How To Use Heat Tape For Snakes and Reptiles

reptile heat tape


Many snakes and reptiles need heat sources other than light to maintain proper body heat. Here we explain how to use heat tape, one great way to give that extra heat to your reptile.  


  • Heat tape must be used with a thermostat or rheostat. Using heat tape without one could be fatal to your animal.
  • If you're using different sizes of heat tape in your setup, a separate thermostat must be used for each size.
  • There is no top or bottom to the heat tape. Either side can be used.
  • In open air your heat tape will only get to around 90°F. but at full power can get to 130°F under an enclosure full of substrate.
  • There must be a small air gap (1/8") on one side of the tape.
  • Heat tape can be easily cut with a pair of scissors. Just please, for the love of all that’s good and right in the world, make sure it’s not plugged in.
  • We’ll be happy to connect it for you. As you’re adding the THG Heat Wire/Clip/Insulator Set to your cart, be sure to select the option to have us connect it for you. Let us know in your order how you would like it connected and we'll take care of it.
  • Heat tape should cover no more than 1/3 of the floor of your enclosure. You’re trying to create a basking area that allows your animal to move closer to or further away from the heat tape and regulate its body temperature. Heat tape should not be used as a way to control ambient air temperature. It is designed to provide belly heat.
    • Like any electronic devices, thermostats can fail. You need to be sure that in the event of a failure, your animal can move away from the heat.
    • To make sure your set up is safe in the event of a failure, test the heat tape. Plug it directly into the wall to get the maximum output from the heat tape and monitor the enclosure. Make sure your animal could survive in the event your probe is dislodged or your thermostat fails.
    • In a perfect world, you should only run your heat tape at 50%-75% its maximum temperature
  • More than likely, your heat tape will have up to a 5% variation in temperature across its length (about 5 degrees if your thermostat is set to 100° F). This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Your animal will move from the warmer to cooler sections until it finds the spot that’s the temperature it needs.
  • Heat tape runs should be kept under 50’ for the 3” and 4” heat tape, 35’ for the 6” heat tape and 25’ for the 12” heat tape. These are the maximum lengths, and it’s best to stay below them.
  • It’s best not to use your thermostat at its maximum rating. It will shorten the thermostat's lifespan.