UV lighting requirements vary by species but it’s essential you select and provide the correct UV lighting solution to keep your reptile healthy. If in doubt ask us what your reptile needs and we will be happy to advise you.
Your reptile needs UVA light as it promotes social behaviour, reproduction, activity levels, digestion, feeding and basking.
A lack of UVA light leads to physiological, behavioural and health issues as it impairs the reptile’s ability to interact with their environment causing stress.
UVB light is required to maintain vitamin D3 and calcium levels. When your reptile is exposed to UVB light it is able to start synthesising vitamin D3 in the skin.
Vitamin D3 allows reptiles to metabolise calcium, regulate the immune system and promote organ development.
Without the correct amount of UVB, your reptile may suffer from calcium deficiency or develop painful diseases such as metabolic bone disease.
The D3 Cycle
The D3 Cycle is a chemical and hormonal change in the body of an animal, which goes on to produce vitamin D3.
This cycle is a biological process that is dependent on many external factors including access to natural light, heat, cool and rest.
This process begins when a cholesterol called pro vitamin D is produced in the animal’s skin. When this cholesterol is exposed to natural light (including UVB at 290-315nm), it is turned into pre-vitamin D within the skin membrane.
After exposure to warmth, this newly manufactured pre-vitamin D is converted in the skin membrane into vitamin D3.
Vitamin D3 is then sent out into the blood plasma and is bound with a vitamin D binding protein.
This part of vitamin D is then carried to the liver where it converts to a hormone called calcediol.
The blood carries this calcediol all around the body into the kidneys. It is in the kidneys that some of the hormone turns into another hormone called calcetriol. This compound plays an essential role in calcium metabolism by controlling blood calcium levels. Calcetriol’s role is also important to both the immune and cardiovascular systems.
Although vital to the well-being of reptiles, UV exposure plays many more roles in the body than the D3 cycle alone. Impacts on sight, breeding and mental well-being are all documented.
It is therefore essential your reptile is provided the correct amount of UV light.