COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – an update for our clients.


Calum has some winter care tips for your reptiles

December 7, 2022

Winter has officially arrived and whilst we can wrap up warm and enjoy a cosy night by the fire, the same cannot be said for our reptile pets. So, this month, our Vet Calum felt it was important to talk about how to keep your reptile healthy this winter and any signs to look out for that might mean a trip to the vet is needed.

If you’d like to chat to us about any of the content below or to make an appointment for reptile, you can book a check-up today.

How to keep your reptile healthy this winter

What temperature makes a healthy habitat?

It’s important to create an environment specific to the species of reptile you have, especially over the winter months. Our guide below can help in understanding what goals you should have for both heat and humidity this winter.


Average Temp required


Corn Snake

30-32 degrees Celsius


Leopard Gecko

32-38 degrees Celsius


Royal Python

32-38 degrees Celsius


Boa Constrictor

39-35 degrees Celsius


Humidity vs heat

According to Exotic Vet Calum, many reptiles don’t just need warmth, they also need the right air and can often get sick in dry conditions. Our homes get drier in the colder months which can sometimes lead to health conditions for reptile pets, especially some species of snakes. Snakes can need between 70%-90% humidity versus reptiles like Leopard Geckos who need between 30%-40%.

You can increase the humidity with substrates that hold moisture well such as Orchid Bark (aka Reptile Bark), Cypress Mulch, and Coconut Husk (both fine particle and chunky types). It’s also useful to mist the vivarium and the substrate manually should your home be drier air than average.

Reptiles can become sick if the humidity is too high as well as too low, so it is worth looking into a humidity gauge to make sure that both the temperature and humidity levels are right for the species you have.

Wooden vs glass vivarium’s

Whilst glass set ups are more popular for a variety of reasons including being able to see your reptile, these can be less efficient in terms of heat and humidity regulation.

Glass on the other hand provides a naturally more humid environment because wood will absorb moisture and glass cannot.

Each species of reptile will have different response to the two types of vivariums. Our team in Denny, have put together a quick guide below.

Bearded dragons

Wooden vivarium

Leopard geckos

Glass vivarium

Crested geckos

Glass vivarium

Corn snakes

Glass or wooden vivarium

Milk snakes

Glass or wooden vivarium


Wooden vivarium

Heat Mats and bulbs

Start the winter season off by checking the kit you have and identifying any faults or areas for improvement. For example.

  1. Checking if bulbs need to be changed
  2. Consider upgrading the bulbs to a higher wattage if you live in a particularly cold house
  3. Checking heat mats are working and in good condition
  4. Reviewing the location of the vivarium, for example could there be a naturally warmer spot in your home where it might be more suitable for your reptile to live?
  5. Invest in a good thermometer and humidity gauge, or make sure your existing tool is in good working order
  6. Review your substrate choices and make sure it is creating the ideal conditions for the species
  7. Review the choice of plants inside the set up to make sure they are optimising and not negatively impacting the environment

DIY support

There are plenty of ways you can be creative in keeping your reptile warm and healthy this winter such as insulating with towels around the tank and even adding a hot water bottle.

Let us know over on Facebook what other top tips you can share to help other reptile owners in our community!

Signs of ill health

Without the correct set up and adequate external heat sources, all reptiles, snakes, lizards, turtles, and tortoises — become hypothermic, meaning their body temperature declines. As a result, they become less active, their digestion slows, their immune system doesn’t function properly, and they become susceptible to infections.

On the other hand, if the environment is too warm, they can get dehydrated and show the same signs of ill health.

If you are concerned about your reptile, please call us for a check-up and a chat to see if we can help you keep them in the best condition this winter.

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