When it comes to lighting for red eared sliders, a lot of owners simply don’t realize how important it is. As ectotherms, turtles (and all reptiles) live and die by the heat and light of the sun. When you bring a slider into your home as a pet, therefore, you need to replicate that feature to the best of your ability. If you have or want a pet slider but worry about your ability to consistently remember to turn its light on before you go to work or off before you go to bed, you might as well get a timer and remove all doubt.
There a couple of different approaches you can take to getting a timer for your turtle lighting. First, you can always check your local hardware store, where you will find a timer that you can plug into any electrical outlet and put any electric appliance on. These are the kind of timers that many vacationers put their lamps and televisions on while they are out of town to make it look like someone is home. These timers work perfectly well for turtle lights and usually cost less than $10.
The next approach is getting one of the timers sold at pet stores. Many of these will be the same sort of timer as above, but with a different packaging. You can also get what is called a “power center,” which is a power strip with timers, allowing you to plug multiple things into it and have different time settings. This way you can set up your heat lamp to heat at different intervals throughout the day. Power centers cost significantly more than regular timers (about $50) and are best for experienced turtle hobbyists that are very thorough.
No matter which sort of timer you get for your red eared slider lighting, make sure that you get one that is very durable and able to take the current that you will be running through it. This shouldn’t be a problem, but to be safe don’t buy any timer that looks suspicious and don’t use an old hand-me-down timer that is beat up or shows any signs of having overloaded before, such as burn marks. When it comes to electricity, you can never be too safe. The last thing you want is to endanger your turtles or your home because of a bad decision that could have easily been remedied.
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