What is UV Light? Ultraviolet light (UV) -is waves of energy particles Wavelengths of UV light are too short for us to see.
UV light is confusing – what are the different types?! Important: UV -A and UV -B
UV UV -A: responsible for normal behaviours such as feeding, basking, mating etc UV -B: synthesis of Vitamin D which helps to process calcium (UV -C: harmful)
Why is UV Important? General wellbeing and normal behaviour Feeding, mating, daily routines, growth, immune function Important for muscles, blood, bones and every other process in the body! Vitamin D conversion allows proper absorption and metabolism of calcium
How Does is Work? UV light → skin → vitamin D synthesis → increased calcium absorption from diet Complex interplay between calcium, Vitamin D, various organs and hormones!
And if we don't get it right? (Assuming that nutrition and temperature are perfect....) Too little AND too much UV? Brittle bones or softening of bones → fractures Swollen limbs, soft swollen jaws Constipation Stop eating and emaciation Partial paralysis Tremors/twitching Turtles – soft shells Burns, blindness, cancer, infections
Generalisations Snakes: require UV-B but not high requirements (natural diet of whole prey has high levels of calcium and vitamin D) Amphibians also do not seem to require UV-B Anecdotal evidence of improvement from exposure Diamond pythons, lizards and turtles require UV-B ALL SPECIES REQUIRE UV-A
Source 1) Sunlight 2) Fluorescent light bulbs Species dependent – 1-2 hours per day
Sunlight Best form Don't expose during hottest parts of day Ensure they have a cool, shady area to retreat to Need natural unfiltered sunlight
Fluorescent Light Bulbs Heat source should be separate from UV light source, but at the same end of the enclosure Glass and plastic filter out 95% UV-B rays Bulb must be kept inside enclosure! Bulbs should be replaced every 6 months Wide mesh screens over bulbs to prevent burns (aluminium fly screens filter 30%)
Distance Further distance = less UV Basking spot of 10-12 inches/25-30cm below bulb (in enclosure) is ideal Not to the side – glare Gradient – so can shelter from UV-B
Bulb Recommendations Fluorescent tube that runs 2/3 of the length of enclosure Effective at 30cm distance Well known brands e.g. Zoo-med, Exo-Terra NOT one hit wonders Not compact bulbs 5% or 5.0 NOT metal halide or mercury NEC T-10 Blacklights
Where to Purchase Pet stores Krempins Aquarium and Garden Centre Valley Reptile Supplies Pet Barn The Hydro Shop -Brock Internet Herp Shop Sugarloaf Animal Hospital
Confusions 1) Ratings and numbers 5% or 5.0 = the amount of UV-B emitted out of the total amount of energy- prefer less than 5.0 CRI = equivalent to light spectrum of sun at noon 2) Incandescent = heat, visible light and UV-A (frosted, reflector floods, spots, halogen) 3) Fluorescent = visible light, UV-A and UV-B (FS-fluorescent sun lamp, black-light (BL) fluorescent tubes)
Confusions continued 3) Basking/spot lights = provide heat not UV 4) Full spectrum = wide spectrum = not UV-B 5) Compact twisted bulbs – UV-B disperses quickly 6) Blacklight Blue - eye damage
Summary Why is UV light important? UV- A and B Affects every aspect of health and wellbeing Painful and life-threatening consequences How do we provide UV light? Unfiltered sunlight or fluorescent bulbs Where to get reliable information? Internet, vets, societies