Small Breed Rescue of Southern California
One of the most important topics to be covered when it comes to keeping a reptile revolves around the lighting you select for your animals enclosure. There is a lot of misinformation on the internet about what lighting is sufficient and if they need lighting at all. To complicate this many starter kits sold in pet stores often times do not include the correct lighting, or include insufficient lighting for what is likely to be the most important time in the animals growth cycle.
You can think of a reptiles required lighting in terms of 4 important wave lengths: Ultraviolet B (UVB), Ultraviolet A (UVA), Visible Light, and Infrared.
Clint at Clin'ts Reptiles is one of the best resources for reptile information on YouTube and consequently has a great episode on the importance of UVB lighting for all reptiles. Below is a great video to help you understand a bit more the importance light plays even for nocturnal animals.
Now that we've covered the need, lets talk about the different options you have to satisfy those needs. Lets start by going over UVB lighting which should be your first priority.
Mercury Vapor bulbs offer an all in one UVA, UVB, Visible Light and Infrared. Don't confuse this with a spot lamp, they are not even close to the same thing. These bulbs are highly situational, harder to find, very expensive, have a short lifespan, and generate a lot of unregulated heat. They are best suited for large open air type enclosure that make use of a large basking area. They are not suited well for enclosed glass or melamine enclosures as they can turn them into an oven. These provide an intense but focused light source that provides UVB to the most distance of any other light, typically up to 4 feet away. While good heat for basking, I would not run this on a thermostatic controller due to wear and tear and this light does not provide for any heating when there should not be any light so its not a good primary heating source.