Using Heat Mats For Reptiles

Heat Mat

The standard piece of equipment used to heat a vivarium is a heat mat.

They have been designed specifically for use with reptiles. Heat mats produce a gentle heat that under normal use will not burn your animal.

Technically they produce ultra long wavelength infra red heat. They work very much like the sun, with the rays heating objects they strike, but retaining a lower air temperature.

Using The Heat Mat


The reason that heat mats are so popular are that they are cheaper and more efficient to run than other heating systems. Because of their gentle heat source they do not require any form of guard plus their life span is much higher than ceramic bulbs and, heat bulbs.
Heat Mat Usage


The heat mat should be placed in the hot zone of the vivarium. It should cover approximately 1/3 of the floor space and definitely no more than 1/2, as you must allow your pet to move to a cooler area if it is getting over heated.

The heat mat is either mounted on the side of the tank, or on the bottom. If you are housing a burrowing species, then it is recommended that you mount the heat mat vertically on the back of the cage.

If you are positioning the mat on the base of the tank, you must ensure that the substrate is not too thick. This is because most substrate has good insulating properties and this could cause the heat mat to overheat with the added problem of heat not getting into the tank.

Glass Vivarium

If you are using a glass or plastic tank then the heat mat is placed outside the tank. If you are positioning it at the bottom then the heat mat should sit on a polystyrene base the same dimensions as the base of tank. The tank is then place on top. The polystyrene provides insulation directing the heat upwards towards the tank.

Wooden Vivarium

Wooden vivariums require that the heat mat is placed inside the tank. This means that you must be careful that the heat mat does not get damaged, either during installation or later by your pet. If in doubt it is safer to mount it on the side. You must ensure that the heat mat is securely fixed by using a good quality adhesive tape.

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