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One of the most commonly asked questions among new stick insect enthusiasts is whether or not a heat lamp is necessary to keep an insect’s enclosure warm. There is no clear answer. It depends on the species of stick insect being kept and the environment in which it will live.
In cases when external heating is required, a heat lamp is but one option. Other options include heat mats, heat cables, and simply increasing the temperature in the room in which the enclosure sits.
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Stick Insects and Body Temperature
The whole heat lamp discussion is underscored by the fact that insects are cold-blooded creatures. This means that, unlike mammals, they are incapable of self-regulating body temperature. As a stick insect owner, the only way to regulate your pet’s body temperature is to do so externally.
This leads us to the first consideration: the temperature in your home. If you consistently keep it warm enough, your stick insect may not need a heat lamp. How do you know what temperature is ideal? If you purchased your stick insect from a dealer, you should have received a care sheet with it. That sheet should tell you what the insect’s optimal temperature is. In the absence of a care sheet, there is plenty of information waiting online.
Maintaining Temperature with a Heat Lamp
You may determine that the ambient temperature in your home is not warm enough to sustain your stick insect. Do yourself and your stick a favor by buying a legitimate heat lamp from a reputable retailer. Do not use a spare lamp you have lying around the home and expect to get good results.
Heat lamp bulbs are specially designed incandescent bulbs that generate a certain amount of heat over a short area. In most places around the world, you cannot get regular incandescent bulbs anymore. Fluorescent and LED bulbs do not work because they don’t produce enough heat.
Also note that it is a wise idea to try to replicate the natural environment of your particular species. For example, your insect’s natural environment may be rather warm during the day but several degrees cooler at night. It is best for your insect if you turn off the heat lamp at night, or at least reduce the number of hours it runs, in order to allow the temperature inside the enclosure to drop. Do stick insects need heat lamps? That depends on the species, its enclosure, and the ambient temperature in your home. If you do need to purchase a heat lamp, you can find them fairly inexpensively online and that local pet retailers. Indeed, Amazon has a great choice available to you. If you’re interested, you can check them out here (opens in a new tab).