Are Candles Safe for Reptiles: What You Need To Know


Reptiles have acute senses, so burning scented candles around them is not recommended.

Scented candles can overwhelm reptiles and cause them to become agitated and cause respiratory issues. To avoid harming your pet reptile, it is best to keep scented candles in separate rooms and make sure the area is well-ventilated.

This article will explore why reptiles have keen senses and how you can burn candles safely in your home without impacting your beloved scaly friends.

Why do reptiles have keen senses?

There are a few reasons. First, certain reptiles don’t have eyelids; snakes and geckos are prime examples. They have a membrane that protects their eyes, but it’s not the same as our eyelids. This means that their eyes are more susceptible to potential irritants.

Many reptiles rely on camouflage for protection. If they were to move around a lot, they would be much easier for predators to spot. So instead, they tend to be very still and use their keen senses to detect potential threats.

As well as this, reptiles have a highly developed sense of smell. They use scent to communicate with other reptiles and to find food. Because of this, strong smells can be overstimulating for them.

Finally, nearly all reptiles (over 8000 species) are ectothermic, meaning they rely on their environment to regulate their body temperature. This makes them more sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity.

Can you burn candles around reptiles?

It is not recommended to burn candles around reptiles for the reasons mentioned above. If you use scented candles around your home – ensure that they are placed in separate rooms from your reptiles. Ensure that your house is well-ventilated, and you do not use any overpowering scents.

So, if not candles, can you use air fresheners to keep your reptile room smelling great?

What air fresheners are safe for reptiles?

Using air fresheners around your reptiles is not recommended, especially in the same room. Just like scented candles, air fresheners can overwhelm reptiles and cause stress.

It’s best to avoid using any products with strong scents near your reptile’s enclosure. If you must use an air freshener, ensure that you use them in separate rooms from your reptiles and ensure that the scent is not overpowering. It is best to ensure that your rooms are well-ventilated when spraying air fresheners around your home.

So, if you cannot use air fresheners and candles, what can you do?

Reptile Hygiene

Clean The Enclosure Regularly

Your reptile’s enclosure should be cleaned regularly to prevent the build-up of bacteria and parasites. This is especially important if you have more than one reptile, as diseases can spread quickly in close quarters.

A good rule of thumb is to clean the enclosure once a week for small and large reptiles.

Use the following guidelines to carry out a complete enclosure clean:

  • Move your reptile to a temporary enclosure.
  • Remove all substrate, decorations, and hideaways.
  • Remove any food or water dishes. If you can’t remove them, scrub them thoroughly with hot, soapy water.
  • Spray the entire enclosure with a disinfectant designed for reptile cages.
  • Wipe down the walls and surfaces with a clean cloth or paper towel.
  • Rinse the enclosure with hot water and allow it to air dry completely before adding any new substrate or decorations.
  • Once the substrate and decorations are placed, add the cleaned food and water dishes.

Change The Substrate Regularly

In addition to cleaning the enclosure regularly, you should spot clean substrate (or bedding material) whenever you notice unpleasant smells. This will help prevent bacteria and parasites and keep your home smelling fresh.

Using a disposable substrate, such as paper towels or newspaper, can be thrown away and replaced with fresh bedding material each time you clean the enclosure.

If you use a reusable substrate, such as sand, soil, or bark chips, it should be removed from the enclosure and replaced with fresh material every one to two months. The used substrate can be disposed of or sterilized, and reused.

The sterilizing substrate is an excellent way to avoid waste and save money, but it can be time-consuming. If you choose to sterilize the substrate, it must be done before it is reused.

Feed Your Reptile a Good Diet

A healthy diet is an essential part of keeping your reptile healthy. Reptiles require various nutrients, including proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals.

Reptiles are generally carnivores, so their diet should be primarily meat-based. You can buy commercially prepared reptile food or feed them live insects.

Gut-loading is a process of feeding insects a nutritious diet before they are fed to your reptile. This ensures the insect is full of nutrients passed on to your pet.

You should also offer your reptile a variety of vegetables and fruits for good nutrition. Some reptiles are reluctant to eat vegetation, so you may need to experiment to find what they will eat.

Consult your veterinarian for specific dietary recommendations for your specific reptile.

You Know Your Reptile Best

Check your reptile for signs and symptoms of irritation, such as:

  • Sneezing or wheezing
  • Sores around the eyes and nose.
  • Discharge from the eyes and nose.

Remove the candle from the room and consult your veterinarian if you notice any of these signs. They can determine what is wrong with your reptile and provide recommendations. In most cases removing the candle from the room will remove the causing factor of irritation. Monitor your reptile and ensure that any symptoms are communicated to your veterinarian.

Tips for using candles around reptiles

If you must burn candles in your home, ensure the area is well-ventilated and the candle is placed in a safe location in a separate room from your reptile, also ensure you:

  • Do not leave burning candles unattended.
  • Extinguish all candles before leaving the room or going to sleep.
  • Never use scented candles around reptiles.
  • Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using candles.

Alternatives to scent your rooms with Reptiles

Air Purifiers

Air purifies a great way to remove odours and toxins from the air without using candles. Many air purifiers also have built-in humidifiers, which can benefit reptiles that need higher humidity levels.

Reptile Odour Cleaning Products

There are many reptile-safe odour eliminators on the market. These products are designed to remove odours without harming your reptile.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a natural odour absorber. You can place a bowl of baking soda in your reptile’s room to help absorb odours. Be sure to change it every few weeks and dispose of it properly.

Final thoughts

Reptiles are sensitive creatures with a keen sense of smell and can be easily agitated by scents. For this reason, it is best to avoid burning scented candles around reptiles. In conclusion, avoiding burning candles or using air fresheners around reptiles is best. Their keen senses make them more sensitive to fumes and smoke, which can cause stress or even make them sick. If you must burn candles or use air fresheners, ensure the area is well-ventilated and the product is natural and mild-scented. Ensure that you only use these products in separate rooms for your reptiles.

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