You could try to keep your home at about the same temperature all year long, but you might notice that 70 in winter and 70 in the summer don’t always feel identical. If this happens to humans, and we’re warm-blooded, imagine what it feels like for cold-blooded pets.
These pets have absolutely no way to regulate their own temperature, which is why you probably have a heat lamp shining in from above your reptile terrarium. The bulbs for these lamps have different wattages and create varying amounts of heat. However, you may not be able to use the same bulb throughout the year, even if you keep your house temp regulated.
What Do Cold-Blooded Pets Need?
Depending on the type of pet you have, you may need to maintain a different temperature. Every reptile will have a high/low range in which they will stay healthy. Certain types of snakes are okay with as little as 85 degrees. If you have a bearded dragon, they will want a balmy 110 to hang out in.
How to Determine the Bulb to Use
Once you know your pet’s favorite temperature range, it is time to select the right bulb. This will depend on a number of factors.
- What is the ambient temperature in the room where the terrarium is located?
- Does the temperature change with the seasons? (For example, you may let it get a little colder in winter and warmer in summer to save electricity cost.)
- What is your current bulb’s heat output?
- How long have you been using the same bulb? (A UV bulb will not put out as much heat after half a year or so. Mark the date and change your bulb accordingly.)
- What does your terrarium thermometer read? (It should measure the temp where the heat lamp is pointed.)
The fact is that your thermometer will let you know whether the bulb is doing its job. If you need to increase the basking temp for your pet, you may need to replace an older and failing bulb or switch to a bulb with a higher wattage. As the seasons change, it is important to keep an eye on the variation in temperature, so your pet doesn’t catch a chill.