Recreating a Natural Environment
Reptiles are outdoor creatures that generally live in hot climates. In order to thrive as indoor pets, it is necessary to recreate their natural environment through the use of specialist lighting and heating equipment. Just like humans need the sun, and without recreating the features of natural light, your reptile may become fatally ill.
UVB is needed to enable Vitamin D production in your Reptile's skin. This vitamin controls calcium metabolism, or the body's ability to maintain calcium levels. Calcium deficiency will lead to the development if Metabolic Bone Disease in less than six months.
UVA light isn't visible to humans, but it is a part of the colour spectrum that reptiles can see, and without it, they will be colourblind. UVA is also important to maintain your Reptile's physcological health, stimulating feeding, breeding and other natural behavours.
Reptiles and Amphibians are ectotherms, or coldblooded, which means that they must move in and out of the heat in order to maintain their ideal body temperature. Without a proper heat gradient, their bodies cannot thermoregulate (heat up) and they will become ill. Heat mats and basking lights are used as heat sources in your vivarium to help your reptile maintain its body temperature.
Day and Night
While some reptiles are active during the day (diurnal), some a night time (nocturnal) and other at dawn and dusk (crepuscular), all reptiles need a proper Photoperiod or day/night cycle to stimulate their normal activities. Day and night light bulbs are used regulate this.