In the wild the sun not only provides light, it also provides essential heat and UVA and UVB radiation. Since terrarium animals are ectotherm, they are much more dependent on high-quality light than warm-blooded vertebrates are. It influences their activity, their digestion and their resting periods. Their well-being is enhanced by UV light. In short, the lighting determines daily routine and animal welfare. Light places literally attract terrarium dwellers to sunbathe and are associated with heat.
We will briefly present what types of lighting are available and which of them suit your animals, in the following:
- Light with UV for tropical forest animals (rainforest, dry forest & swamps): Many forest animals receive a reasonable amount of UV light through their way of life, e.g. on the treetops or on the river banks. Light without UV for tropical forest animals (rainforest & dry forest): Some tropical forest animals live on the ground or in the shade and don’t need any UV light, which can then even be harmful. Heat for tropical forest animals: Tropical forest dwellers often need high daytime temperatures and slightly lower nighttime temperatures (e.g. Amazonia with 32 °C during the day and 23 °C at night – shouldn’t fall below!). Switching the warming lighting off during the day means the temperatures are lowered at night.
- Light with UV for desert animals: Day-active animals in deserts and steppes need large amounts of light and UV and a lot of them need local heat spots too, which can be actively accessed. Since light is associated with heat, irradiated spots are automatically visited. Heat for desert animals: Desert animals are used to high daytime temperatures and often to low nighttime temperatures. If they get too warm during the day, they need to be able to retreat to cooler places in the terrarium.
Crepuscular and nocturnal animals
- Light for crepuscular and nocturnal animals: Many of these animals only become active once the prevailing daytime UV radiation decreases at twilight. Please illuminate normally with UV light during the day (see “Light with UV”). Heat for crepuscular and nocturnal animals: Nocturnal animals from tropical forests need higher temperatures between 23 and 30 °C at night too, whereas nocturnal desert animals prefer lower temperatures of 15-22 °C.
You will find a product advisor on the respective types here: The right light and heat for your terrarium