I would estimate that at least 85% of the entire reptile species kept in captivity today need some form of supplemental heat. Providing this heat is a stumbling block for new keepers as there are a multitude of products available all claiming to be the best. This week I am going to examine in detail each element available and their benefits and drawbacks.
Essentially as I understand these; they are an aluminum coil(s) molded in clay like material. When the element is plugged into a socket the metal element heats up, the heat is then conducted into the clay structure. The reptile will then lay upon the “rock” to absorb the necessary heat for digestion and then move off the rock after being heated to the needed temperatures.
In reality, the reptile relying on ambient air temperature stays on the rock and is usually burned due to the fact that it has spent too much time on the rock. There are a multitude of sites and internet “experts” espousing the dangers of hot rocks. Being completely honest and fair about the subject; I have never used hot rocks either professionally or in my own enclosures. The research that I have done into the subject of hot rocks I have done has led me to the conclusion that there is a lot of misinformation out there.
This “misinformation” could be derived from packaging which is the manufacturers fault. But the blame is not solely on the manufacturer. The consumer should also be held responsible as it should be their priority to research products prior to buying them. Some blame should be placed on the sales person of the stores that carry such products and who do not properly inform the buyer prior to purchase.