Different reptiles need different heat amount. Failure to meet this heat need would affect its health, and that is why you need a heat lamp.
Heat: Why is it Important?
All reptiles need the right amount of temperature. Since they are cold-blooded, external heat is necessary to maintain the right body temperature. Before they were domesticated, these reptiles would naturally move to areas that support their body temperature need, like under a shade or a heated platform under the sun.
So that is why you need to provide them with the right amount of heat they need per time.
Not too high to bake them, and not too low to affect their digestion. A reptile might become sluggish at low temperatures, and that would affect their digestion.
Due to these reasons, you need to keep a temperature gradient. A reptile heat lamp in your pet’s room, stationed at an end, so that the temperature at that end is high enough, and the other end of the room is not as high, but just the right temperature that accommodates the low-temperature need.
It sounds simple, right, but not quite. The temperature gradient differs for different reptiles. The type of pet you keep determines the housing accessories that would give them the faux natural environment they ought to be.
If you are keeping a reptile that loves to hide, then its shelter must have a hiding spot for both warm and cool ends. That is the only way you can be sure your reptile is not going to be hiding all the time at the end where it is not getting the needed temperature.
If your reptile is arborous, you must consider maintaining the required heat on their tree accessories. That way, your pet can regulate its body temperature and at the same time be where it loves to be.
That sounds like much trouble, but you would find it easy if you can copy the natural habitat of your pet as much as possible. Buy a thermometer or two to monitor the temperature of different ends of its housing, where your pets stay more. Make sure it is the right temperature because this is important for its well-being.
Temperatures at Night
Pet reptiles mostly do not have problems with night temperature. Which they experience in their natural habitat. So, we recommend that you keep the temperature minimum at night. You can tune it up a little, but let your pet choose to stay where suits it most.
Getting Your Pet The Needed Heat
We have many heat sources. The kind of reptile you keep and its housing would determine the best source to buy. A hanging heat source would give a natural basking source of heat like the sun, while an underneath heat source is also good because it supplements heat provision.
If you can avoid it, do not keep your source of heat in the same room as your pet. If you cannot, make sure the heat source is at least covered, so that the heat is not directly on your pet. That is to prevent burning your pet, as usually seen in Chinese Water Dragons and Iguanas.
We do not advise Hot Rocks. They are usually too hot and they burn any reptile that lays on them-but not providing enough heat to warm up the housing. Pay attention to the direction of the use of these heaters also, to reduce risks of fire. See some options below;
- Incandescent lamps, Basking lights, or spotlights are sources that provide heat and daytime light. We have them in different wattages. You might need to experiment with them first to determine the correct mix of power and distance necessary for the right amount of heat.
You cannot use white light for 24 hours because your pet needs the night feel too. So, you might need to use a dim or a colored bulb at night. There are special night bulbs just for reptiles.
- Ceramic heaters: These are devices that you can fix into a socket like a bulb but do not give light. You stand a risk of setting your pet’s room on fire because it gives out too much heat. So follow the user manual.
- Heating pads and tape or under tank heaters: Heating pads for humans are not ideal, but okay to use, but special heat pads and heat tape for reptiles are also available.
Advantages of Ultraviolet
While most reptiles need heat, some also require UV lights alongside the day-night cycle. UV lights are necessary for their health as much as their requirement for heat. For those reptiles that might not require UV lights, they still need that day and night cycle. Without which animals will be stressed. Aside from stress, if you want to breed with your pets, the light and dark system helps them to reproduce.
Snakes and Some Lizards Species
Snakes have morphed to eat their prey whole, so they get all their vitamin D and calcium requirements in one meal. Some lizards do not get that much UV light in the wild and so they do not need special UV light bulbs. So what these two need is just a Day-night cycle effect. Maybe a common red-hot bulb too.
Many lizards, tortoises, and all turtles, however, need to be exposed to both UVA and UVB lights. They get the right amount by often exposing them to the sun or UV light.
What makes UV Light Important?
Vitamin D3, found in reptile skins, can only be produced when UV is available. Vitamin D3 are available in supplements that can be put in meals, but Iguanas and some other reptiles do better when they make it themselves. UV can give your pet the right dose when you use specially made bulbs instead of exposing them to the sun.
What kind of bulbs should I get? Just ensure you get an all-inclusive bulb that emits above 1.1% UVB. The Zoo Med’s Reptisun lights or Durtest Vita-Lite are good. The UVB this bulb emits tend to reduce with time, so you should replace them at least between 9 to 12 months.
Some reptiles need UVB producing light, so they need extra sources of light for heat. Ensure these sources of lights are side by side, so your pet is not too far away from the UVB source.