An Introduction To Reptile Electrics

Like keeping fish, the key to success when it comes to reptiles is creating them the right sort of environment that will mimic what they are used to in the wild and have evolved to thrive in. And this will typically involve controlling heating, lighting and humidity to create the right environment.

Reptile-keeping is therefore a hobby that requires investment in a range of electrical products to help you care for your pet and so in this article I’d like to examine some of the basic electrical equipment that may be required for your pet.

Reptile Heaters

Essential to many reptiles is the issue of heat. Quite simply reptiles will need artificial heat in most places apart from perhaps on warm, sunny days.

Depending on factors such as the size of your pet, the housing you are using and the species you are keeping this may be as simple as a low-cost reptile heat pad or could involve a high-powered infra-red heater for desert-dwelling reptiles.

Be aware that in most cases a thermostat will be required to ensure that your reptile cage is heated to the optimum temperature.

Reptile Thermostats

Your reptile heater will typically plugin into a thermostat which will control the temperature in your reptile cage. The average thermostat has a lead with a heat sensor on the end which you place into your reptile cage while the actual thermostat itself stays on the outside.

By turning the dial on the thermostat you can increase or decrease the temperature in your reptile cage.

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Reptile Lighting

Whilst some species – like most snakes – do not need artificial lighting, other species like lizards and tortoises generally will require artificial lighting. This isn’t just so that your reptile cage looks attractive (though it will help) but really serves two other even more important purposes.

Firstly, many reptiles have daily cycles and are used to basking in the sun during the day. Controlling day length to create a very obvious “night” and “day” will not make your pet feel happier but these photo-periods can be adjusted to bring reptiles into season and encourage them to breed.

However most importantly of all is the need by many reptiles to absorb ultraviolet light (UV) in order to provide them with vitamin D3. Without vitamin D, many reptiles will suffer from metabolic bone disease where the bones weaken and may break, joints swell and become solid and in some extreme cases lizards may lose their ability to even walk.

Reptile Misters

Most reptiles and amphibians will be perfectly happy without this electrical element. Reptiles from dry habitats typically will be happy with a dry environment and just a water bowl to drink from. Reptiles from the tropics are often happy to be sprayed from a plant spray gun on a regular basis.

But some species like treefrogs like a really moist environment and to help create this some reptile keepers use a mister which goes inside the cage and pumps out a fine spray of water droplets to keep the humidity in the cage up.

Reptile Monitors

To ensure your reptile is kept in the optimum environment it is essential to keep an eye on the environmental elements and so digital thermometers and hygrometers (for measuring heat and humidity respectively) should be used and monitored on a regular basis.

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In Closing

Whilst some snakes will be perfectly happy with just a heat pad, some reptiles such as bearded dragons may need a heat pad for background heat, and basking spot provided by a heat bulb, artificial UV lighting, a thermostat and a digital thermometer and hygrometer.

Be aware of this before you invest in buying a reptile. Be aware that all these electrics come at a cost – not just of buying them but also of running them consistently – and that you will need a lot of plugs available if you’re going to successfully keep a reptile as a pet.




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