Is a Reptile Heating Mat Right For Your Pet?

Is a Reptile Heating Mat Right For Your Pet?


Cold-blooded reptiles, like snakes and lizards, need a steady source of heat in their enclosures to thrive. The most popular way to provide that heat is with a reptile heating mat. These can be found in virtually any pet store, under multiple brand names and wattages. They’re a staple of many reptile rooms and are touted as the best way to heat most popular pet reptiles, including ball pythons, corn snakes, leopard geckos, and more.

But do these heating pads really deserve the pedestal they’ve been put on? Or are there better options for your pets?

What is a Reptile Heating Mat?

A reptile heating mat provides a constant source of warmth in a vivarium that can be moved to and from by your pet. They’re usually used in conjunction with a thermostat to help your reptile maintain a consistent temperature, but they can also be the sole source of heat in certain terrariums.

Creating the Perfect Habitat: Reptile Heating Mats 101

Heat mats can also be used as a base for a variety of other heating and lighting fixtures. This includes a UVB/UVA light fixture and a heat lamp, which helps create a gradient of temperatures that mimics your pet’s instinctive behavior in nature: When they need more warmth, they’ll move over to the basking area, when they’re hot, they’ll head for some shade or burrow into the ground.

In any case, you should always use a thermostat with a reptile heating mat to ensure your pet doesn’t overheat. And just in case you’re worried about hearing a “click” from your thermostat when it changes temp, remember that this is a physical switch moving, not some nefarious computer program doing its job!

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