Arcadia Reptile Range
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Here at Arcadia Reptile we decided to re-write the lighting advice that was being given. We used science when doing so rather than generalisations. Now, keepers are able to use the published outputs of lamps to re-create the UV levels (UVI) of species in the wild. We studied the wild UVI in the environments of common species and we looked at the habitats of popular species with the aim of understanding how each species used solar energy.
We looked at skin thickness in each species and checked this with tetrachromacy (the reptile’s ability to see UV light), aiming to find how much light would be available per species in the wild. We also discovered what is now known as leaf or rock scatter illumination. These are the terms used to describe light that travels down from the forest canopy or passes through holes and gaps in rocks. This means that those species which were traditionally classed as low light requiring species, in fact are now known to use UV levels efficiently.
For example, golden mantella frogs may have been traditionally kept with a 2% T8 UV tube as standard. However reports of their behaviour in the wild show that they often use sunspots created by breaks in the forest canopy which have quite high levels of heat and UV. As such we would now suggest using a higher powered lamp in conjunction with heavy planting to allow this dappled light effect.