Why Do Reptiles Bask?

Basking is the process of lying under the sun. Normally reptiles resort to basking. The same is observed in insects also perform this act. What could be the possible benefits of basking?

  • Every body has to be in certain temperature to ensure that the internal systems function properly.
  • Maintaining the body temperature in a specified range is called as Thermoregulation.
  • The range would vary depending on their:
    • Size: smaller mouse need to produce much more energy than an elephant, thanks to its surface area.
    • Physical activities: the monkey needs more heat energy than a crocodile.
    • Environment: penguins in tundra regions require to generate more heat than the pelicans in tropical or temperate regions.
  • Warm blooded creatures such as mammals and birds can produce their own temperature for thermoregulation. Almost 15% to 25% of the energy obtained from food is spent on thermoregulation.
  • Cold blooded creatures such as reptiles (crocodiles, lizards, snakes and tortoises), insects, arachnids, fish cannot produce their own energy and rely on the other heat sources to keep them warm. This is the reason why they appear to be lazy in winter and rainy season where the sun does not give them enough warmth.

  • Therefore whenever, time permits, the reptiles are found to be basking under the sun.
  • When they feel that their batteries are charged enough for smooth functioning, they move on to the shade. They operate like solar panels with batteries.
  • In case of crocodiles and few lizards, the scaly skin has parabolic pebbles which increase the surface area thereby capturing more heat quickly from the solar rays.

  • The flipside to this is that they cannot be basking all the time. Overheating would cause them dehydration and other problems such as hyperthermia (excessive body temperature) which will affect their internal organs. If not warm enough they would freeze due to hypothermia (lower temperature).
  • Therefore, when their body is about to hit the optimal temperature, the reptiles move on to the shady or semi-shady places. 

  • In case of amphibians such as frogs, they need to keep their skin wet always, even while basking.
  • So, let us bask in glory observing our friends and absorbing the warmth of the sun, as even human skin needs some solar exposure for producing the much needed Vitamin D.
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19 Responses to “Why Do Reptiles Bask?”
  1. DAN MCHARDY Says...

    On October 16, 2010 at 5:33 am

    Hey Raj how’s it going?

    i really like your article here as it is really interesting and unique like all your other articles! Keep up the great writing!

  2. Raj the Tora Says...

    On October 16, 2010 at 5:34 am

    It’s going great Dan Man, with all the support of good friends like you. :)

  3. Baijayanti Pradhan Says...

    On October 16, 2010 at 5:35 am

    Really very good work.

  4. Ubel Ein Says...

    On October 16, 2010 at 5:44 am

    Another great article Raj! …Always so informative and entertaining to read!

  5. nobert soloria bermosa Says...

    On October 16, 2010 at 6:07 am

    nice lesson in zoology

  6. Nykesha Alexandra Says...

    On October 16, 2010 at 6:20 am

    I like watching on these animals but I am afraid of them.

  7. Crystal31 Says...

    On October 16, 2010 at 6:36 am

    Nice share

  8. GodsGrace Says...

    On October 16, 2010 at 8:01 am

    Good Stuff

  9. drelayaraja Says...

    On October 16, 2010 at 8:11 am

    Very informative..

  10. Emmie Says...

    On October 16, 2010 at 8:20 am

    Very interesting and i always wondered why they bask!


  11. Raj the Tora Says...

    On October 16, 2010 at 8:44 am

    Guess I’ve read your mind and have given you the answer Emmie.

    Thanks Friends

  12. Kaye TM Says...

    On October 16, 2010 at 11:50 am

    i wonder so and thanks for the explanation. =p

  13. sapphirelaws22 Says...

    On October 16, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    Raj, you are really good both in writing and in taking pictures! :-)

  14. SuperMember Says...

    On October 16, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Excellent share! :) comment my articles back

  15. Raj the Tora Says...

    On October 16, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    Thanks friends.

  16. giftarist Says...

    On October 16, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    They want to tan. :) Superb information here, friend.

  17. Raj the Tora Says...

    On October 17, 2010 at 12:12 am

    Humans want to tan and do tan. They do not require to tan as they love their natural colors Giftarist. Even the white tigers, white lions and albino animals (peafowls, deer, etc) do not try to tan :)

  18. Jimmy Shilaho Says...

    On October 17, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Another good lesson.

  19. BluSphere Says...

    On October 22, 2010 at 8:13 am

    Again, very informative. Great post.

    Thanks for sharing,

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