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Old 06-24-18, 01:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Light in enclosure?

I have my retic in an animal plastics enclosure with a normal light. Well he keeps knocking the light off while he cruises around as he gets bigger. Do I really even need it? Who here has a light for their cage?
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Old 06-24-18, 03:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Light in enclosure?

Why do you think a snake (or any other reptile) wouldn’t need any light? There are keeper here in the forum who approach reptile keeping with a minimalistic approach, (in relation) small(er) enclosures, paper or aspen as substrate, some kind of heat source. Some of them might tell you your snake doesn’t need light, since it has been proven by numerous breeders that snakes can live and reproduce under those conditions. For me this is just prove under which suboptimal conditions snakes can still survive and reproduce.

Ask yourself what a snake or a lizard does in its natural habitat. It will seek a well lit place with direct sunlight to warm up and after reaching the preferred temperature it will move into another place with lower light or even shade for lower temperature, in short it will thermo regulate. A lot of snakes are diurnal, active during daytime, why should they avoid light? Even nocturnal snakes can be found basking in the sun during daytime, the typical cliché of a ball python hiding in a termite burrow is such a typical myth, even the most lazy ball python will see daylight on occasion.

I use light(s) for each and any of my enclosures, for smaller enclosures only small 35W halogen spotlights, for larger enclosures metal halide lights and sometimes additional LED lights. Each enclosure has at least one spot light as heat source and provides a basking spot, I don’t use any other heat source. The spotlight creates a local hotspot at the brightest spot in the enclosure, since the snake will expect the brightest spot to be the warmest place as well. Add the fact that all snakes (at least the snakes already examined) can see different colors and a lot of them can even see in the UV spectrum of the light it should be obvious to provide them with a full spectrum light and additional UV. This can be considered as a form of enrichment for the snake, but the more I read about the subject the more I am convinced that not providing light comes close to abusing your snakes.
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Old 06-24-18, 03:19 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Light in enclosure?

I feel it's important to give even my snakes full spectrum lighting on a day/night schedule and have improved fall feeding when they start to drop off earlier than usual for the winter. Some of mine have UV where possible but I don't make it a priority to include if it doesn't work for the enclosures since UV will not go through glass and plastic well, if at all. I don't have any enclosures without an area of clear top though that I can just leave space for a small light outside the enclosure or light the entire room with long fluorescent strips above the group of enclosures. I plan to use rope lights or other very flat LED strips in some newer plans so that it can be secured easily with very low profile inside the enclosure for simplicity of stacking.

I know lots of people don't light them and even use bin racks so they don't have clear fronts to get room light. It may be that I have more northern species with no tropicals now so they all respond to seasonal changes as well as being evolved to day/night differences beyond light. Especially my midwestern bulls. The ones with UV I use mostly halogens to provide some heat so they also get a day/night temp change.
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