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Old 06-25-18, 04:35 PM   #6 (permalink)
Join Date: Sep-2012
Posts: 321
Re: Snake Heat "light"

Now I am confused. Your first statement
Originally Posted by craigafrechette View Post
Snakes don't require a light cycle, and actually thrive better without lots of light.
but you provide your snakes with a day/night cycle and natural light?? Why if they don’t need it?

Originally Posted by craigafrechette View Post
Snakes seek out sun lit places for the temps, not the light.
Any reference for this statement?

Originally Posted by craigafrechette View Post
Since we are able to provide the temps without the use of bright light, we don't need to add additional light. My snakes are all in display enclosures and receive natural light during daylight hours.

The comment about depriving my snakes the use of their eyes is just silly.
As I said before, snakes associate light with heat (or vice versa), so they will initially seek heat at the brightest spot in your enclosure. They might be able to learn that there is another (darker) place actually warmer than that, but this not what they would expect.

Snakes seek sun lit places not only for warmth, but the sunlight has also several physiological effects. For your information a few papers about this subject...

Roman Muryn: 01 Temperature and Heat #09: Sunlight Heat and Basking, 2018

"Here are some reasons for basking, all of which may need some or all of the three kinds of
wavelength which we discussed above.
1. Sheer pleasure.
2. Circadian cycle excitation through the parietal eye.
3. D3 capture through UV irradiation.
4. Increase metabolism through warmth capture
5. Use UV and IR for managing Fungal and Bacterial infections
6. Raise temperature to manage viral infections.
7. Use NIR for wound healing
8. Use NIR for deeper heat penetration and heat sinking
9. Use NIR for internal egg and neonate incubation Esp viviparous animals)
10. Digesting food
11. Drying and heating to aid in shedding
12. Parasite management.
You can see from the above list that it is not only the heat element that is important; it is the quality of total light that we must get right. […]"

NIR = Near Infra-Red (NIR). NIR starts with just-visible dark red at about 650nm and extends to 1400nm.

Dennis Oonincx, Jeroen van Leeuwen: Evidence-Based Reptile Housing and Nutrition, 2017

"Visible light (400–700 nm) has several effects on reptile behavior. First, light intensity is used as an indication of temperature; higher intensities are associated with higher temperatures. This has been shown for basking species, such as anoles and turtles, but also in the nocturnal tokay gecko.2–5 Light during the night can, however, suppress activity, as was shown in adult prairie rattlesnakes. […]"

I don’t want to quote the whole paper, the authors describe the usage and the effects of visible light, UV and infra-red light.

Dr Henry Brames: Aspects of Light and Reptile Immunity, 2006

Interesting paper, it covers aspects of reptile immune metabolism, but it also shows how the perception of colors differs if a spectrum of light is missing (like not providing full spectrum light).

Mark J. Acierno et Al.: Effects of ultraviolet radiation on plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 concentrations in corn snakes (Elaphe guttata), 2008

This paper shows that providing UVB increases the plasma concentration of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 in Corn Snakes significantly compared to a control group that were not exposed to UVB.

In addition just a few examples about enrichment (of which light is certainly one key factor)

Gordon M. Burghardt: Environmental enrichment and cognitive complexity in reptiles and amphibians: Concepts, review, and implications for captive populations

Meredith J. Bashaw et al: Does enrichment improve reptile welfare? Leopard geckos (Eublepharis macularius) respond to five types of environmental enrichment


There are many more reports (peer reviewed papers as well as anecdotal reports). If you are interested, you should consider to join the facebook group “Advancing Herpetological Husbandry”, this group has proven to be a wealth of interesting information for me and the file section is a real treasure trove.

So I suggest you do some reading before you tell me “snakes don’t need light and don’t benefit from it” again…
1,0 Lampropeltis triangulum campbelli, 1,2 Gonyosoma oxycephalum, 1,2 Philodryas baroni, 1,2 Spilotes pullatus, 2,1 Spilotes sulphureus, 0,1 Gonyosoma boulengeri, 1,1 Zamenis longissimus, 0,1 Malpolon sp., 1,1 Malpolon monspessulanus
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