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Old 03-18-18, 05:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question UV light feedback/ suggestions

Hi everyone!
I had a question regarding UV lighting for snakes.

So I don't own any snakes at this moment but I do plan to in the future.
In the meanwhile, I'm researching care requirements and improvements for my future animal.
I planned on heating my tank using Ceramic heat emitters, halogen lamps or other types of lamps that could provide enough heat to ensure correct temperatures for my animal. ( and I will use a thermostats/thermocontrollers to make sure the temperatures are correct)
While researching this I also found that UV light does improve the vitamin development in snakes.
My main question is would I need to select a UV lamp specifically for my species of snake? or could I add any low wattage UV lamp as long as I ensure the temperatures are correct? any other feedback on UV lighting for snakes is greatly appreciated!

Thanks in advance for any replies!
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Old 03-18-18, 05:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: UV light feedback/ suggestions

I literally just made a post on that on another thread as a reply (so not tailored to you...)

Let me just copy it here:

Study on how much UV is required for reptiles based on where they are found in the wild and their basking behavior. Past all the references you'll find a list of species and their needs, which also includes snakes:
View of How much UVB does my reptile need? The UV-Tool, a guide to the selection of UV lighting for reptiles and amphibians in captivity.

Study on the increase measured in corn snakes Vitamin D3 levels once provided with a minimal UV light source. Here we can see a drastic increase (4x) in this critical hormone:
https://avmajournals.avma.org/doi/ab.../ajvr.69.2.294

Study on the spectral transmission of snake and gecko eyes:
http://repository.naturalis.nl/document/555628

Study on the retina and spectacle of snakes:
https://academic.oup.com/mbe/article...25599#87278724

Study on the eyes of Boa constrictor:
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/....1002/jez.1076

Study on the eyes of Python regius:
http://jeb.biologists.org/content/je.../1931.full.pdf

And since reptiles, amphibians, mammals, birds, all belong to VERTEBRATES, all studies that involve Vitamin D3 and its role in metabolism also apply to your Carpet python, or any other snake. It's a huge list of studies, and I'm sure you are able to find plenty of information on google on the benefits of sunlight, or specifically the role of vitamin D3 if you not yet know about it.

People always tend to bring forward that "snakes eat whole prey diet, and have so for decades in captivity without adding UV because their prey contains what they need" which I'm not about to refute. However the levels of vitamin D3 between captive and wild specimen vary wildly. Leading to believe that captive snakes may well be in a state of constant hypovitaminosis D or close to it. They may have enough to stay alive, but may not actually thrive.

And totally on the other side of that, many snake species, and more specifically crepuscular and nocturnal species, have UV sensitive eyes (see study linked above) - so they can see this spectrum. Not providing them with this is like you living your day in constant yellow light (when we would remove blue completely for you). It is thought that this supports them in foraging for prey (as urinates light up under UV), predator avoidance, and possibly mate selection/communication.

Last edited by TRD; 03-18-18 at 06:01 PM..
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Old 03-18-18, 05:47 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: UV light feedback/ suggestions

Also, if you need help in selecting lighting setups including UV, feel free to ask
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Old 03-18-18, 07:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: UV light feedback/ suggestions

I've read that UV lighting can have some benefits for reptiles but it's not a necessity. I only know a few keepers that provide UV lights. I'd be curious to see the differences between animals that have UV compared to those that don't.
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Old 03-18-18, 08:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: UV light feedback/ suggestions

Would love that 2 Ziggy... but science is lacking behind.

Besides the one thing they did proof, which is that vitamin D3 levels on animals provided with UV are much higher and on equal levels with wild specimen. There is no baseline on vit D3 status on which we consider healthy for snakes. The assumption is that the levels they maintain in the wild would be the healthy levels.

Other than that there's a ton of anecdotal evidences where people report increased activity, better feeding response, and daytime basking for species that are otherwise hidden all day. I recently opened a post of facebook to gather input of a group on snakes basking under UV and their experiences and got nearly 200 replies and all positive. From my own experience I can say that I had a remarkable change in behavior after adding UV... my kingsnakes were actually found out and basking during daytime under the UV.

And then there's the whole item on snake vision, which has nothing to do with health, but a large role in overall well being.

And of course... now that one can safely add UV light, why wouldn't one do so?
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Old 03-19-18, 08:05 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: UV light feedback/ suggestions

Quote:
Originally Posted by TRD View Post

And of course... now that one can safely add UV light, why wouldn't one do so?
I see it the exact same.
If science shows that the snakes potentially have a better life when having UV in their enclosure why not add it.
It would only take a small amount of effort for me and it is my responsibility to recreate the snake's habitat as much as I can.
and well yeah, the sun is kinda a thing on this planet.
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Old 03-19-18, 08:31 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: UV light feedback/ suggestions

Quote:
Originally Posted by LightHawk View Post
I see it the exact same.
If science shows that the snakes potentially have a better life when having UV in their enclosure why not add it.
It would only take a small amount of effort for me and it is my responsibility to recreate the snake's habitat as much as I can.
and well yeah, the sun is kinda a thing on this planet.
Am actually in the process of doing this for my 3 reptiles, none of which supposedly need UV. Had purchased a nice new cage for my kingsnake early this year with LED lighting. Have since read about potential benefits of UV, both A & B. Now I wish I'd ordered that cage with a florescent fixture instead of LED. The next two cages have UV bulbs. Am about to retrofit the kingsnake's enclosure with UV.
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Old 03-19-18, 08:58 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: UV light feedback/ suggestions

Your snakes will love it. Just make sure that not 100% of the length of the vivarium is covered with UV light... just like thermal gradients, UV also have to be provided as a gradient for high(er) UV at the same side as the basking light to no UV on the cool side. This is important, besides of course the appropriate strength of the UV light.

If you need help selecting the light, do not hesitate to shoot me a message -- or alternatively you can join the FB group 'Reptile Lighting' which specializes in the full spectrum of light provided to reptilians (I'm also active on there).
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Old 03-19-18, 10:39 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: UV light feedback/ suggestions

The lights are set up on one side of the cage giving full light in that area. The cage furnishings offer areas of filtered light from mild shade to very deep shade. The cage hides, 3-4 per cage, offer almost complete dark. Have tried to arrange it so there is bright light & deep shade not only on the floor of cage but also on the upper levels.

My kingsnake likes to climb up on the perches, which are actually designed for arboreal species, and bask under the RHP. Sometimes he's directly under it & other times he's on the far end of the perch. Have added greenery so part of the perches have varying amounts of shade. Hopefully this will give enough opportunities to choose how much UV he gets.
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Old 03-19-18, 12:17 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: UV light feedback/ suggestions

Yes they will regulate it themselves... it was shown in Chameleons and Iguana's that they perfectly know how much UVb they need to reach good levels by giving 1 group only UV and the other group UV + vit D3 supplements. The group that got supplements made far less use of the UV light to bask.

But it's a whole different story just how good supplements are... it's heavily frowned upon as there's simply no supporting research how much supplements they need, and well, you have to understand the animals D3 status to give the right dose to start with... which would require blood testing. What we are doing now by randomly giving D3 supplements to the animals is guesswork at best.
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Old 03-19-18, 07:15 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: UV light feedback/ suggestions

I'm always leery of supplementing fat soluble vitamins.

What I'm still not sure about is the amount of UV. My current ones are 5 & 6%. Guess I will go with 6% again for the kingsnake.
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Old 03-20-18, 12:25 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: UV light feedback/ suggestions

Kingsnakes like about a UV Index between 0.7 and 1... this is what is normally registered during their basking periods during sunrise/sunset.

What is the distance between UV light and animal, and it is mounted inside of the terrarium or outside of it. If outside is there a screen in between? I'm sure you know UV doesn't go through regular glass...

There are a few options;

UVb CFL, generally not the best choice, should be mounted horizontally not vertically. Will have a very high value of UV close to the light but a very sharp drop off. When mounted horizontally is similar to a T8 in output and drop off.

UVb T8, can be used at close distances, but doesn't add any value at distances of 1ft/30cm or greater. Should be used with a reflector to double the output, general bulb life is about 9 months.

UVb T5HO, can be used at greater distances especially with a reflector. Care should be taken because at close distance has a very high UV output. Ideal for above mesh (mesh reduces output by about 35%) but should never be used for gecko's since they can hang upside down right under the T5. Lifetime can exceed 12 months with good quality bulbs (ie- Arcadia). Mostly the preferred choice.

MVB/HID, generally used supplementary with a T5HO to create a basking site with a higher UV output, and add too general light output. HID lights may drop in UVb output fast, within 6 months. Generally has proportionally a very high output in UVa, much higher than sunlight. Some HID lights can be very bright, in excess of 200.000 lm, and require some care in placement. Neither light can be dimmed. Generally only good for larger enclosures. Not a good light for heat output AT ALL even though they put it on the packaging (UVa+ UVb + Heat in one bulb) because at the range the heat output is good, the UVb and visible light is much too high.
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