Metal Halide Bulbs are the absolute best UV source for your pet reptile on the market. Combining optimal levels of UVA, UVB, visible light, and heat, Metal Halide Bulbs are simply the best. Metal Halide Bulbs will bring out natural behaviors in your pet reptile, as well as increase it's coloration and overall health. Metal Halide Bulbs are perfectly safe to use as the sole source of light for your pet reptile, and are available at a great value at Josh's Frogs. Metal Halide Bulbs are ideal for those animals that have adapted to high-sun exposure conditions, such as bearded dragons, monitors, and many tortoises.
What is Full Spectrum lighting?
Concerning reptile and amphibian lighting, full spectrum lighting is simply a marketing ploy attempting to make the light source in question sound more balanced or complete than it really is. While full spectrum bulbs do emit light across many wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum, the light emitted is by no means balanced. While sunlight is considered full spectrum, the vast majority of bulbs advertised as full spectrum do not supply the same benefits of sunlight. When it comes to choosing correct lighting for reptiles and amphibians, consider full spectrum lighting as a sales gimmick and nothing more.
What is UV light?
UV light is an abbreviation for ultraviolet light, which has a wavelength of 400 – 10 nanometers, shorter than visible light. As far as reptile keeping is concerned, there are 3 types of UV light – UVA, UVB, and UVC.
UV light is naturally found in sunlight, and is the basis for life on earth. Organisms utilize UV light for photosynthesis, which makes up the base of most food chains on earth. The planet's ozone layer blocks almost 80% of the UV light emitted from the sun from reaching the planet's surface, mostly at the more harmful, shorter wavelengths. Still, we all have experienced UV light – that's what causes sunburns.
What is UVA light?
UVA (400-315 nm) makes up about 95% of the UV radiation that reaches the surface of the earth. Humans cannot see UVA, but many species of reptiles can. While humans have 3 types of cones in their eyes that allow for color vision, reptiles have 4 types of cones, with the 4th cone detecting UVA. Many reptiles also can detect UVA with their pineal gland. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that reptiles denied UVA tend show less interest in food and an overall reduction in activity.
To visualize how a lack of UVA would affect your pet reptile, imagine yourself going through life colorblind. Think of all the vivid colors you would miss out on. Many brightly colored foods would be much less appetizing. You'd have a reduced perception of the environment around you, and your overall well being would be greatly diminished. UVA should be provided for all diurnal reptiles when possible.
What is UVB light?
UVB (315-280 nm) is the spectrum of UV light most reptile and amphibian keepers are concerned with. UVB plays a vital role in the production of Vitamin D3 in your pet reptile or amphibian's body, which facilitates uptake of dietary calcium and fights maladies such as metabolic bone disease. Without UVB, reptiles and amphibians (and you!) cannot efficiently utilize calcium, and will eventually end up deficient in this vital mineral. A lack of calcium results in poor or improper bone growth, and can result in metabolic bone disease. Proper calcium levels are also vitally important to ensure proper function of the nervous system.
While the relationship of UVB, Vitamin D3, and calcium is well known, UVB plays other important physiological roles too. Exposure to healthy levels of UVB light are important for normal functioning of the immune system, cell growth, blood pressure, and even insulin secretion.
Keep in mind that low levels of UVB are present in the shade on a sunny day, and many nocturnal reptiles and amphibians are probably exposed to UVB in nature. Animals that eat whole vertebrates, such as snakes, may not need UVB, as they receive Vitamin D3 from their prey. For most species of reptiles and amphibians, dietary supplementation of Vitamin D3 does NOT provide the same benefits as UVB lighting.
What is UVC light?
UVC (280-100 nm) is filtered out by the ozone layer and does not normally reach the surface of the planet. UVC is harmful to living cells, and is often used in butcher shops and laboratories to limit microorganism growth. UVC should never be used in your reptile or amphibian enclosure.