Online Veterinary Education Library
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Changes in the outdoor temperature at every season will require you to make seasonal adjustments to the temperature and humidity controls for your reptile or amphibian. Because the tolerance ranges for herptiles are small, you’ll need to keep track of the temperatures in your enclosure and make adjustments each season to make sure your animal remains comfortable year round.
Herptiles are also light sensitive. Depending on their natural activity cycle (diurnal, crepuscular or nocturnal), you may need to adjust their cycles for daylight savings time. Simply reset the timers on your lamps to match daylight hours with your pet’s daylight activity schedule. Herptiles will adjust to the one-hour change without much difficulty.
Given the extreme sensitivity most reptiles and amphibians have to temperature and lighting, owning one of these animals as a pet demands that you be prepared with power back-up systems in case of power failure. A power outage of one day could be enough to cause hypothermia (excessively cold body temperature) or hyperthermia (excessively hot body temperature) for some herptiles. You may want to build an insulation layer around your enclosure to help maintain heat in case of power failure. For smaller animals, the heat packs commonly used for camping trips can supplement environmental conditions to keep your pet warm during a power failure. However, most pet owners are prepared with either a propane heater or back-up generator to ensure their pet’s safety. Surge protectors are also recommended as standard equipment for use with regular heating and lighting elements.
Some reptiles are too large or anxious for travel. Other smaller creatures may be included in your travel plans, but should only occur if necessary. Changes in environment, activity cycles, temperature and lighting are particularly stressful for reptiles and amphibians. If you have to travel with your pet, you will need to recreate its natural environment as closely as possible. That means you must be able to control the temperature, light and humidity in whatever traveling cage you use. For many people, this makes traveling with a herptile impractical — and pet sitters invaluable! If a move is mandatory, be sure to talk to your veterinarian and read up on techniques that can make the travel as stress-free as possible for your pet.