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Old 01-06-2014, 03:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Heating question


I've got an 8 week old hog in a plastic cage. I couldn't find a cage I really liked so I fashioned one out of one of those large "under the bed" storage bins. It's been working great and I got a large snake rock for the "hide" along with a saucer type wheel for her to exercise on. She also enjoys chasing the cat around the room when she's out.

Ok, so on to the point. It's getting cold, and even during the summer I don't like keeping my house above 73f - I normally prefer 70. We've had mew for 3 weeks now and despite our warm weather in FL, it's getting chilly. I need to get a heater setup.

Has anyone used one of the "mat" type heaters such as this one: http://www.amazon.com/Zoo-Med-ReptiT.../dp/B0002AQCKA I'm hoping the mat things can be used in conjunction with a thermostat device like a lamp can.

If so, any drawbacks vs a regular heat lamp or ceramic "lamp"? Given the cage setup I've got a lamp would not be ideal I don't believe.
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Old 01-06-2014, 04:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 212

Most people here prefer the CHE to warm their cages.

They do heat the airspace better than a mat, which I think is one reason people prefer them. Most places get real cold weather, I live in Texas, where it really stays warm most of the year. We also keep our house warm, my 'put on a sweater' Grandpa would not be happy. I think most people would laugh at what we consider cold (it is under 50 during the day! Brrr).

I use a mat, and the breeder we bought from also prefers mats. We use a large bin as the cage, which I think holds heat better than anything else, and a thermostat. The thermostat is a must!

I moniter the temp with a digital thermometer about four inches up on the side of the cage and spot check the floor temp a few times a day at first, now just once, with a laser thermometer (made for cooking, like Alton Brown uses). The air temp is about the same as the floor, within a degree or two.

We also have a CHE if we need extra heat, we have kept lots of pets and have lots of equipment on hand, so far we have not needed it.

I prefer mats to CHE heating because either can overheat if your thermostat stops working. It is much easier to provide a safe spot when using a mat (a place the animal can climb onto to get away from the heat) with the way a CHE heats it is much harder.

No matter how you warm the cage the most important part is to monitor it well. I use a thermometer that gives me the highest and lowest reading over 24 hours, so that I can see that the cage is staying steadily warm. I use the laser thermometer (
infrared noncontact thermometer infrared noncontact thermometer
) to quickly check the entire floor.

Last edited by Haley; 01-06-2014 at 04:25 PM.
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Old 01-06-2014, 04:36 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 212

Also, I use a human heating pad as a heat mat. Reptiles have higher heat needs, so I worried our reptile mat would get too hot.

I use
this one this one
(I use two, actually and may add a third since it is a really big bin), it does not have an auto-off function. On low it gets to 100 degrees, I made a three fleece layer thick cover for it and put it under the plastic bin. This gets me a steady 75 degree temp inside the bin. I had to play with fabric thickness and number of layers to get it just so. My goal was to get it where it didn't need the thermostat to switch it on and off very much.
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