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Ultraviolet A Light Bulbs and Lamps – Product Review – Part 2

Redheaded Rock Agama Please see Part I of this article for a description of UVA light, information about its importance to reptiles and amphibians and its role in their captive husbandry.

Light and Heat

In addition to promoting natural behavior and improving the appetites of many captive reptiles and amphibians, ( Part I), the light emitted by UVA bulbs will also accentuate your pets’ natural colors.

The models listed below are incandescent, and therefore provide heat and encourage basking.  When placed in close proximity to florescent UVB bulbs (which emit little heat), UVA bulbs can help assure that your pets receive the full spectrum of essential light rays.

Light Cycle

The length of the UVA light cycle provided is critical, especially for those creatures that are native to areas subjected to seasonal changes in sunlight intensity and duration.  Ideally, you should study the natural habits and ranges of the animals in your collection, and endeavor to provide them with an appropriate light cycle.

Suggested UVA-Emitting Bulbs (Lamps)

Zoo Med manufactures a number of useful UVA bulbs. Select a foodRepti-Halogen Bulbs are available in 50-150 watt sizes.  Repti-Basking Spotlights offer a narrow, tight beam, and range in size from 25-150 watts.

Zoo Med Turtle Tuff Halogen Bulbs  are water-resistant, and so can stand up to the splashing that is so common around aquatic turtle basking areas without breaking.  They have an average life of 2,500 hours.

Other high quality UVA bulbs include the Hagen Sun Glo Daylight Halogen and R-Zilla’s Spot Day White Bulbs and Incandescent Day White Bulbs.

Providing Ultraviolet A Light (UVA) to Reptiles and Amphibians – Part 1

While the role of UVB light in the care of reptiles is well understood, we are only beginning to learn about their needs for UVA. Unlike UVB, UVA may also be critical to the proper husbandry of amphibians and invertebrates. Today I’ll summarize what is known; in Part II of this article we’ll take a look at some of the UVA-Emitting Bulbs currently available at ThatFishPlace/ThatPetPlace.


UVA light has a wavelength of 320-400 nanometers (a nanometer measures 1 thousandth of 1 millionth of a meter…don’t ask me how that was figured out!) and is visible to herps and many invertebrates, but not to people.

The Pineal Gland

UVA light sensed by an organ known as the pineal gland (located near the brain) of many reptiles.  It functions in the regulation of their “internal clocks” or circadian rhythms, and is believed responsible for daily and seasonal behavioral changes in response to varying light levels.  A similar process is at work in amphibians and at least some invertebrates.

Uses in Captivity

The provision of UVA light encourages natural behavior, better appetites, basking and breeding in a great many species.  UVA reflective areas on animals and plants (which we cannot see) help a variety of creatures to identify mates, food and predators.

A lack of UVA may be responsible for the failure of many otherwise hardy species to breed regularly in captivity.  For example, without UVA light, female desert iguanas cannot see the pheromone trails laid down by males in breeding condition, and hence may fail to reproduce.

Unlike UVB, which is generally not essential to nocturnal animals, UVA light may have a role in regulating the behavior of both diurnal and nocturnal species.

Next time we’ll take a look at some UVA-emitting bulbs.  We have a great deal to learn about UVA.

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