February 1, 2015

Heat and Light

Heating and lighting are intimately related for many reptile species, especially day-active lizards like bearded dragons, iguanas, and chameleons. They get their heat directly from the sun and need a similar setup in the enclosure.

The best way to provide heat and light to these basking species is with overhead lighting. The Zilla Heat & UVB Basking Fixture combines a high-heat Mini Halogen bulb with another socket that holds a compact UVB bulb, such as the Zilla Desert or Tropical UVB Fluorescent Bulbs.

Most basking reptiles, including almost all turtles and tortoises, require UVB light (ultraviolet B waves) in order to properly absorb calcium from their food. Without this type of light, basking species are prone to get metabolic bone disease.

There are bulbs that provide both heat and the necessary UVB rays that sun-loving herps need. Many hobbyists prefer these bulbs because they eliminate the necessity of using two bulbs, an incandescent one for heat and a fluorescent one for UVB. The Exo Terra Sunray provides for both those needs and comes in wattages from 35 to 70 watts. The Exo Terra Solar Glo and the Zoo Med PowerSun UV also provide heat and UVB and come in higher wattages.

For keepers with smaller cages or otherwise in need of a smaller lighting fixture, there is the new Zilla Halogen Mini Dome. The mini halogen lamps use up to half the energy of incandescent lamps and are smaller than bulky light domes. It is lightweight and clips securely to the terrarium screen.

Warm Nights

For night heating, hobbyists need to provide heat to their animals in such a way that it won’t disturb the day night cycle. This can be done with undertank heaters, red bulbs or ceramic heat emitters.

Ceramic heaters may be a hard sell because of their high price so you will have to educate customers about how long they last—often more than five years. They work well as a nighttime heat source for high-heat animals or large enclosures.

Several manufacturers make ceramic heat emitters in a wide range of wattages. These include Fluker’s Ceramic Heat Emitter, Zilla Ceramic Heat Emitters and Zoo Med ReptiCare Ceramic Heat Emitters. Because they generate so much heat, these products require a fixture that has a porcelain socket. Other sockets can melt creating a fire hazard, which you should be sure to tell your customers. If you sell the emitters, be sure to have the right fixtures on hand as well. Zoo Med’s Wire Cage Clamp Lamp and Zilla’s Premium Reflector Dome will work with ceramic heat emitters.

Exo Terra’s Full Moon is a unique product that simulates natural moonlight, allowing nighttime viewing of animals with eye-catching décor. The moon-like surface of this item lights up at night when the regular terrarium lights go out. It’s great for nocturnal species, such as most frogs, geckos and many snakes.

It’s the Humidity

It’s no secret that most frogs require higher humidity than is found in the typical home. To generate the necessary humidity, offer your customers Zoo Med’s Repti Fogger or Exo Terra’s Fogger.

If your store carries a lot of high-humidity animals—chameleons, dart frogs, mantellas—check out the high-tech misting systems from MistKing. Their systems make it rain in multiple cages at once, making them ideal for stores and customers with large collections of humidity-loving herps.

Whenever keepers are using heating and humidifying devices, it’s important to monitor these conditions to ensure they are in the proper range for the species in question. Luckily, there are many thermometers and humidity gauges on the market to offer your customers.

Zilla offers the Digital Infrared Thermometer, which measures temperatures at a distance. The hobbyist points it at a spot in the cage and the thermometer almost instantly tell him or her the temperature of the basking site, hide box or any other spot in the cage—or even of the animal itself.

Additionally, Zoo Med offers the Dual Thermometer & Humidity Gauge and Exo Terra has the Combometer that keeps track of temperature and humidity.
There are heating, lighting and humidity options for every customer’s herps.

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