Reptiles and Amphibians
Habitat Guide: Heating, Lighting, and Humidity Requirements.
In the wild, reptiles have just the right heat, humidity, and light for their particular species — nature sees to that. But in captivity, the animals rely on us for these essentials.
As keepers of these amazing animals, our responsibility is to provide everything our pets need to thrive. One of the essential elements is heat. Unlike mammals, which can generate their own body heat, reptiles are ectothermic; they obtain their body temperature from the environment. In the wild, reptiles choose areas to dwell based on the temperature. If they need warmth, they will move to a sunny area. If they need to cool down, they will find shade or burrow into the ground.
Supplemental heat is required if you’re going to keep desert species, including bearded dragons.
Heat is particularly crucial for reptiles. As with all animals, a reptile must move its muscles to catch prey or run from danger and digest its food. Heat is also vital for reptiles to reproduce, efficiently circulate their blood, and maintain a healthy immune system.
The amount of heat a reptile needs depends on the species. Reptiles from the desert (including popular pet species such as bearded dragons and leopard geckos) and tropics (such as anoles, green iguanas, and Chinese water dragons) need more warmth than a reptile from a temperate area (among them, skinks and corn snakes). While all reptiles need a warm environment, the desert and tropical reptiles are happiest when basking in higher temperatures than their cousins from more temperate climes.