Reptiles/Lighting

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Question
Hi Thea,

I Have 2 Bearded Dragons But Recently Built A Viv For A Chinese Water Dragon, I've Been Using A UVB Tube But Was Just Wondering Would It Be Worth Using A Compact Florescent Or Should I Avoid Them All Together.?

Answer
Hi Brett,

The compact fluorescent bulbs got a deservedly bad reputation when they first came out several years ago. The intensity and type of UV produced caused eye problems in reptiles. The companies involved did make changes to correct the problem but for many people the trust in these bulbs was lost forever.

The issue was well documented in this site at the time but it has not been updated in a few years.  http://www.uvguide.co.uk/phototherapyphosphor.htm

That makes it rather difficult to know for certain whether the problem does still exist or not with these bulbs.

Personally, I continue to avoid them because of this past issue and also just due to the light gradient they give off. It is quite intense and concentrated in whatever area the bulb is placed. I prefer a more diffuse light over the entire enclosure which provides a better display and more even UVB exposure.

You might also consider using one of the a mercury vapour bulbs designed for use with reptiles. They are suitable for large enclosures and provide superior UVB to any of the fluorescents as well as heat. A standard and inexpensive fluorescent can then be used for general lighting and plant growth purposes if you use a Mercury vapour.  

Reptiles

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Thea

Expertise

I can answer questions on the proper husbandry and diet of Iguanas, bearded dragons, geckoes, skinks, chameleons, tortoises, box turtles, treefrogs, non-venomous snakes and tarantulas. Also the breeding of some species of feeder insects. I have no experience with venonmous snakes and only limited experience with aquatic turtles.

Experience

I have been keeping and breeding reptiles for over 30 years. In addition to my regular job in the medical field I also worked for several years in a pet store that specialized only in exotics. The job entailed both caring for and answering questions on innumerable species. It required constant, extensive research into a wide range of reptiles. I have been called to appear on televised national media (CBC, CTV and Life Channel) as well as CBC radio to discuss the proper care of reptiles and other exotics in captivity. I currently own one or more species of those listed under my expertise with the exception of chameleons. I owned chameleons for years but keep none currently. I keep over 20 snakes comprising 5 species, both Colubridae and Boidae. I bred corn snakes for several years. I have a particular interest in treefrogs and currently have 5 different species. I've raised redfoot tortoises for 10 years and have two iguanas, one for 12 years.

Publications
A small and now defunct local magazine called "Pet Vue"

Education/Credentials
Diagnostic medical microbiology with some parasitology experience.

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