All Snake Haus enclosures have the same basic layout whether its a 12 foot long giant python house or a small 3′ ICU enclosure. The photo below shows the most important aspects of how to set up an enclosure. This is a stack of large boa constrictor enclosures, but they are the same outline as all of the others. We find that most of the snakes surrendered to us for behavior or health problems improve greatly in an enclosure that is set up in this way.
Many of our enclosure are home made and/or very large. This makes heat a special challenge. For large enclosures it takes a bit of extra work to maintain the proper heat GRADIENTS that our snake need to thrive. The photo here shows one option. This is Willie the Burm’s enclosure. His enclosure is 8×3 feet. A foot print that wide gets very cold quickly. His entire floor is kept at 80 degrees with an under floor heat panel that is made for construction in houses. This is hooked up to a thermostat to run it and is covered/insulated by a large sheet of corrugated plastic on top of it. The probe for the thermostat is taped to the plastic in a place where his HOT hide sits right on top of the probe, and under the overhead heater. This makes it so the floor of his hot hide is 80 degrees at all times. The rest of the floor is a little cooler, and the further away from the over head heat source you get even cooler temperatures down to about 75 degrees in his cold hide.
This category of husbandry often seems to be difficult for people. It really shouldn’t be though. The two most important things you can do to control your snake enclosure’s humidity is 1) reduce venting and 2) increase the production of water vapor.
How do we do this? Oh my gosh you guys it’s so easy! The combination of an appropriate enclosure type with a large water tub and belly heat is all you need. Place your water dish on top of the belly heat and see what your hygrometer says. If it doesn’t rapidly rise you have too much ventilation. An enclosure with large air vents or screens will rapidly lose its humidity to the outside air so cover those up. Once you have less ventilation you will start to see the humidity go up. If it gets too high simply move your water tub to the side a bit so it is not fully on top of the belly heat. This simple system will give you almost perfect control.
Notice in this picture (and most of our enclosure pictures) that the water is somewhere near the middle of the enclosure. These water tubs are placed strategically over the belly heat so they evaporate and raise the humidity inside the enclosure. That also means that our form of belly heat is BIG enough to cover more than half to floor of the enclosure. Ta dah!!