2001-Wed Sep 20 14:24:10 EDT 2017
Vetstreet. All rights reserved. Powered by Brightspot.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
When cold weather comes, especially in areas that experience significant climate changes with the seasons, there are some steps reptile owners should take to help ensure their pets stay happy and healthy. With a few minor differences, the concerns for snakes, lizards, turtles and tortoises are the same.
First, all of these coldblooded animals, whose body temperatures adjust to the environment around them, require supplemental heat for proper digestion, immune function and metabolism. This is especially true when temperatures drop.
A reptile who may not need additional heat from an over-the-tank heat bulb or an under-the-tank heating pad during the summer may need these added heat sources during winter. This is especially true for certain reptiles, such as tortoises, which require high temperatures to remain healthy. The best way to determine whether your reptile’s cage temperature is adequate is to use an infrared laser temperature gun to test areas in the tank where your pet hangs out. Different species require different optimal temperatures;with a temperature gun, you can get an accurate idea of what your pet’s tank temperature is and compare it to the recommended temperature range for the species. The best source for recommended temperature ranges for specific species is your veterinarian. If you do not have a temperature gun, at a minimum you should have thermometers that stick on the inside of the tank so that you can monitor the tank for temperature changes.
Any heat source should be plugged into a thermostat that is set to turn the source on and off in order to maintain temperatures within the prescribed range. This helps limit the risk of burning the pet as well as reduces the risk of setting an electrical fire. So-called hot rocks — fake rocks that contain a heating element — should not be used with reptiles. These items cannot adequately heat a tank, and many reptiles lack the necessary sensation in their abdomens to prevent a burn if they sit on them for too long. Reptiles who live in water, such as turtles, must also have their tank water temperatures reassessed when the air temperature drops in winter. If the water temperature drops too low for your pet’s particular species, you need to add additional water heaters.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Bartonella is a type bacteria that can be transmitted to cats, dogs and humans from exposure to infected fleas and…
Want to give your pup yummy, low-calorie treats? We’ve got the skinny on which foods are OK to feed him.
Not sure about food puzzles? Our veterinarian reveals why the payoff for your pet is well worth any extra work.
With these simple dental care tips, you can help keep your canine’s adorable smile shiny and healthy for life.
The friendly and inquisitive LaPerm has an easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.