp gun to measure the warmth in the warm spot, but the liner prevents it from getting warm enough? I guess either way, so long as the uth is never set higher than the correct temp there shouldn’t be a problem?
My corn snake and my ball python just hang out on top of their bedding, so it’s not a problem with them. My sand boas, on the other hand, like to dig down to the bottom glass, which is why I was worried about them. I still like the idea of a liner, so long as it can warm the area enough and still keep the uth at the proper temp. It will save me some money if I don’t need liners and they can still be kept safely, but if the liners add safety then I’m all in. Thanks for your ideas and suggestions :slightly_smiling_face:

Really? If you want them on the liner, you need to raise the heat more than you would if you just had the glass. Glass is a conductor for heat and anything trapped between the glass and liner could risk being burned. That is unless you set the temp when the glass reaches the desired temperature, but why would you do that with a liner in?

You’re line of thinking is exactly what i was saying. I could definitely see a sand boa getting under a liner. Mine spend all there time at the bottom of their enclosures unless they’re hungry.

Okay, I think you just stated what I need to know. You keep sand boas, you use a UTH mounted to the bottom glass of your tank, you don’t use a liner, your snakes have never been burned because you are careful about the temp on the glass.
I agree with calebsnakes that the snake most likely couldn’t get under a liner that is fitted to the tank. However, if I can keep them safely without having to deal with the extra cost of the liner, as well as an extra cleaning chore, I’ll probably go that route.

Thank you chaoticcolubrid, calebsnakes, and stewart_reptiles. You all have very good arguments. I’ll try to keep all your suggestions in mind as I finish my new setups.

Yea I feel that I use them to actually help me pick up and change the substrate while keeping the bottom of the tub or glass cleanish my sand boas don’t get under them and if they did it would be fine I just imagine warm paper feels more natural than warm glass or plastic that’s really the only reason I use it on some of mine but yes you’re snake should be fine either way with a high quality thermostat

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