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Reptile Lighting – Combo Units for UVB Lights, UVA, Heat and Night Bulbs

mediaHello, Frank Indiviglio here.  Although I have kept reptiles and amphibians since childhood, and worked in zoos for most of my adult life, I remain amazed by the array of herp-care innovations that are available to us today.  True, not all are necessary (and some are downright ridiculous!), but many are indispensable to serious hobbyists and zookeepers alike.   Advances in reptile lighting technology, for example, help private keepers to breed animals that, not so long ago, failed to thrive even in large zoos.

I’m particularly fond of combination hoods and fixtures, especially when I recall the rat’s nest of tangled wires and lamps that topped every zoo exhibit and holding cage years ago…thinking back to my early years at the Bronx Zoo, I cannot imagine how we avoided fires and electrocution!  Combo hoods have space for several different types of bulb, allowing us to keep UVA, UVB, heat and night (red/black) bulbs in one place. In addition to the convenience factor, the movable sockets and integrated timers included in some models increase our ability to establish thermal gradients, natural day/night cycles and “dawn/dusk” periods.  Today I’ll review a few reasonably-priced units offered by two well-known leaders in the field.

Desert Iguana

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by Wilson44691

The Zoo Med Combo Reptile Hood

Depending upon the size selected, this hood holds 2-4 incandescent bulbs and 1 florescent UVB/UVA bulb.  Separate switches for each bulb allow for the creation of day/night cycles, and eliminate the need for a separate unit to hold black/red nighttime bulbs.

The Zilla Combo Light Fixture

This is the most versatile, comprehensive hood I know of.  The 48” model has 5 halogen ceramic sockets, allowing one to use an assortment of T5 florescent UVB, heat, daylight and night bulbs, and is equipped with an integrated timer.

The sockets are movable, so light beams can be directed where most useful.  This lets us easily pair UVB and heat bulbs, assuring greater UVB exposure for basking reptiles.  The creation of thermal gradients is also simplified.  Thermal gradients, which allow animals to move from warm to cooler areas, are critical to good health.

t250874The Zoo Med Mini Combo Deep Dome Light

This simple unit features 2 separate fixtures that can be used to house a day and a night (red/black) bulb or 2 of either.

The manufacturer’s specifications state that, when compared to similar models, the Mini Deep Dome deflects 30% more light into the terrarium.

Please check out my posts on Twitter and Facebook.   Each day, I highlight breaking research, conservation news and interesting stories concerning just about every type of animal imaginable.  I look forward to hearing about your interests and experiences as well, and will use them in articles when possible.

 

Please also post your questions and comments below…I’ll be sure to respond quickly. 

 

Thanks, until next time,

Frank Indiviglio

 

Further Reading

UVB: Why do Reptiles Need It, and Which Bulbs are Best?

Providing UVA to Reptiles

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About Frank Indiviglio

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Being born with a deep interest in animals might seem unfortunate for a native Bronxite , but my family encouraged my interest and the menagerie that sprung from it. Jobs with pet stores and importers had me caring for a fantastic assortment of reptiles and amphibians. After a detour as a lawyer, I was hired as a Bronx Zoo animal keeper and was soon caring for gharials, goliath frogs, king cobras and everything in-between. Research has taken me in pursuit of anacondas, Orinoco crocodiles and other animals in locales ranging from Venezuela’s llanos to Tortuguero’s beaches. Now, after 20+ years with the Bronx Zoo, I am a consultant for several zoos and museums. I have spent time in Japan, and often exchange ideas with zoologists there. I have written books on salamanders, geckos and other “herps”, discussed reptile-keeping on television and presented papers at conferences. A Master’s Degree in biology has led to teaching opportunities. My work puts me in contact with thousands of hobbyists keeping an array of pets. Without fail, I have learned much from them and hope, dear readers, that you will be generous in sharing your thoughts on this blog and web site. For a complete biography of my experience click here.
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