Snakes love to bask in the sun during the day. As a reptile owner, you might wonder if snakes also need light at night to keep them as safe and comfortable as possible.
Snakes don’t need a light to be on at night. They benefit from a day and night cycle, which means they need light during the day and darkness during the night. If the light stays on during the night, the snake could become stressed, lethargic, and may stop eating.
Read on to learn more about the specifics that go with giving snakes light at night. They need warmth and illumination to survive, but only during certain times of the day.
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Why Snakes Do Not Need a Light at Night
Snakes do not need light at night because they benefit most from a solid day and night cycle. Light would only confuse them and make an extended daytime. Your snake will struggle to feel comfortable with this environment, as there is no distinct difference between active and restful periods.
Most snakes do just fine without light at night. This choice will keep them healthy and active inside their habitat without extra stress factors. Light is necessary but can be disturbing for the snake if used wrong. They won’t die, but other issues may ensue.
If you do not give your snake a proper night and day cycle, several negative impacts can occur. They might become stressed within their enclosure since sleeping will be harder for them, especially if they don’t have hides that offer spots that are completely dark.
Their whole system will get confused since snakes and other reptiles associate light with heat and no light with “time to hide and sleep”.
This stress can then lead to a poor appetite and lethargy, which is a lack of energy. This trait will be visible within your snake’s activity level.
To avoid these negative impacts, turn your snake’s light off at night. Each snake needs a different amount of illumination a day, which we will discuss later on. Giving your snake the proper light exposure is vital for their health.
Do Snakes Need A Heat Lamp At Night?
There is a lot of conflicting information online about whether or not you should leave a heat lamp on at night for snakes. Although snakes benefit from heat at night if the temperature gets too low, the heat lamp is not the best method to keep them warm when nightfall arrives.
To mimic their natural environment as best as possible, turn off the heat lamp at night. Other alternatives will not emit as much light. Heat lamp light has the potential to confuse your snake, so utilize a secondary option for the best results.
During the day, you can use multiple heat sources to keep your snake warm. During the night, you should transition to one to avoid confusing your snake with the extra light. Warmth and illumination do not need to occur together in a habitat.
Heat Lamp Alternatives for The Night
If you want to provide a heat alternative at night that is different from a heat lamp, there are several options you can choose from in the reptile keeping world. All of them are excellent choices and are affordable options.
The Worst Option: Red Lights
Infrared heat lamps operate in the same way as regular heat lamps, but they do not give off a red glow. These are better for your snake if you decide to leave them on at night. Still, we don’t recommend them as red light can be bad for reptiles since it can penetrate their skin.
Under-tank heating pads warm up the base of your habitat, providing a warm and cozy hangout for your snake. These need to be applied to the outside of your tank to warm the area.
These are a great option! Combined with a thermostat, you can regulate the temperature easily.
Ceramic Heat Emitters
Finally, there are ceramic heaters. These warm the space without a light source, so your snake won’t be kept up at night by light emitting from the device.
These sources work in conjunction with a heat lamp. When night comes, turn off the heat lamp and prioritize one of these items as a way of warmth for your snake.
Ceramic heat emitters are loved by all reptile keepers that have tried them out. They are cheap, they work without problems, and they are not complicated to use. We recommend getting this ceramic heat emitter here.
For smaller tanks, the 60W version will do it.
If you got a bigger tank, the 100W version might be a better choice.
Common Pet Snakes and Their Light and Temperature Recommendations
|Common Pet Snakes||Do They Need a Light?||How Much Light a Day?||Temperature at Night||Temperature During the Day|
|Ball Python||No, but it’s recommended for environment imitation.||12 Hours||75 F||75-80 F|
|Rosy Boa||No, but it’s recommended for environment imitation.||Varies, as they spend the day in hiding||72 F||75-80 F|
|Corn Snake||No, but it’s recommended for environment imitation.||12 Hours||68 F||78-80 F|
|Red-Tailed Boa||Yes, they need a light.||12 Hours||70-80 F||80-85 F|
|Green Tree Python||No, but it’s recommended for environment imitation.||12 Hours||70-80 F||78-88 F|
|California Kingsnake||No, but it’s recommended for environment imitation.||10 Hours||72 F||88-90 F|
|Gopher Snake||Yes, they need a light.||14 Hours||72 F||85-88 F|
|Western Hognose Snake||Yes, they need a light.||14 Hours||75 F||75-85 F|
|Milk Snake||No, but it’s recommended for environment imitation.||8 Hours||75-82 F||80-85 F|
|Dumeril’s Boa||No, but it’s recommended for environment imitation.||11 Hours||70-75 F||80-85 F|
|Garter Snake||Yes, they need a light.||10 Hours||73 F||85-88 F|
|Rubber Boa||No, but it’s recommended for environment imitation.||Natural Cycle||50-70 F||75-85 F|
|Kenyan Sand Boa||No, but it’s recommended for environment imitation.||10 Hours||80 F||85-95 F|
|Carpet Python||Yes, they need a light.||11 Hours||70-75 F||80-85 F|
|African House Snake||Yes, they need a light.||13 Hours||70-75 F||85-90 F|
|Woma Python||No, but it’s recommended for environment imitation.||12 Hours||70-75 F||85-90 F|
|Rough Green Snake||Yes, they need a light.||10 Hours||70-75 F||80-85 F|
|Children’s Python||No, but it’s recommended for environment imitation.||12 Hours||70-75 F||88-90 F|
|Brazilian Rainbow Boa||Yes, they need a light.||10 Hours||75-80 F||85-90 F|
|Burmese Python||No, but it’s recommended for environment imitation.||14 Hours||78-84 F||84-92 F|
Understanding Your Snake
To give your snake the most comfortable habitat possible, you should know the temperatures they’re most comfortable in, the amount of light they need, and what warmth they prefer. This knowledge will permit you to give your snake the best life.
Snakes prefer a day and night cycle they can count on at all times. If you give this to your reptile, they are sure to enjoy their time with you.