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Last updated : 01/04/2007

This page is indexed on our home page under Aspect: 4. Information & care sheets and the Section: Housing and House Keeping

Unraveling the mysteries of UV lighting.

What is UV

The term UV is short for Ultra Violet and is not visible by human eyes though it is a vital part of natural sunlight.

UV radiation is divided into three levels:

UVA(longwave) is the visible to herps and plays a part in natural behaviors in diurnal reptiles and amphibians like feeding, breeding and is good for their overall well being.

UVB(midwave) is noted for its ability to promote the synthesis of vitamin D3 (D3) in the skin. Without vitamin D3 some reptiles are unable to use the calcium, and even if offered as a daily supplement, could still suffer from MBD (Metabolic Bone Disease)

UVC(shortwave) is another portion of the invisible spectrum. It can be extremely dangerous and has been known to actually alter DNA. It is most often used in UV Sterilizers found in the aquarium and water gardening hobbies to kill algae and bacteria.


Which reptiles need vitamin D3

Some reptiles obtain vitamin D3 from their prey items.

Nocturnal species do not bask in the sun and therefore do not need UVB.

Snakes do not require UV light

Green Iguanas(herbivores), American Anoles(insectivorous), and Bearded Dragons(omnivore) all need UVB light.


Sources of UV

Natural Sun light

Glass, plexi-glass filter almost all UV light

Even fine mesh can reduce the amount of UV light delivered to the animal.

fluorescent tubes & fluorescent power compact bulbs

Artciles about

UV GUIDE UK - Researching the use of ultraviolet light in reptile husbandry


Lighting, and its use in Herpetology. by Matthew R O’Brien (PDF)

Chameleon Lighting By Rob Lane


ReptiStar and other products from  (pdf)

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Last update : 01/04/2007