Using heat tape to warm your reptile’s enclosure can be a cost-efficient and effective method when regulated with a proper thermostat, and it’s important to plan for regular safety checks and replacements.
A quick Instagram or reptile forum search will pull up examples of near-disasters from un-checked snake rack setups. You can avoid similar mishaps by adding frequent reminders to your calendar:
- Check heat tapes and their electrical connections at the beginning of the heating season (if applicable) and monthly during operation.
- Remove and replace any heat tape where you see cuts or cracks, charring, bare wires, loose or missing parts, or any other signs of deterioration.
- Regularly ensure your thermostat is functioning properly, as well as any backup thermostats (on/off thermostats are great options for a backup device).
Adding a reliable temperature controller (such as Spyder Robotics’ line of Herpstats) to your setup helps eliminate risk. As well, Flexwatt adds a flame-retardant coating to their heat tape for an added safeguard.
In short: Frequently check your reptile heat tape to ensure that it is kept at a safe temperature for your reptile and yourself. A reliable reptile thermostat can measure the temperature of the heat tape and turn it off when it gets too hot and turn it on when it gets too cool. This strategy will help prevent overheating and fire risks.