I was already writing about the necessity of reptiles of regular sunbathing due to their inability to produce their own heat internally. Reptiles need to obtain heat from the environment. Having a pet reptile such as a turtle, a bearded dragon or snakes you need to provide heat sources for this reason.
There is something else you will need to provide your pet reptile that‘s as vitally essential as heat. That is light. Light emitting UVB as a matter of fact. Why does your pet reptile need UVB light and what exactly is that?
UVB light ranges from 290 to 320 nanometer in opposite to UVA light that ranges from 320 to 400 nm. Reptiles need UVB for their health, for normal growth and for building vitamin D3 in their skin. Without UVB reptiles cannot properly absorb and metabolize calcium, they will suffer chronic calcium deficiency which leads among others to metabolic bone disease.
Reptile sunbathe a lot. They do that for the heat on the one hand and on the other hand for the UVB. Reptiles cannot see UVB light as they can see UVA light. But still can detect it and will move toward it to get their daily portion of UVB.
UVA on the other hand reptiles can see which is different to us humans. We can’t see UVA. Reptiles need UVA light to recognize each other, to detect movements. UVA also stimulates their appetite and supports better feeding and digesting. And yes, it also activates their social behavior.
As reptile pet owner you will need to find out if your pet needs constant daytime exposure to UV light or only minimal exposure. There are big differences between reptile species. Ask you vet in order to offer your pet reptile the right amount and duration of light.
The following product that I found for you is a Fluorescent UVB bulb. Fluorescent bulbs give visible light with low intensity. They provide a consistent UVB gradient over a large area, your terrarium. But they are definitely not meant to be a heat source.
And finally a recommendation about exposing your pet reptile to natural sun light. Although a fluorescent UVB bulb provides enough to keep your bearded dragon or ball python or turtle healthy, it still would be great for them to be exposed to natural sunlight. Maybe you can even build an outdoor enclosure where you can keep your reptile for some hours each day – when the weather is good and warm of course.
Zoo Med ReptiSun T8 UVB Fluorescent Reptile Bulb
- Emits 10% UVB from surface of the lamp
- Prevents or reverses metabolic bone disease
- Ideal for larger terrariums where greater than 12“ of UVB penetration is needed
- High quality German bulb
- Size: 18“, more sizes available
Great UVB/UVA source for my Ball Pythons. Does what it’s supposed to do! This is a T8 bulb (F17T8/REPT to be exact.) The box says this bulb will produce UVB for an entire 12 months when used daily for 10-12hours.
This bulb is a must have for any desert reptile owner.
I used these for my bearded dragons for years, and they are simply the best UVB you can buy for them.