Do bearded dragons need UVB at night? I was surprised by how little effort it took to care for my bearded dragon! These lizards need clean conditions and plenty UVB light during the day along with careful attention to their diet and maintenance. However, while UVB lighting is crucial for your beardie to produce vitamin D3 in its skin, it isn’t necessary at night. In this guide, I’ll take a closer look at why this lighting is so important, and why it’s okay for us to turn it off overnight, so you can provide the best care possible for your beardie.
- What lighting do beardies need?
- How much UVB is best?
- Do bearded dragons need UVB at night?
- Bulb type and ideal set up
- Simulating day and night
- What about heat at night?
- Basking lights for reptiles
What Lighting Do Bearded Dragons Need?
Bearded dragons come from Australia’s outback, where the intense sun naturally gives them the UVB they need to be healthy. As I’ve explained a moment ago, this lighting helps our beardies to produce vitamin D3. Without this, your dragon will not be able to absorb calcium. And bearded dragons with low levels of calcium can suffer from something known as metabolic bone disease. So, creating the right lighting in a tank at home is vital for your reptile’s health.
How Much UVB Lighting is Needed?
Your bearded dragon must be exposed to light for at least 10 to 12 hours daily. Lack of UV exposure may cause various health concerns, such as appetite loss, and metabolic bone disease. And, it’s not just UVB that’s important. UVA radiation stimulates and maintains your bearded dragon’s appetite!
Ideally, you should give your bearded dragon at least 14 to 16 hours of daylight light and UV exposure throughout the summer. This light cycle should be reduced to between 10 and 12 hours of daily light and UV exposure throughout the winter.
Do Bearded Dragons Need UVB at night?
While UVB light is essential for your bearded dragon’s health, just like us, they don’t like any bright lights shining on them while trying to get some sleep. You may have heard that these reptiles need a red or blue light at night, but this information is false. While some people think they look nice at night, they actually annoy your little friend and disturb its sleep cycle.
If you’re worried about the temperature at night, there are alternatives for heating your bearded dragon’s tank. You can invest in a ceramic heater, for example. These are great for keeping beardie warm while he gets a good night’s sleep in total darkness. I’ll take a closer look at some more of these towards the end of this guide.
Bulb Type and Ideal Lighting Setup Tips
To provide UV radiation for bearded dragons, it is essential to use full-spectrum bulbs. Never use a regular fluorescent light. Only use bulbs made specifically for reptiles who live in the desert.
If the tank measures 50 inches, the bulb to choose should be 40 inches long. If the cage is longer, you should use two bulbs to provide adequate UV radiation throughout the tank. Place the fluorescent light no more than 12 inches from the enclosure’s floor. Placing these bulbs more than 12 inches apart significantly limits their efficiency.
Simulating Day and Night for Your Bearded Dragon
The sun’s rising and setting is a big part of our lives, and bearded dragons are no different. It is critical to simulate day and night inside the cage. The precise levels of exposure to daylight and darkness may differ. However, the bearded dragon must constantly be exposed to the sun for 10 to 12 hours each day.
A timer is the most effective method for achieving accurate light cycles. The timer will automate regular light cycles by turning the lights on and off at designated daytime periods.
How Much Heat Do Bearded Dragons Need at Night?
Bearded dragons don’t need a lot of heat at night, either. Remember that the forests in its native Australia tend to be pretty chilly at night and rather hot during the day. Considering their native environment, bearded dragons survive very well at night without light or heat.
These reptiles are cold-blooded animals. They naturally get warmer as the night goes on and the morning arrives. A cool climate (but not too chilly) will do just fine for them, whereas excessive heat at night will simply make them uncomfortable.
Bearded dragons thrive in an environment that is 95°F or 35°C throughout the day. They would be alright if the temperature were around 65°F or 18°C at night. Anything below these temperatures might cause concern, and you should set up some moderate heating to bring the temperature above these numbers.
Any reptile enclosure must have a basking light. Basking lights provide a method for reptiles to take in warmth and control their body temperature by simulating the sun’s natural heat. When it comes to basking lights, the most crucial thing is that they provide adequate heat. It’s worth knowing that by giving your bearded dragon a place to escape the heat of the basking light helps in cooling and temperature regulation.
Maintaining a steady temperature gradient is essential for a healthy habitat. Therefore, I’d recommend positioning the basking and cooling zone on opposing ends of the tank. Your bearded dragon can change its temperature by moving from the warm area right under the basking light to the cooler area farther away.
Final Thoughts: Do Bearded Dragons Need UVB at Night?
To summarize, bearded dragons do not need ANY type of light at night. Although UVB light is required for your bearded dragon’s health, when bearded dragons are trying to sleep, they do not like when lights shine on them. However, you should ensure that your bearded dragon will be exposed to light for at least ten to twelve hours daily.
More Bearded Dragon Care Tips
- Is it safe to walk a bearded dragon outside?
- Complete care guide
- Can I give my beardie beetles?
- Will my beardie bite me?
- Wright, K. ‘Two Common Disorders of Captive Bearded Dragons (Pogona Vitticeps): Nutritional Secondary Hyperparathyroidism and Constipation’, Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine (2008)
- Diehl, J. (et al), ‘A Comparison of UVB Compact Lamps in Enabling Cutaneous Vitamin D Synthesis in Growing Bearded Dragons’, Journal of Animal Physiology and Nutrition (2018)
- Kroenlein, K. (et al), ‘Serum Vitamin D Levels and Skeletal and General Development of Young Bearded Dragon Lizards, Under Different Conditions of UV-B Radiation Exposure’, Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances (2011)