There are still many owners keeping tortoises without the use of a basking lamp.
Tortoises are cold blooded reptiles and use the sun to warm their blood in order for them to be active and alert.
In the wild a tortoise will emerge from under a bush in the early morning and position themselves in a warm sunny spot and bask there until they are warm enough to go in search for food.
Captive tortoises in this country do suffer when owners fail to provide the extra light and heat that wild tortoises get naturally.
Owners can use a simple reflector bulb, like a spot light bulb but bigger, with a silver back on. This should be suspended over the tortoise to generate a temperature underneath of approximately 90 F or 32 -34C.
This bulb should not come in contact with the tortoise and a thermometer should be use to check the temperatures underneath the lamp.
There are several ways to do this:
- Make a wooden frame to screw the fitting to and place the frame over the tortoise.
- Use a desk lamp with a crane arm on over the tortoise, use the crane arm to higher or lower it accordingly.
- Suspend the lamp fitting from the ceiling with a chain, again this can easily be raised and lowered.
For young tortoises in vivariums, use a standard light fitting with the reflector bulb and connect it to the roof or the side and take a reading of the temperature underneath.
Owners that use basking lamps for their tortoises instantly see a big difference. The lamp should be switched on for at least 8 hours per day and switched off at night time.
Remember use the lamp like the sun, the sun goes in a night time.
Always allow your tortoise to be able to come and go from under the lamp and allow a shaded area to retreat to.
It is impossible for owners to know when their tortoise is warm enough, so allow your tortoise to come and go of their own accord.
For more information on keeping Tortoises check out this website.