Full spectrum UV (ultraviolet) light is one of the hands-down most important needs your redfoot tortoise will ever have.
- UVA light is vital for mood, appetite and quality of life.
- UVB light is vital to develop strong bones, shell and immune system.
Just because a bulb product bears a label that says “full spectrum UV” does not necessarily mean that the bulb provides full spectrum UVA AND UVB. Some bulbs are UVA only, which is not sufficient for what your redfoot needs to be healthy.
There are only two types of full spectrum UVA/B bulbs that are suitable for a pet redfoot tortoise: mercury vapor and fluorescent.
- A mercury vapor bulb will provide both light and heat.
- A fluorescent UVA/B bulb will provide light only (so you must supplement with a separate heat source as needed – refer to the section here on heat and humidity for suggestions about providing a standalone heat source).
One thing first-time redfoot tortoise keepers usually do not realize is that all full spectrum UVA/B bulbs have a relatively short useful life. Just because a bulb is still producing bright light does NOT mean it is still producing adequate UVA/B output!
- Mercury vapor bulbs typically produce full strength UVA/B for four to six months.
- Fluorescent UVA/B bulbs typically produce full strength UVA/B for three to four months.
If you do not want to invest in a UVB meter to measure output on your bulb, put a note in your calendar to change out your bulbs every three to four months depending on which bulb type you decide to use.
You will need to adjust the strength of the bulb to the size and age of your redfoot.
The full spectrum UVA/B bulbs listed here below will provide both full-spectrum UVA AND full-spectrum UVB light for your redfoot tortoise.
NOTE: If you decide to use a different brand of full-spectrum UV bulb, be prepared to do more research to be sure that bulb can deliver what your redfoot needs. The best way is to invest in a UVB meter to make sure the output matches what the manufacturer states that bulb will provide. Remember, without adequate daily full-spectrum UV, you are setting your tortoise (and your heart, and your wallet) up for lifelong health problems!
- PowerSun UV mercury vapor bulb (80W, 100W, 160W)
- T5 H.O. (high output) ReptiSun 10.0 UVB
- T5 H.O. (high output) ReptiSun 5.0 UVB