Do tarantulas need heat mats? If it is your first time to set up your tarantula’s enclosure, of course, you want to make sure that it will always be at the right temperature so your T can be comfortable and happy.
So do you need to buy a heat mat? Or can you just rely on the temperature of the room?
Tarantulas do not actually need heat mats. However, they should also be kept in an enclosure with the right temperature, and if you live in an area where the temperature drops fast, then you can use a heat mat as a supplement. Therefore, the use of heat mats is on a case to case basis.
If you are unsure whether to use a heat mat or not, well you came to the right place! We are going to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using a heat mat.
Also, we will tell you when you should use a heat mat as well as where to put it. Lastly, be on the lookout for our heat mat suggestions.
When To Use A Heat Mat?
As we have mentioned earlier, you may opt to use a heat mat or not. So where does the distinction lie? It lies on the current situation of the room where you set up the enclosure of your tarantula.
Maintaining the right temperature inside the enclosure is important as it helps your tarantula’s metabolic processes, molting, etc. The right temperature should be between 23º C-30º C or 73.4º F- 86º F.
If you are still unsure about the current temperature settings in your enclosure, you can take a look at our heating guide. This one is a foolproof way to have the right temperature in your T’s enclosure.
Therefore, if you live in a place where it is usually between the temperature ranges, then you can do away with a heat mat.
Using a heat mat in places where the regular temperature lies within the range poses the risk of overheating the enclosure of your tarantula.
On the other hand, if you live in a place where the temperature goes up or down fast and you cannot say for sure that the temperature can be maintained in the room where the enclosure is, then you need a heat mat.
Now, how about those places where it is generally warm, but when it is wintertime, the temperature drop is so bad? You can also choose to use a heat mat, given that you are not using another heating source for your entire house.
Make sure that when you use a heat mat during the winter, there is not another heater in the room where the enclosure is.
For a lot of owners, having a room heater is enough to maintain the right temperature in the enclosure. If you do decide to use a heat mat even though there is already a heater, there is a high risk of overheating.
The case is different if you decided to put lights in the enclosure. Of course, the light can also produce additional heat.
You can check this article if you want to tweak the heating settings with regard to having a light. Further, you will know the advantages and disadvantages of using light in the enclosure.
Where To Put The Heat Mat?
The logical way is to put the heat mat at the bottom, right? Not necessarily. It is a different story when it comes to tarantulas. As they are a burrowing species, they tend to burrow under the ground so as to escape the heat above.
Therefore, if the heat mat is below the enclosure, then it defeats the purpose of the burrowing behavior of your T. The best places to put a heat mat is at the sides of the enclosure.
In this way, when your tarantula gets too hot, he can then burrow to cool himself off.
More than that, a lot of owners who did the mistake of putting the heat mat under the enclosure found out that even though their tarantulas are overheating under the substrate, they failed to go up the ground, which sadly, led to their deaths.
Advantages Of Using A Heat Mat
Now that you know when you should use a heat mat for the enclosure of your tarantula, let us now talk about the advantages of using a heat mat in such a case where you really need one.
- You are assured that there is heat in the enclosure and it is almost always within the right temperature range.
- No need to use heat lamps to regulate heat and using heat mats also remove the hassle of reminding yourself when to turn off the heat lamps.
- They last for a long time, so you do not have to keep on buying them.
- Proper heat maintenance in the enclosure makes you tarantula’s metabolic process normal as well as help with their growth.
Disadvantages Of Using A Heat Mat
When there are advantages, of course, there are also disadvantages. More than that, these disadvantages will be more apparent if you decide to use a heat mat when you should not be using it in the first place.
- It runs the risk of overheating the enclosure.
- Heat mats that are not connected with thermostats can burn, which endangers your tarantula and also your home as it is a fire hazard.
- They can be quite expensive, especially the ones that come with safeguards against fire.
- You always have to check the enclosure if the temperature is right.
What To Look For In A Heat Mat?
If you are one of those people who live in a place where it gets cold really fast, you now know that you need a heat mat in your tarantula’s enclosure.
The next question is, what makes a good heat mat? Of course, you would not want to purchase a heat mat that can potentially burn your tarantula.
You have to make sure that the heat in the mat is completely distributed, especially if you are just going to place it on one side of the enclosure. If the heat is not distributed throughout the mat, then it defeats of using a heat mat in the first place.
You are better off using a heat lamp if your heat mat only gets warm in one place. In using heat mats, there should be a clean line between the heated and unheated portion of the enclosure.
If your heat mat only gets warm on a specific area, then it can be hard to maintain the right temperature.
In the past, a lot of tarantulas died because of heat mats that burned through the plastic and ended up overheating their enclosures. The reason behind this is that older models do not have a thermostat attached to it.
Therefore, if you are considering getting a heat mat, make sure that it comes with a thermostat so you have control over how warm the heat mat is getting.
In the event that your heat mat does not have a thermostat included in its design, then you should purchase one just to be on the safe side.
We recommend getting this thermostat. It is compatible with both heat mats we recommend below.
Safeguards Against Fire
Manufacturers of heat mats are now moving on from their design flaws, and they are continuously developing new designs and features that can make the use of heat mats as safe as possible. Always check your heat mat when it comes to their safeguards against fire.
Besides using a thermostat, there are now heat mats that automatically stop distributing heat when they reach critical levels. Other heat mats also tend to send out a beeping sound which signals the owners that it is near its “expiration time.”
Further, new materials are being developed in terms of the encasing of the heat mat. As plastic is a fire hazard, other companies are experimenting with other types of plastic that cannot easily burn and will not emit too many harmful chemicals when burned.
Heat Mat Suggestions: What To Buy?
Take a look at our heat mat suggestions and you might just find the heat mat that fits your needs!
iPower Heat Mat
This heating mat has a newly designed heating film that helps transfer the heat uniformly on the mat. It can also maintain the insulation within the mat. Further, you can get up to the right temperature in just a matter of minutes.
You can also easily attach it to the side of your tarantula’s enclosure as it already comes with a 3M adhesive paper. Once attached, you do not run the risk of it slipping.
Further, you can control the temperature as it comes with a digital thermostat which can be set between 5º C- 42º C or 40º F- 108º F. You can also choose between Celcius and Fahrenheit (which is very convenient!)
If you think that this is the heat mat for you, you can check it out here.
Zacro Heat Mat
This heat mat is made of a PVC material that is of high quality which is why it is very soft. Additionally, it can be folded as it is very flexible.
It also has high-quality heating wiring so that the heat is properly distributed and that there will be no wrong dispersal of heat that can help prolong the life of this heating mat.
You can also attach a 3M sticker to this, but before you do so, it should be plugged in to ensure that once you stick it to the enclosure, the heat mat is smooth.
It runs on low energy, so if you are conscious about your electric bills, this can be a good choice. You can take a look at this heat mat here.