Do Pet Snakes Need Light at Night?

Some pet snakes need light at night but some don’t. Generally, the most important thing is to ensure there is a natural day-night cadence for your snake.

Do Pet Snakes Need Light at Night

Most snakes can also benefit from a night light that mimics the moon.

Many snakes are nocturnal, and owners need to mimic the conditions of their environment in the wild. So, the kind of light to leave on at night depends on the snake that you own. There are those snakes that hunt during the day, and there are those that hunt at night. Generally speaking, pet snake owners should try to replicate natural conditions.

Disclaimer: This is general information for entertainment purposes. It’s not professional advice, and you will need professional advice specific to the species of snake you own.

Can You Keep a Snake in the Dark?

On some occasions, snakes prefer the dark, especially if the snake is nocturnal.

One example of this is the viper, a snake that thrives hunting at night. However, be cautious – there are many species of vipers. Check for your own snake species.

If anything, it is best for a snake owner to put the snakes in a room with a window. The window must be able to receive sunlight. In this case, there is no need to bother with lighting. Nature will take care of itself.

But, some pet owners keep the snakes in closed rooms that do not have windows. For a set-up like this, the snake owner must turn on the lights in the day and shut them off at night. A lamp that mimics the moon is also highly recommended.

Snakes must not be kept in the dark for too long. Like all living things, snakes need light to survive. While there are many snake owners that pile snake cages on top of each other, the best practice is to put the snakes in breathable boxes that receive light on a regular basis.

Related: Are Snakes Blind?

Do Snakes need a Heat Lamp at Night?

Different snakes have different needs. For example, some snakes live in tropical areas where it is not too hot, and it is not too cold.

For most snakes, then the temperature in the room must not change too often. Heat lights are great, so one could mimic the correct environment for the snake. For example, some snakes live in arid deserts and require a specific amount of heat to regulate their body temperatures.

Generally, the majority of snakes like an enclosure that’s between 75 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit, as well as a basking rock in the warm end of the tank.

Most snake owners use heating pads under the terrarium. However, it may not be sufficient. It is in this kind of situation where a heat lamp is beneficial. Generally speaking, snake housing must have a heat lamp where the snake can bask if it needs to regulate its temperature.

The benefit of a heat lamp is that the snake itself can regulate the temperature. It can choose to stay close or stay away from it according to what it needs.

The overall recommendation of pet owners is to have two kinds of heat lamps. These heat lamps must have different temperatures and must cycle every 12 hours.

One heat lamp must be a white light that should be on during the day. One is a “night-glow” that could either be red or purple. This light should be on at night to simulate night in the wild.

Improper lighting can confuse the snake, and it might become lethargic. It can also cause stress, and if it does, the worst that can happen is for the snake to stop eating.

Does a Snake Need Sunlight to Live?

Yes, snakes need light to live. Like all reptiles, snakes are cold-blooded, and can only warm their bodies if they bask under the sun.

Snakes also need to move to a shade to cool down. It is the reason why snake owners must have large enclosures for snakes. One area must have light, and one area must average temperature so the snake can cool down.

Since they are cold-blooded, snake owners must never put snakes in air-conditioned rooms where the temperatures are really low.

In the wild, snakes that live in cold climates hibernate during the winter. However, they will never survive on frozen ground. It is why snakes are never found in places like Antarctica.

Is Ultra-Violet Light good for snakes?

Contrary to popular belief, UV lights are not always harmful. There are three types of UV lights, and these are called UVA, UVB, and UVC. None of these are visible to the eye.

For snakes, UVA is an important type of light that can affect behavior, including the snake’s appetite. UVB, on the other hand, assists in the production of vitamin D. The UVC is the damaging form of UV light that can cause cancer.

For snakes, you can buy lamps that have both UVA and UVB. Snakes need both of them to help regulate bodily functions.

UVB, for example, helps in the metabolism of calcium. Without adequate calcium, the reptiles will develop bone diseases.

However, snakes eat animals that already have UVB in them. As such, snakes are not likely to develop deficiencies in UVB, or any bone disease. They absorb the UVB they need from the animals that they eat, even in captivity.

On the other hand, snakes still need UVA, which is important in governing their behavior. For this reason, snakes must get adequate lighting. Without it, they can die.

One thing a snake owner can do is to put the snake under sunlight for 20 minutes. If this is not possible, the alternative is a UV lamp.

There are many UV lights in the market. One must choose a lamp that has the appropriate strength. UV comes between 2.0 to 10.0. Use 2.0 for snakes that live in tropical rainforests and 10.0 for snakes that live in the desert.

Related: Are Pet Snakes Dangerous?


Snakes are cold-blooded reptiles. Because of this, they cannot regulate their own body temperatures like other animals do. They need the sun to regulate their body temperature.

Snake owners generally must have heat lamps for the snake. The snake must be able to bask in this heat lamp and move away if it feels too hot already. Snakes also require an environment that mimics their natural habitat.

Snakes will live long in captivity if they receive 12 hours of sunlight per day, even from a heat lamp only. Snakes that do not et proper lighting and heat can get confused and stressed, which can lead to death.

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