Reptiles don’t warm up from the inside like humans, cats and dogs do. Since reptiles are ectothermic or “cold-blooded”, they need warm and external heat to warm up in order to regulate their body temperature. Within their tank, our scaly friends need both warm and cool areas so that they can self-regulate their body temperature.
In nature, reptiles move into the sunlight or into a shady spot, as needed. By copying nature in aquariums, you need to have the heat and shade in increasing or decreasing degrees. Then, your reptile can choose between hot and cold. Place heat bulbs on a metal screen atop of a glass aquarium. You can also place an additional heat source underneath the tank.
Do not place a heat source such as, heated rocks for inside a cage because your pet can burn itself.
Setting your temperature in your tank so that it is warmer on one end than the other end is called setting a gradient temperature. Then, you can let your reptile decide where it is most comfortable. Click on the link to find out how to do this. How To Set Up a Gradient Temperature
Know What Your Reptile Likes
Temperature requirements vary for each type of reptile so you need a complete understanding of your reptile. If your reptile likes to hide, have shelters at opposite ends of the tank. If your reptile likes trees, then, have trees as an accessory.
You can overheat your pet if the temperature is too high. Conversely, when the temperature is too low, your pet won’t be able to digest its food. Plus, each season you need to change your bulbs!
Have A Good Thermometer
Thermometers help you mimic nature. Digital probe thermometers are commonly used. Also, be certain that your thermometer is placed correctly inside the reptiles habitat. The probe itself should be placed under the heat lamp, in the spot where your pet usually basks. If your thermometer placement is correct and it is still reading too cool – get a higher wattage heat bulb or add an additional heat source.
All life on Earth need sunlight for vitamin D, which absorbs calcium. Lights also enable your reptile to see. Reptiles can see more colors than humans. Some snakes can sense longer wavelengths of 5,000 nano-meters. Humans can only see the wavelengths between 400 nano-meters (purple) and 700 nano-meters (red).
A reptile’s brain needs the sun’s light to adjust its body’s daily and nightly rhythms. The reptile perceives the position of the sun to the earth, the seasons, the sun’s movement across the sky and the changes in color as the day turns to night. Optimally, artificial light copies the sun’s light.
Simulating, as closely as possible, nature is the goal for maintaining your reptile’s home. Carefully monitor its specific diet, climate and lights. Having a home for your scaly friend to bask in the heat and light will protect it from predators and human encroachment.