The temperatures are dropping and the days are getting shorter, which means winter is on the way! For most of the warm-blooded critters, this just means that the winter coats will be growing in. However, this is not the case for the cold-blooded animals, such as snakes and lizards. These animals and their surroundings need to be monitored closely during the winter months so that they do not become unhealthy and sick.
A reptile’s body temperature is determined by the environment. In warm months, their bodies mimic the heat. However, in cooler weather, their bodies cannot protect them from the cold. This means that during the winter (and fall, if the temperature is below average) they need extra help keeping their body temperature at a warm and healthy degree. To do this, monitor your pet’s habitat in terms of warmth and humidity. Each animal breed has different requirements for temperature and humidity levels, so check with your veterinarian about your specific type of reptile. You may need to invest in a heat lamp or heat panel to supply additional warmth, since direct sunlight is limited in the winter months.
Also during the cold months, reptiles will typically use more energy to try to stay warm. So check the water more than usual, as these animals can easily get dehydrated. You may also need to increase the amount of food your pet eats during these months, as its body will be burning more calories.
For other ideas on how to keep your reptile comfy this winter, consult with your veterinarian.
If you have cold-weather tips to share, please share them here with other pet lovers!