Do bearded dragons need UVB at night? I was surprised at how little effort it took to take care of my bearded snake! These lizards need clean conditions and plenty of UVB light during the day, as well as careful attention to their diet and maintenance. Although UVB lighting is vital for your beardie to produce vitamin D3 in its skin, it is not necessary at night. In this guide, I’ll take a closer look at why this lighting is so important and why we should turn it off at night so you can give your beard the best possible care.
What lighting do bearded dragons need?
Bearded dragons are native to the Australian outback, where the strong sun naturally provides them with the UVB radiation they need to stay healthy. As I explained a moment ago, this lighting helps our beard produce vitamin D3. Without this, the dragon cannot absorb calcium. And bearded dragons with low calcium levels can suffer from metabolic bone disease. So creating the right lighting for your tank at home is vital to your reptile’s health.
How much UVB light is needed?
Bearded dragons should be exposed to light for at least 10-12 hours daily. Lack of UV exposure can cause a variety of health problems, such as loss of appetite and metabolic bone disease. And it’s not just UVB that’s important. UVA radiation stimulates and maintains the bearded dragon’s appetite!
Ideally, you should give your bearded dragon at least 14-16 hours of daylight and UV exposure throughout the summer. This photoperiod should be reduced to 10–12 hours of daily light and UV exposure throughout the winter.
Do bearded dragons need UVB at night?
Although UVB light is important to the health of bearded dragons, they do not like bright lights shining on them when they are trying to sleep. You may have heard that these reptiles need red or blue light at night, but this information is incorrect. While some people think they look nice at night, they actually irritate your little friend and disrupt their sleep cycle.
If you are concerned about the temperature at night, there are options for heating your bearded dragon tank. You can invest, for example, in a ceramic stove. These keep his beard warm while he gets a good night’s sleep in complete darkness. I’ll take a closer look at some of these at the end of this guide.
Bulb type and ideal lighting
In order to provide UV radiation to bearded dragons, it is necessary to use full spectrum lamps. Never use an ordinary fluorescent lamp. Use only bulbs specially formulated for desert reptiles.
If the container measures 50 inches, the lamp you choose should be 40 inches long. If the cage is longer, use two lamps to provide sufficient UV radiation throughout the tank. Place the fluorescent lamp no more than 12 inches from the floor of the enclosure. Placing these lamps more than 12 inches apart will significantly limit their efficiency.
Simulate day and night for your bearded dragon
The rising and setting of the sun is a big part of our lives, and bearded dragons are no different. It is important to simulate day and night inside the cage. Exact levels of exposure to daylight and darkness may vary. However, the bearded snake must be constantly exposed to the sun for 10-12 hours every day.
A timer is the most efficient way to achieve precise photoperiods. The timer automates regular light cycles by turning the lights on and off on specific days.
How much heat do bearded dragons need at night?
Bearded dragons also don’t need a lot of heat at night. Keep in mind that in its native Australia, the forests tend to be quite cold at night and quite hot during the day. Given their native environment, bearded dragons survive very well at night without light or heat.
These reptiles are cold-blooded animals. They naturally warm up as the night progresses and the morning arrives. A cool climate (but not too cold) suits them, while excessive heat at night only makes them uncomfortable.
Bearded dragons thrive in an environment of 95°F or 35°C throughout the day. They would be fine if the temperature was around 65°F or 18°C at night. Anything below these temperatures may be a concern and you will need to set moderate heating to bring the temperature above these values.
All reptile enclosures must have a solar light. Basking lights provide reptiles with a method to take in heat and regulate their body temperature by simulating the natural warmth of the sun. When talking about solar lights, the most important thing is that they provide enough heat. You should know that giving your bearded dragon a place to escape from the heat of the baking light will help cool and regulate the temperature.
Maintaining an even temperature gradient is essential for a healthy living environment. I therefore recommend placing the frying and cooling zones at opposite ends of the container. A bearded dragon can change its temperature by moving from a warm area just under the sunlight to a cooler area.
Final Thoughts: Do bearded dragons need UVB at night?
In conclusion, bearded dragons do not need ANY kind of light at night. Although UVB light is necessary for bearded dragon health, bearded dragons try to sleep because they don’t like light. However, you should ensure that your bearded dragon is exposed to light for at least 10-12 hours daily.
More bearded dragon care tips
- 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 Enhancing Ctaneous 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 Juvenile Bearded Dragon Lizards Under Different UV-B Exposure Conditions”, Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances (2011)