Light cycle for BP's?

I’ve searched here for info on light cycle for BP’s with no luck. I know they are nocturnal and arborial but if they are kept in a dark breeder rack for example how do they know it’s night?

If an animal is in the wild spending it’s day in a burrow or turmite mound and peaks it’s nose out it knows its time to stay where it is until dark. If it’s dark all the time how would it know/regulate it’s sleep wake cycle?

Mine are in vivs at the moment so when the lights go out at night they always come out. If it’s dark all the time would they always be out?

According to Dawkins all living creatures have and need a regular sleep wake cycle to varying degrees.

Long term do BP’s need a light cycle to regulate their sleep wake cycle for optimum wellbeing?

I do not believe they need light beyond whatever gets into the room. Further, I think many of the stress issues people have and we see posted about time and time again here are contributed by blasting light in their enclosure half the day.

I don’t know how they “know,” when it’s night. they just seem to sense it. Idk what they’re sensing exactly.

Because they are so proximal to the equator, the light cycle they receive in the wild is basically a 12/12, maybe approaching 13/11::11/13 at the northern- and southernmost parts of their range.

As far as supplying lighting… They do not require much. Because my racks and cages are all in the same room, the light in the cages supplies enough incident lighting to act as a cue. But unless you have them in a fully internal room with no windows at all they will just cue off the light coming in from outside


Thanks for the reply folks. Just thought it was an interesting topic that I couldn’t find a definitive answer to. Makes sense that the smallest amount of light to get a cue from is enough if they mainly live underground or in mounds.

I use a cheap very low wattage led light that I found on Amazon. It cycles from dawn to dusk over 12hrs replicating a day cycle and it’s intensity can be adjusted. It’s more of an aesthetic thing for me than for my BP’s.

What you are referring to is circadian rhythm. In the case of ball pythons this is, most likely, regulated by small environmental changes that occur during the transition from daytime to night.

There are several articles that discuss this along with a number of research papers devoted to studying circadian rhythm in reptiles. While there isn’t much that specifically address ball pythons there is significant overlap.

Just one example:


Even in the dark breeder rack (I’ll assume you mean the solid colored tubs) There are perforations either in the tub, or the panel directly above, or a gap between the tub and the above shelf, for ventilation purposes. These would let in whatever ambient light is in the room, and would presumably mimic the levels of light close to the entrance to the burrow they would be in in the wild. If providing a photoperiod is of importance to you, you can also purchase tubs with windows (such as Freedom Breeder FB80 and FB90) or clear or opaque tubs to allow even more light in.

@gov_balls Thanks very much for the link. Some excellent information in the scholarly article #2 linked at the bottom of the article.

@teddydalton Yes I was mainly referring to the heavy grey type tubs. Especially for those who are lucky enough to have a reptile room where the light cycle may not be as regular as other rooms in the house. If in a basement for example, maybe no windows etc.

From my previous readings of Richard Dawkins and Matt Walker a circadian rhythm effects all animals well being right down to a cellular level. It’s negative effects are systemic. It also seems to be more critical to some animals than others even within the same species.

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