Factors That Effect Heating Reptiles
The following factors effect the method and type of heating product your reptile needs.
A Corn Snake that originates from the pine forests of North America can be kept at a lower a temperature than a Boa Constrictor that originates from tropical rain forests of South America. Desert reptiles such as Bearded dragons or Uromastyx need to be kept at significantly higher temperatures than species that live in temperate forests. Most reptiles experience a drop in temperature at night, this varies between habitat types and should be researched.
Diurnal vs Nocturnal
Reptiles which are active during the day require a heat source which gives of bright light such as a daylight basking lamp. This provides a basking spot which mimics the heat and light of the sun. If you heat your Bearded Dragon with a heat pad without any light source they will become sick very quickly. Heating nocturnal species with a bright light can stress them out. It is best to heat nocturnal species with an infrared basking lamp or heat pad. The majority of snakes kept as pets are nocturnal and a heat pad will provide the necessary heat for most species of snake.
Certain reptiles tolerate cold better than others. Leopard Geckos are cold tolerant and will survive a night time drop or a few hours without heat during a power cut. American Garter Snakes are also very cold tolerant and can survive very cold temperatures. Iguanas and Madagascan day geckos do not tolerate drops in temperature for even a few hours. Cold tolerant species require lower wattage heaters, while non cold tolerant species require higher wattage heaters.
It is very easy to over heat your reptiles if you leave the heaters on during warm weather. Be careful as over heating can kill your reptiles.
Size of the Cage
Large cages will require higher wattage heaters such as 150 watt light bulbs or ceramic heat emitters. High wattage light bulbs or ceramic heat emitters will heat a small cage to extremely high temperatures in a very short period of time.
Where the owner lives
Most snakes and lizards do not require heating during the summer in South Africa. I live in Johannesburg and my Rat snake, King Snake, Leopard Gecko, Boa Constrictor heaters are turned on during the winter and turned off in summer. Should there be cold spell during summer the heaters are turned on. In summer my Bearded Dragon’s heater is only turned on for a few hours per day.
Always use a thermometer
Always monitor the temperature of your reptiles cage using a thermometer