Many people who purchase their first ball python house them in an aquarium type setting. Aquarium’s work very well for a few ball pythons but it quickly becomes a nightmare as your collection starts to grow. As you start to approach five ball pythons or more, you’ll soon realize that five individual aquariums or tanks begin to take up a lot of horizontal space. Couple this with the fact that cleaning a heavy tank can take a bit of time, you’ll experience first hand that keeping a growing collection of ball pythons in tanks can start to become nerve wrecking.
Several ball python aquariums
The common question that many ball python keepers ask is, "What’s the best way to house my growing collection of ball pythons?" This question has been answered by quite a few reptile caging manufacturers in the form of a rack system. Rack systems are efficient and practical solutions for housing a growing collection of ball pythons. They work on the principal of vertical housing opposed to horizontal housing, as is the case when dealing with tanks. Each manufacturer has their own style of racks but they all pretty much address the same space issue faced with tanks in their own way.
Ball python rack from Vision Products
Some manufacturers offer rack systems that you have to assemble yourself such as Vision Products for example. Other manufacturers custom make your racks per order and ship them to you as in the case of Boaphile Plastics. Other than the difference in design, cage quality and pricing, an "assemble it yourself" rack can usually be shipped to you quicker than a "custom made per order" rack, which can oftentimes take several months to complete depending on where they are in their work queue.
Ball python rack from Boaphile Plastics
Most racks are made of a durable plastic material that comes in either white or black but there are some racks that are made from melamine wood. These racks are for the most part heavy and can warp over a period of time due to high humidity and dampness in the cage. This warping effect causes the sliding drawers to get stuck and is oftentimes very difficult to pull out or push in. I would strongly advise against purchasing racks made out of melamine wood for these reasons.
Ball python racks made of melamine wood
Many rack manufacturers have designed their racks to fit a number of "tubs" made by Sterilite, Rubbermaid and others. Because Sterilite and Rubbermaid are the two primary leaders in producing plastic organizing products, they can be found at just about any retail store and usually sell for less than $5 per tub, depending of course on how many quarts the tub will hold. What really makes a rack system shine when compared to a tank is the weight of the plastic tub itself. A tank is very heavy whereas a plastic tub is extremely lightweight. This makes for easy cleaning and cage maintenance and gives tubs the upper hand over tanks. They also perform an amazing job at holding in humidity as well.
Sterilite tub used to house a ball python
Racks reserve or provide a "hot spot" area in the form of either belly or back heat. Flexwatt heat tape is a popular source for providing both belly and back heat.
Flexwatt heat tape for ball pythons
Another choice for providing heat is through the use of a "heat cable". Heat cables are very popular in Europe and are included with rack systems from Vision Products. Heat cables work on the same premise as Flexwatt heat tape but they’re fashioned as a cable opposed to a thin tape-like strip. As with all heat sources, you want to make sure you hook them up to a thermostat or rheostat so you can control the amount of belly or back heat for the "hot spot" in your ball pythons' cage.
Repti heat cable for ball pythons
Racks come in a variety of sizes and styles so you need to make sure you purchase a rack that meets your needs and budget. We’ve discussed racks at length in our forum so I invite you to visit our ball python forum to see what other members have said about the rack systems they personally own. Feel free to start a thread if you have questions or would like to discuss this topic in greater detail.
could you tell me where i have to buy a flexwatt?
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