Do Tortoises need a Heat Lamp and UV Light, at Night?

Tortoises are cold-blooded (ectothermic) and therefore cannot regulate their own body temperature. A heat lamp emits UV radiation, which is essential for the health of your tortoise’s bones and shell. Sleeping tortoises require darkness at night.

Tortoises require a heat lamp at night when the temperature drops below 45°F. Burrowing into their bedding will help them conserve heat if the temperature stays around this level.

You can use a heat lamp at night or a lightless heat source like ceramic plates. Heating pads can be used to warm your tortoise, but the heat should come from above.

Do All Tortoises Need A Heat Lamp?

Tortoises are cold-blooded animals. They do not generate their own heat; instead, they rely on a heat source. As a result, a tortoise in a box will be the same temperature as the room/box in which he is kept.

The tortoise probably didn’t die because your house or your friend’s house was very warm. To digest his food, a tortoise must be able to warm up to at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Your core temperature is nearly 100 degrees. And if you lie down on the kitchen floor in your pyjamas, you can see how cool your house is at ground level.

So, yes, a tortoise kept in the house requires a heat source.

If at all possible, set up your new tortoise outside in the garden, with the sun as its heat source.

ALSO SEE: Can Tortoises Eat Worms?

Do Tortoises need a Heat Lamp

Do You Leave a Tortoise Heat Lamp on All Night?

A tortoise does not need overnight heating if the following conditions are met:

  • Temperatures don’t drop below 45°F at night.
  • Tank is well insulated to retain heat during the day.
  • A tortoise’s bedding can keep it warm.

If these conditions are met, don’t leave a tortoise’s heat lamp on at night. You can use it to bring the tank’s temperature down, but not all night.

When To Leave A Heat Lamp On?

If you’re worried about your tortoise’s temperature at night, keep the heat lamp on (say, close to 50 degrees Fahrenheit). In this case, a low-wattage heat lamp is recommended.

A temperature of around 45 degrees Fahrenheit should be enough to keep your tortoise warm at night.

If the temperature at night in your area is well above this range, turn off the heat lamp.

How Long Does a Tortoise Need Their Heat Lamp On?

If you live in a cold climate with harsh winters, chances are your area doesn’t have native tortoises. So, if you keep a tortoise as a pet, it will be in an unfamiliar climate. As a tortoise keeper, you must ensure that their living conditions are as natural as possible.

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The sun’s cycle dictates a tortoise’s habits in the wild. A tortoise heat lamp and a UV lamp simulate the sun’s heat and ultraviolet light. That’s why, to keep your tortoise healthy, you should keep it warm for 8-12 hours per day, just like we do outside.

It is true that keeping the tortoise heat lamp on for more than 12 hours per day during the summer may be harmful to its health. Heat can cause dehydration, heat stroke, and even death. So only use tortoise heat lamps when necessary.

Lamps only maintain a healthy temperature for tortoises, which varies by species.

Desert or Mediterranean tortoises require a basking area of 90 F (32 C) and a resting area of 75 F (24 C). Forest species are more resistant to cold temperatures and don’t bask as often.

For forest and tropical species, it is best to keep the ambient temperature at 70 F (21 C) and the basking area at 85 F (30 C).

Is A Heat Lamp Bad For Tortoises At Night?

A tortoise’s heat lamp mimics the sun’s cycle in the wild. However, how much you use a heat lamp depends on the season and daily temperatures.

Leaving a heat lamp on for more than 12 hours can cause dehydration and health issues like heatstroke. Also, heat lamps at night can keep your tortoise awake.

Do Tortoises Require Heat?

Tortoises need heat to survive in captivity because they are native to hot, dry climates.

In temperate climates, they aren’t adapted. Tortoises, being cold-blooded, require an external heat source to regulate their body temperature and digest food efficiently.

According to the Journal of Herpetology, wild tortoises rarely suffer from heat stress and are evolved to thrive in hot climates.

Putting your tortoise near a window rarely meets its needs. In the winter or in areas where long-term sunlight is scarce, even direct sun exposure may not be enough.

While all pet tortoises require a heat lamp or heat source, not all have the same requirements. Some species require slightly warmer temperatures.

Tortoise Species Temperature (F) Temperature (C)
Red-Footed Tortoise 90 – 95°F 32 – 35°C
Juvenile Red-Footed Tortoise 95 -100°F 35 – 37°C
Russian Tortoise 90 – 100°F 32 – 37°C
Juvenile Russian Tortoise 95 – 105°F 35 – 40°C
Hermann Tortoise 90 – 95°F 32 – 35°C
Juvenile Hermann Tortoise 95 – 100°F 35 – 37°C
Greek Tortoise 90 – 100°F 32 – 37°C
Juvenile Greek Tortoise 95 – 105°F 35 – 40°C
Leopard Tortoise 85 – 95°F 29 – 35°C
Juvenile Leopard Tortoise 90 – 100°F 32 – 37°C
Pancake Tortoise 95 – 100°F 35 – 37°C
Juvenile Pancake Tortoise 100 – 105°F 37 – 40°C
Indian Star Tortoise 90 – 95°F 32 – 35°C
Juvenile Indian Star 95 – 105°F 35 – 37°C
Box Turtle Tortoise 80 – 90°F 26 – 32°C
Juvenile Box Turtle 90 – 95°F 32 – 35°C

Adult tortoises require more heat than juveniles. They need more help regulating their body temperature than adult tortoises.

Wattage of a Tortoise Heat Lamp

A heat lamp bulb does not come with a label indicating how hot it is. Because two identical heat lamps can emit different temperatures.

How far away is your tortoise from the source? The temperature drops as your tortoise move away from the heat source.

The wattage of the heat lamp isn’t as important as its distance from the tortoise.

How Far Should Heat Lamp Be From Tortoise?

This table calculates the correct bulb wattage based on distance. Notate the size of your tortoise enclosure and your pet’s temperature requirements.

This table can help you choose the right wattage:

 

Wattage (W) Distance Temperature
50W 4” 104°F
50W 8” 81°F
50W 12” 73°F
75W 4” 120°F
75W 8” 91°F
75W 12” 81°F
100W 4” 131°F
100W 8” 113°F
100W 12” 90°F
100W 4” 144°F
100W 8” 131°F
100W 12” 126°F

Heat lamps should be kept at least 4 inches away from tortoises to avoid burns.

Do All Tortoises or Turtles Hibernate?

Some TORTOISE/TURTLE hibernate. Wildlife that hibernates in the wild does not have to hibernate in captivity. You should not hibernate them if they are too young or sick. But hibernation is hotly debated. Some hibernate, others never.

In the wild or in captivity, a sulcata does not hibernate. But they grow big and are hard to keep.

When kept in captivity, Russians are great. Temps, humidity, substrate, exercise, sunlight or UVB light…… Russians are small enough to fit on a tort table if necessary.

Box turtles are cute. They eat more fruits and meat proteins than humans (bugs, snails, slugs, etc).

Regardless, we need to know what you’re looking for to recommend a tortoise. Or both? You want a tort that won’t grow over 10 inches or one that will grow over 100 lbs. How much can you spare? Do you live? What food sources are nearby? Do you want a vegetarian tort or one that includes fruits and’meat’? Tropical or desert? Maybe even a box turtle if you live in their natural habitat (Eastern Box or 3 toed do well in mild climates from the east coast to the west coast for example).

Do Tortoises Need Heat Lamp in Summer?

The heat lamp may not be needed as much when temperatures are higher than normal. Even in hot weather, your tortoise needs daily exposure to UV radiation to stay healthy.

During the summer, reduce the heat lamp wattage (or increase the distance). If your tortoise remains healthy after these changes, you have achieved equilibrium.

Can a Tortoise Use a Heat Mat?

Heat mats are fine for lizards and snakes, but not for tortoises. HEAT MATS OR PADS HEAT THE FLOOR OF THE ENCLOSURE.

During use, the animal will sit on the mat to absorb heat. While this is ideal for many reptiles, it isn’t for tortoises.

Heat mats do not provide heat in a way that is beneficial to tortoises. A heat mat provides heat from below, while a torch requires heat from above.

A heat mat in your tortoise enclosure will only receive 35% of the heat.

Can a Tortoise Survive Without a Heat Lamp?

You may be keeping your tortoise in a climate that is very different from their natural habitat. Because there are no native tortoises in the UK, any tortoise you own will be living in an unadapted climate.

However, it turns out that tortoises can adapt to a variety of climates quite well, and many adults can live comfortably outdoors in temperatures well below their natural range without a heat source.

Mature tortoises can survive without an external heat source if they are healthy and kept in an appropriate outdoor enclosure that keeps them dry and protected from the elements.

The only time you would need to provide extra heat for a mature tortoise is if you chose to ‘over winter’ them rather than let them hibernate.

The real issue with heating is with juveniles. Their underdeveloped bodies require more care, and having a source of heat in their enclosure is essential for their first 3-5 years of life. This excludes hibernation.

How to Keep a Tortoise Warm Without a Heat Lamp

You can keep your tortoise warm without a heat lamp. A heat mat is fine for some reptiles but not for tortoises.

Alternatives:

  • Plates

Ceramic plates fit into the same light bulb socket as heat lamps.

These devices emit heat without visible light. If your tortoise needs to sleep in the dark but stay warm, this can help.

A heat lamp can be set to provide similar warmth, creating the ideal basking environment.

  • Mercapto Vapor Lights

A recent study found that natural sunlight helps tortoises produce more vitamin D. Alternatives to sunbathing include mercury vapor bulbs.

Heat and UVB rays are provided by mercury vapor and heat lamps. Normally, a heat lamp requires a separate UVB bulb. Using a mercury vapor bulb saves space and money by using only one bulb.

A tortoise can stay warm without a heat lamp at night. If your tortoise is too cold at night, provide a lightless heat source like a ceramic plate or mercury vapor bulb.

Do Tortoises Need A Heat Lamp At Night?

Tortoises are cold-blooded animals. They do not generate their own heat; instead, they rely on a heat source. As a result, a tortoise in a box will be the same temperature as the room/box in which he is kept. So, yes, they do need it at night.

Do Tortoises Need A Heat Lamp And Uv Light?

Yes! Tortoises are cold-blooded animals. They do not generate their own heat; instead, they rely on a heat source. As a result, a tortoise in a box will be the same temperature as the room/box in which he is kept.

Do Russian Tortoises Need A Heat Lamp?

Russian Tortoises are cold-blooded animals. They do not generate their own heat; instead, they rely on a heat source. As a result, a tortoise in a box will be the same temperature as the room/box in which he is kept.

Do Hermann Tortoises Need A Heat Lamp?

Hermann Tortoises are cold-blooded animals. They do not generate their own heat; instead, they rely on a heat source. As a result, a tortoise in a box will be the same temperature as the room/box in which he is kept.

Do Sulcata Tortoises Need A Heat Lamp?

Sulcata Tortoises are cold-blooded animals. They do not generate their own heat; instead, they rely on a heat source. As a result, a tortoise in a box will be the same temperature as the room/box in which he is kept.

Do Horsefield Tortoises Need A Heat Lamp?

Horsefield Tortoises are cold-blooded animals. They do not generate their own heat; instead, they rely on a heat source. As a result, a tortoise in a box will be the same temperature as the room/box in which he is kept.

Do Russian Tortoises Need A Heat Lamp At Night?

Russian Tortoises are cold-blooded animals. They do not generate their own heat; instead, they rely on a heat source. As a result, a tortoise in a box will be the same temperature as the room/box in which he is kept.

Do Baby Sulcata Tortoises Need A Heat Lamp?

Baby Sulcata Tortoises are cold-blooded animals. They do not generate their own heat; instead, they rely on a heat source. As a result, a tortoise in a box will be the same temperature as the room/box in which he is kept.

Do Red Foot Tortoises Need A Heat Lamp?

Red Footed Tortoises are cold-blooded animals. They do not generate their own heat; instead, they rely on a heat source. As a result, a tortoise in a box will be the same temperature as the room/box in which he is kept.

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