One of the most important—and perhaps most complicated—parts of owning a reptile is making sure that they have the proper environmental conditions. Lighting is a crucial part of that. Many reptilians need both UVA light and UVB. In fact, inadequate lighting can cause pets to have trouble producing Vitamin D. Deficiencies in this important vitamin can lead to serious—and potentially fatal—illness and disease, such as MBD. A Wichita, KS vet offers some tips for choosing reptile lighting below.

Do Your Research

First and foremost, read up on your specific pet, and what their needs are. Our animal companions are all different. A lizard from a jungle climate, such as a chameleon, is going to have different needs than one from a desert , such as a Leopard gecko. Age is also a factor: older animals may need basking lights in a spot that’s easier to reach. For years, the rule-of-thumb advice was to go with 10% lamp for reptiles that are from desert terrains, such as, and to use 5% UVB for those that originated in forest or desert environments. However, every animal is unique, so it’s important to get specific advice. 

Consider Cage Size

The distance from the light to your pet should also factor in. For instance, a 100-watt bulb may work fine for a 40 gallon tank, but may be too strong for a smaller one.

Avoid Colored Lights

With the exception of red heating lamps, you’ll generally want to opt for white lighting, which will replicate sunlight more closely. That flashy black light may look cool, but your reptile’s health and comfort should always come first. It’s also important to only get reptile lights: regular incandescent ones won’t emit the UVB your pet needs.

Consider A Timer

Reptiles do best when their environment mimics natural light cycles, meaning they should have UVB lights on during the day but only heat lamps at night. This is why many people use a halogen bulb with a heat projector during the day. You can do this manually, but you may find getting a timer is well worth your while. 

Ask For Help

If you’re a first-time reptile owner, one of the first things on your to-do list should be finding a vet that works with reptiles. We can also be a great source of advice. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!  

Please contact us, your Wichita, KS veterinary clinic, with any questions or concerns about reptiles. We’re here to help!