TEXT VERSION: Redfoot Tortoise Lighting Needs
….with exotic animal specialist (herpetologist) Danielle Inman & redfoot tortoise keeper Shannon Cutts
SHANNON: What is the best type of lighting for a pet redfoot tortoise to be healthy in captivity?
DANIELLE: The straight answer to that question is SUN. The sun is unparalleled when it comes to providing the UVB [light] and heat needed to keep your tortoise happy and healthy.
Now, for a lot of people outdoor enclosures aren’t an option. And for very young redfoot tortoises like hatchlings and juveniles it is a bit difficult to do that safely sometimes.
And so the best synthetic light options are options with science and research behind them.
Things like mercury vapor bulbs, compact fluorescent UVB bulbs and also tubular fluorescent UVB bulbs are all good options for providing the necessary UVB light.
Now, if you opt for one of the bulbs besides the mercury vapor bulb you will have to use those in conjunction with a separate heat source. As I said, you will have to use them together in conjunction.
The compact fluorescent and tube-style fluorescent bulbs do not provide enough heat to keep your tortoise comfortable.
NOTE from Shannon
Choosing the wrong lighting was the single biggest MISTAKE I made as a novice redfoot tortoise keeper. So you want to lock this into your brain straightaway.
The wrong bulbs = potentially fatal to your tortoise, especially in the hatchling and early juvenile years.
Even if you have the right bulbs, the wrong placement of those bulbs (too far away, too close, etc) = potentially fatal to your tortoise.
As Danielle emphasizes in the video you just watched, natural sunlight truly is best whenever possible.
So if you need or want to opt for indoor lighting for your redfoot, you really, really, really want to get this part right!!