Rack FAQ

How much is shipping?

UPS Ground is included in the cost of your rack or cage purchased from Reptile Basics within the continental USA. Sorry, we can not offer express shipping options on racks.

What are the box dimensions on the rack systems?

You can find more details in the "Product Details" of each rack or in the product description of the appropriate tub for that rack.

How Big of a snake can I get into one of these? What else will these house?

We routinely keep baby balls, boas and colubrids in the VE 108-8 or VE 108-11 tubs. Tub size can vary with personal preference and species preference.  The VE-2 and VE-6 model racks will use the VE 108-8, 108-11 and 108-23 tubs interchangeably allowing your housing needs to evolve as your collection changes or grows.

The CB-70 rack will house about any Ball Python you will ever own and boas up to about 4 feet. It will also do well with larger colubrids such as gophers, pines, and large milk snakes.

Where can I get replacement boxes?

We can sell you replacement boxes as needed.  The VE line of tubs is available on our website.


What do these racks include?

All of our racks include the rack and heat. Also included is a set of tub locking pins and foil tape for thermostat probe placement. The racks are pre-drilled for your thermostats temperature probe. These racks are ready to come out of the box and be used, NO ASSEMBLY REQUIRED!  In some cases the tubs are sold seperately on our website so that you can select the combination of sizes to suit your individual needs.  Please be sure to check before ordering.

RBI Plastics tub locking pins are a very handy innovation. With the pin in place it is not possible to open the individual tub. Should a snake get loose and get behind a tub it will be unable to turn all of your other animals loose. If you have had this happen to you in the past you will love this. These also make good "food in tub" indicators for those with large collections. These pins are standard with all of our racks!

How big of a gap is there between the box and the shelf?

These racks are built with very tight tolerances.   Depending on the rack in question it can range from a few thousandths of an inch to 3/32" in the larger tubs. 

How many watts of power do the racks use?

Back heat racks use between 40-60 watts. Belly heat racks use between 70 and 100 watts per rack.

Do these racks use belly heat or back heat? Which is better?

The racks sold here that use the I-80 and I160 hatchling tubs are only offered with back heat.  We have found through 30 years of expereince and quite a lot of testing that belly heat with any size element is just plain dangerous to the animals living in them.  There is generally not enough thermal gradient but more importantly the potential temperature of the tubs is way too high.  In our tests using the I-60 rack with these tubs we found that in a 75F room temp we could still see close to 130F at the rear of the tubs and close to 100F at the front using a low wattage 3" element.  The potential for harm is simply to great to justify use of belly heat in this system.  

Back heat in this same rack in the same room conditions yield a temp at the rear of low 100's F and the front of the tub in the low 80's when tested uncontrolled.  While not what most reptiles would like, this is also not fatal to most species and with proper monitoring the user has ample time to find the problem and correct it before tradgedy can occur.  We will only offer this rack with back heat for this reason.

Our larger racks offer belly heat for a few reasons.  First is the back heat in tubs with greater front/back depth often do not heat up properly.  The heat used simply can not project far enough and we have found a lot of our customers are using these racks in room temperature or even cooler rooms in their homes.  With the CB-70 racks belly heat is all we have ever offered for this reason.  With our newer VE-2 and VE-6 racks we went to belly heat only due to the longer tubs.  Under full power tests with the belly heat in a 75F room we did not acheive fatal, or even excessive, temps at the front of the tubs.  Due to the length of these tubs there is a good gradient and an acceptable margin of safety.

What would cause the belly heat to melt the bottom of my tub(s)?

This does not happen very often but it is usually memorable. First, PVC is self extinguishing, so while it is not a desireable thing to melt your tubs you can not set the rack itself on fire. That being said- Heat tape can, and will fail. If used properly it will last many, many years. If not used properly it can fail in a few months. In almost every instance of failure the tape has been run too hot for a period of time and premature failure was the result. Out of those cases almost every time it is due to trying to acheive too high a basking temp in too cool a room. While a rack system is a very economical caging system and much easier to maintain than aquariums it is not a miracle cure! Racks become very tricky to keep at the desired temps for tropical snakes (specifically Ball Pythons that like it warmer than most) in a cool room. For cold room temps you may want to consider cages with radiant heat panels or some other options. Think of your heat tape like you would a car engine- If it is running at full throttle all the time to make the car go the speeds you need it will fail. Time for a bigger engine.

We have recently (mid August 2008) changed our belly heat rack designs slightly to make changing of heat tape much easier for the user. Fortunatley we have had very, very few failures we are aware of relative to the number of belly heat racks we have out there (less than 10 per 750 or so). It is a very good practice to check all of your equipment (thermostats, heating, etc) on a regular basis. One thing I have learned in this hobby after 30 years is those who pay attention very rarely are telling horror stories of dead animals from any cause.

What are these racks made out of?

The racks sold at Reptile Basics are constructed with 1/2"" expanded PVC plastic. This material has a lot of very nice features. It is easy to work with, machine and screw together. It is quite durable, easy to clean and stain and odor resistant. It will withstand any amount of REASONABLE abuse that a snake rack should be expected to take. Sharp impact (like a hammer) will break the plastic so don't try this at home! Since the body of the rack is made entirely of PVC it can often be repaired with common PVC cement should it become necessary.

Will they stack?

Yes, they are designed to stack.  The newer VE designs do not require any special parts, pins or bars!  They will lock together using integral tabs and recesses.

Will these racks sag?

No,they are constructed with 1/2" material that is quite rigid but also light weight. The racks have been designed around the unique Iris brand boxes that put the majority of weight towards the outside walls. A little thought and experience in the design goes a long way.

How long of a wait from the time I order until I receive them?

Many cage makers have developed quite a backlog. With the explosion of people getting into the reptile hobby over the last few years the demand for caging has become immense. When you need a rack or a cage, you need it now, not 3+ months from now. To help us keep up with the huge demand we have acquired our own in-house computer driven routing system (CNC). This allows us to maintain extremely tight tolerances and oversee every aspect of construction.

We can fill most rack and cage orders in 10 business days or less. Larger orders of 6+ racks/cages are very often filled in the same time frame but may require a few extra days to fill if our inventory is low at the time. UPS ground takes anywhere from 1-5 business days for delivery once the rack has been shipped depending on your location. Please see our Transit Time Map for more details.