You know reptiles are cold-blooded animals, so it makes sense you need to turn up the heat on these exotic pets. Wait just a minute. Did you say you want cooked reptiles for supper? Reptile heating is not about making your pets hot, it is all about knowing the needs of your species of reptile and providing the proper temperature.
Reptile heating is not as simple as just hitting the right temperature, either. Different reptiles live in different parts of a reptile enclosure and learn to heat their bodies in different ways. Some reptiles want to bask under an ultraviolet spotlight and heat their bodies up to a nice toasty temperature. Other reptiles need to heat their bodies through an under tank heater which heats the substrate and rocks in the tank.
What is the perfect heat for a reptile?
Let us take a look at a couple examples to give you a better idea of what you might need.
The Leopard Gecko is one of the most common lizards kept by hobbyists. They are considered an easy to care for the lizard. Their heating requirements though are pretty specific. Ideally, your Leopard Gecko should be getting their heat through their belly. This means providing them with an under tank heater and heated stones. You may still want to provide them with a heating light. Many owners like to use a red-light at night to provide heat, while still allowing the Leopard Gecko to have the proper lighting for night time.
Aquatic Turtles, on the other hand, require a completely different style of heating. They are going to need a heater which heats the water to start with. Then they require a full-spectrum heating light during the daytime to provide them with light and heat for basking.
Lizards which are climbers require more care for maintaining proper air temperature, normally provided by heating lamps. They are not commonly down on the floor of the reptile enclosure to absorb heat from an under tank heater. They are found upon the branches and in the plants in their cage or tank. You will need full spectrum lights during the day, and ultraviolet or red lights for the nighttime hours.
How to avoid overheating
It is not just a matter of choosing the right heating systems but making sure they are running with a thermostat or you monitor thermometers regularly. Overheating your lizards or reptiles is just as dangerous, if not more dangerous, than keeping them too cool. An overheated reptile will dehydrate and die rapidly.
Remember to watch the temperature over time
Keep in mind your perfect setup today with heating lights must still be regularly monitored. As bulbs age, they lose their heat-producing capability slowly. You may discover after a few months the temperature has dropped several degrees. Reptile heating is not complicated, it just takes a little time to make sure you match the proper heating sources to your reptile, then follow up with good monitoring. With just a little effort in your initial setup, you will have a system which is easy to maintain for many years.