Reptiles use light in different ways, but no matter the species, all of them rely on the sun for warmth, either directly or indirectly. Unlike mammals, reptiles cannot warm their bodies from within, so having external heat sources is crucial for their survival.
In case you ever wondered why we see snakes, lizards and turtles basking under the sun in the wild, now you know that they are simply soaking up the heat. The cool part is that they use both the sun and the warm surface they are sitting on to get the job done.
By increasing their body temperature, reptiles maintain a good digestion and keep other internal processes functioning properly. Some of them use sunlight for the UV rays, as they need them to produce vitamin D3 within their bodies.
This is a key element for the proper absorption of calcium, and without exposure to UVB light, they would not be able to properly develop or they could suffer from a wide array of health issues, including metabolic bone disorder.
Choosing the right light
There are many available options out of which you can choose in order to provide the proper lighting and heating needs. The challenge is creating a system that both fits the needs of the animal and the owner’s budget.
Before you go and purchase your new pet, you might want to read up on the animal’s specific needs, since there are significant differences among species. You could research online guides, ask questions at the pet store and try to get everything checked and ready before you bring your new friend at home.
One simple thing to keep in mind is that a light timer is an easy and inexpensive way to automate the on/off cycle of the various gadgets you will need. Use it to schedule turning a device on and off at certain times of the day or night. That way you can determine what times the lights and heat turn on and off for the day.
This solution is a lot simpler than remembering to turn a switch on and off every single day. Some exotic species are quite dependent on having the proper light and dark cycles and timers are an easy solution to meet this particular need.
Snakes can live long and healthy lives with only a bit of light coming in through the window, or from the light in the room itself. They do benefit from the daytime – nighttime cycle, but they don’t rely on UVB exposure. Lizards and turtles require a higher level of UVB exposure.
Although snakes are more adaptable, just like lizards, they do require daily exposure to UVB if you want them to live a long and healthy life.