It is a question that often comes up on forums, and the answer is not always clear. While many believe red light can be bad for ball pythons, others say it’s mostly harmless.
In this article, we break down the science to determine if the red light does cause any harm to your ball pythons.
So with all this information, do you still want to keep your reptiles in natural light? Or should you switch them to something safer, like lamps or incandescent bulbs? Keep reading this article, and we’ll fill you in on everything!
Red Light and Ball Pythons: The Truth About Whether or Not Red Light is Bad For Them
Red light has been commonly thought to increase stress and cause side effects like increased aggression, metabolic bone disease, eye problems, and even death in reptiles.
But what’s the scoop on whether or not red light is terrible for ball pythons and other snakes? Research into ball pythons and light shows that it is, in fact, harmful to their eyes. And because of this, new owners often take the safer route by using full-spectrum artificial lighting.
But it might not be as safe as you think. Several people have had their red-lamp pythons die because of the artificial lighting. But why? Here’s what science has to say on the matter.
Red light falls below the correct range for most ball pythons and doesn’t provide enough UVB light to allow them to regulate their bodies. It is a huge problem when they are kept in low-light environments like those that come with a red or cool white light bulb.
Ball pythons are already known to have some behavioral issues, and keeping them in a low light environment with red light only worsens these issues. So what’s the best way to fix it?
Below we’ll discuss why red light is terrible for ball pythons and how to create an optimal living environment with your snake. After all, we don’t want you or your reptile to be negatively impacted by poor lighting!
What Is Red Light?
Red light refers to any visible light between 620 nm and 770 nm. These colors include red, orange, yellow, and white.
Red light has a higher frequency of electromagnetic radiation than green light and has longer wavelengths.
Red light also has more red photons shorter than 620nm that break up the longer wavelength blue photons longer wavelength.
Do Red Light Cause Problems for Ball Pythons?
Researchers have recently shown that exposure to red lighting causes changes to a python’s eyes.
When exposed to another color, green or blue, the eyes of pit vipers and other snakes focus through structures in the eye called pigment epithelial or PIT cells.
But when exposed to a wavelength of 664nm red light, these cells cannot work correctly. They cannot stop light from reflecting off the retina, which increases the chances of a retina problem.
What To Do About Red Light
A snake’s eyes don’t focus properly on the red light, so it’s not something that you want to expose them to. It can be a problem if your ball python is trying to regulate their body temperature by basking in the sun or if they are trying to see fine details when eating mice or other food.
Because of this, you should avoid keeping your snake under red light whenever possible. If you must use a red light, we recommend placing your reptile in an area where they have access to regular exposure at least 10 hours per week to natural sunlight.
It will help them regulate their body temperature and allow them to see their prey. If you must use a red light, turn it on for only a few hours every few days to minimize the negative impact of exposure.
How To Wire Ball Pythons for Red Light
While ball pythons can be exposed to red light, it’s not something we recommend. The trouble is that some breeders and owners choose this type of lighting for their ball pythons. But why do they do this?
There are a few different reasons. One is that ball pythons can be exposed to red light without any adverse effects in natural sunlight or with a read-only lamp or bulb.
Others think that it’s not dangerous because the color looks similar to sunlight, which is something that ball pythons don’t mind being overexposed of.
But the reality is that red light is terrible for ball pythons. Red light can be especially harmful to snakes with eyes like those in the genus Python, which includes ball pythons, king pythons, and other snakes like rat snakes and corn snakes.
The good news is that you should avoid using red lamps or bulbs with most ball pythons. You can control this by using a black light instead of the correct color spectrum, which is not red!
Red Lamp vs. Spectrum
When you’re planning on using a red light, the first thing that you should do is look for a lamp and bulb that only use the correct color spectrum.
There are three different spectrums that You can expose a reptile to without harm: Red, Infrared, and Blue. All are safe for ball pythons and other reptiles.
Some bulbs and lamps have “UV” ultraviolet lighting. But this is better used as an addition to full spectrum lighting as it’s not enough of a spectrum to give reptiles all the benefits of their natural environment.
The ideal spectrum that ball pythons need is the red spectrum. It should be a bulb or lamp with a temperature of approximately 6500K. Ball pythons need this because it’s high enough to boost their metabolism and provide enough heat.
The color temperature of light refers to how “warm” or “cool” it feels. Understanding the concept of color temperature is crucial in understanding how you can create optimal habitat for your ball python or another reptile.
So, as you can see, there are some disadvantages to using red light with ball pythons. It’s not necessary and could cause additional problems for your reptile.
So, if you’re going to use red lighting in your ball python’s environment, especially for basking in the sun or for basking your snake, replace it with an alternative with a safe and healthy spectrum.