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Dr. Taus
Dr. Taus, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 505
Experience:  Veterinarian with experience in equine and small animal medicine.
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Are lizards affected by high heat index values or just the

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Are lizards affected by high heat index values or just the ambient temperature?
Hi there,

Lizards (and reptiles in general) are affected by the actual temperature. The most important temperature is actually the temperature of the substrate (rocks, sand, etc) that they are lying on. They need a "hot spot" (the temperature varies based on species but is generally around 100 degrees) to lie on so that they can digest their food properly.

Reptiles are also affected by humidity, but not in terms of how hot it makes temperatures feel. They need appropriate humidity for their species to help them maintain healthy skin and shed when they need to. This may be high for tropical reptiles like chameleons and low for desert snakes, for example. Some have a UV light requirement as well.

I hope this is helpful. If so, please rate me positively. Let me know what questions you have.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Interesting, thanks. Was worried. Have two Sceloporus serrifer cyanogenys, (M & F), and one Leiocephalus schreibersii, (M). Had read that the Sceloporus is the only lizard that could actually stand temperatures above 105 for short periods of time. The rest will die. No one is caged; they have their own tables with necessary lizard accoutrements in their own room. We had casement windows put in many years ago; they climb the screens and sticks at the windows. Had worried last week...heat indices had approached 105. And I opted to close their windows and give them the A/C that the rest of the house was using, (stayed around 80 or so in their room). A few days before the heat indices hit the 100's, L. schreibersii was going into his damp sand pit, but the Sceloporus were hanging out in the sun with their little mouths open. Had been spraying all, (these Sceloporus drink infrequently, but fill up like camels), and I was worried about them all. Had also "bathed" them in shallow Tupperware lids. Been at this 41 years, and never found anything regarding heat indices vs. ambient temperature before this.

Thanks, Bonnie