The Importance of Ultraviolet (UV) Light for Reptiles

  • Providing the proper light requirements in your reptile’s habitat is very important for ensuring your reptile’s physical and mental well-being.
  • Natural, unfiltered sunlight is the best source of UV light, but it can be difficult to provide.
  • Artificial light is an alternative source of UV light that can often be easier to provide than sunlight.

What Is UV Light?

The sun gives off more than just visible light, it also emits light that we cannot see, such as ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV light is a frequency of electromagnetic radiation that is higher than the violet spectrum of visible light but lower than x-rays.

UV Light Types

UV light is divided into three types: UVA, UVB, and UVC. UVA light cannot be seen by humans but can be seen by reptiles. UVB light cannot be seen by humans or reptiles. While both UVA and UVB light are helpful to reptiles, UVC light is harmful to both humans and animals. Therefore, UVC light is not a recommended element in reptile care.

Why UV Light Is Needed

Exposure to UVA light promotes a healthy activity level, foraging, feeding, digestion, social behavior, reproduction, and basking. Exposure to UVB light is needed to maintain vitamin D3 and calcium levels, which are important to maintaining the health of reptiles. UV light requirements vary by species, so consult your veterinarian to find out what your reptile’s needs are.

How to Provide UV Light

Exposure to natural sunlight is the most ideal way to provide UV light, but this may not always be possible. A much more reliable way to provide UV light is to use UV light bulbs. With the growing popularity of reptile keeping, UV light bulbs can be found in most pet retail stores and online stores. It is important to monitor your reptile’s habitat equipment and replace UV light bulbs as recommended. Assess your reptile’s habitat setup regularly, and modify it based on your reptile’s health.