No matter what type of small animal you own, your pet will benefit from some sort of heating appliance. Even if you own a mammal, such as a hamster or a mouse, keeping its habitat warm will help prevent hibernation and encourage digestive health.
If you own a reptile, amphibian, or another ectothermic, or cold-blooded, animal, a reptile heating pad will be necessary to help your pet maintain the body temperature it needs to survive. But are reptile heating pads safe for your pet and your household?
Heat-generating appliances are always a little concerning, even if they only operate at low temperatures. Reptile Heating pads run at lower temperatures than heat-generating bulbs and are therefore considered the safest type of heater for your pet's tank.
That doesn't mean they're no-risk, however; we recommend carefully reading the instructions and installing rubber feet beneath your tank to ensure maximum safe usage of your reptile heating pad.
Reptile heating pads are a must-have for any small pet habitat. They don’t give off any light, so you can leave them on without disrupting your pet's sleep cycle. They're also typically made to be waterproof, so you don't have to worry about excess water from the tank causing issues. Let's look at which heating pads may be best for you.
Every animal has different needs, so before you consider getting a reptile heating pad, make sure that this kind of heating source would work for your pet. Here are some things to consider when looking for the best heating pad to fit your pet's habitat.
Another easy way to figure out which size mat to buy is by looking at the wattage. For every 20 gallons a tank can hold, you need about eight watts of power in your heating pad. So for a tank between 30 and 40 gallons, look for about 16 watts. For 50 to 60 gallons, look for around 24 watts.
You will need to regulate the heat inside your tank to keep cold-blooded pets from overheating or from freezing. Here are a couple of things to consider when deciding how to regulate the temperature of your pet's habitat.
Some reptile heating pads come with a built-in temperature knob. While these won't give you exact numbers on the ambient temperature of your tank, you can pair them with a thermometer or temperature gun to adjust the heat of your new heating pad until it best fits your pet's needs.
A thermostat is an even more refined method with which you can control the temperature of your pet's habitat. It allows you to manually set and maintain the temperature of your heating pad, which is extremely important for more sensitive animals.
However, most reptile heating pads do not come with a thermostat, which means that you might have to buy one separately.
While a temperature knob or thermostat works to control the ambient temperature of your pet's environment, you may need a temperature gun to ensure that the reptile heating mat itself hasn't gotten too hot for your pet. A temperature gun, or an infrared thermometer, measures the temperature of an object via laser and thermal radiation.
Like us, our pets can get burns from touching things that are too hot and reptiles especially are at risk, as they move pretty slowly. This is why a temperature gun would be helpful with keeping their environment at the right levels.
According to Petco, reptiles need their environment to be kept at a temperature ranging from 70 - 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Other experts recommend keeping heating pad temperatures below the threshold of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If you invest in a temperature gun, it should be easier to maintain a safe basking zone for your pet.
Adhesive pads are great if you have no intention of changing layouts. They’re also good for burrowing animals. Since having a heating pad under the tank might make things too hot for animals that burrow, an adhesive pad allows you to stick it to the side of the tank instead, which gives animals more control over their temperature.
Non-adhesive heating pads, on the other hand, are easier to transfer around and allow for more airflow than adhesive pads. These are better for animals that require lower temperatures like frogs and geckos. Of course, you can always use an adhesive pad without removing the seal, too.
When shopping for a reptile heating pad, it's best to consider the size, wattage, and temperature adjustability of the unit you want. Below are our top nine picks for reptile heating pads.
ReptiTherm Under Tank Heater
Waterproof Reptile Heat Mat
Adjustable Temperature Reptile Heat Pad
Reptile Heating Pad
Under Tank Heater
Heat Mat Terrarium Heater
Reptile Heat Pad
Reptile Heat Pad
Premium Heat Mat
A Popular Heater That Can Raise Tank Temperatures
Powerful, With a Handy Temperature Knob
A Flexible Pad for Indoor Use
Creates a Consistent Hot Spot for Reptiles
A Pad and Thermostat Set Perfect as a Secondary Heat Source
Provides Consistent, Low Heater for Reptiles
Use as a Decently Effective Supplementary Heater
An Acceptable Secondary Heat Source With Sturdy Adhesive
Low-Wattage for Belly Baskers
|Size||7.1 x 11 in.||16 x 11 in.||6 x 8 in. to 18.5 x 8.5 in.||6 x 8 to 8 x 12 in.||8 x 6 in.||6 x 8 in.||4 x 7 to 8 x 18 in.||6 x 8 in. to 9.5 x 17.5 in.||4 x 5 to 29 x 11 in.|
|Watts||8 watts||20 watts||8 to 16 watts, depending on size||8 Watts||8 to 24 watts, depending on size||8 watts||24 watts||8 to 24 watts, depending on size||2 to 35 watts, depending on size|
|Temperature control||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||No||Yes||Yes, with the exception of the smallest size||No|
|Size||7.1 x 11 in.|
|Size||16 x 11 in.|
|Size||6 x 8 in. to 18.5 x 8.5 in.|
|Watts||8 to 16 watts, depending on size|
|Size||6 x 8 to 8 x 12 in.|
Heater & Thermostat Combo Set
|Size||8 x 6 in.|
|Watts||8 to 24 watts, depending on size|
|Size||6 x 8 in.|
|Size||4 x 7 to 8 x 18 in.|
|Size||6 x 8 in. to 9.5 x 17.5 in.|
|Watts||8 to 24 watts, depending on size|
|Temperature control||Yes, with the exception of the smallest size|
|Size||4 x 5 to 29 x 11 in.|
|Watts||2 to 35 watts, depending on size|
Setting up your new reptile heating pad can be daunting. Check out this informative video by Zoo Med for a step-by-step guide!
How to Set Up a Reptile Heating Pad:
Additional steps if applying to the bottom of your tank:
If you're looking for some products you can spoil your other critters with, check out these handy lists from our pet section!
Author: Jacqueline Oshiro
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