Changing Seasons Means Changing Bulbs for Cold-Blooded Pets

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.

What to Think About Before Getting a Lizard as a Pet

A number of lizards make great companion pets. Several types of reptiles are becoming more mainstream than ever before, especially the bearded dragon and certain types of geckos. However, you need to think about a few things before you select and bring your first lizard home.

Where Did It Come From?

You want your pet lizard to have been bred in captivity. That means it was not taken from the wild—whether legally or illegally. It’s much easier to care for a captive-bred lizard because they have fewer diseases. It is also good for that species to not have wild populations that have been harvested for pets.

Do You Want to Hold It?

Some lizards are excellent companions that don’t mind being held or even sitting on your lap, shoulder, etc. Other lizards should stay in their habitat with the lid tightly sealed, or they will make a quick getaway. Choose your lizard based on how much you want to be able to handle it.

How Interesting Do You Want Your Lizard to Be?

A lot of lizards pretty much do nothing but sun themselves and sleep except when it is feeding time. If you want an active pet that will provide you with entertainment, you have to choose your reptile wisely. Also, a larger tank will give your pet lizard more room to be active.

How Much Will It Cost?

The type of lizard will determine the initial cost of the animal itself, and will dictate the size tank needed as well as the kind of food. These factors can result in a significant variance in costs, so know your budget and choose your lizard accordingly. Also, make sure that there is a vet nearby who can care for your pet since many vets know very little about reptiles, or at least have little-to-no experience with them.

Your Pet’s Needs

Finally, you need to learn what your pet’s needs will be. From habitat to diet, every lizard is a little different. Make sure you have the time to commit to necessary tasks like tank cleaning. Plus, remember that some lizards live for decades, so you are making a long-term commitment.