Bearded dragons have specific lighting requirements in order to remain healthy and vibrant. The most important lighting requirements for a bearded dragon is the ultraviolet lighting received from the sun.
UVB rays emitted from the sun are crucial for the synthesis of vitamin D3. The production of vitamin D3 enables calcium absorption in the bloodstream. Both vitamin D3 and calcium are essential in bone growth and strength, and also preventing Metabolic Bone Disease.
UVA rays help to stimulate bearded dragons, improve appetite, maintain higher activity levels, and even promote breeding. The third eye (or parietal eye) detects UVA radiation which stimulates hormone production and release.
Use Fluorescent Bulbs To Replicate The Sun
Captive bred bearded dragons spend the majority of their life indoors. Without exposure to the natural sun, we must replicate important ultraviolet rays to ensure a healthy pet.
The most common method to replicate solar radiation is to use a full-spectrum light bulb. The primary bulb type used specifically for reptiles is fluorescent bulbs.
In recent years, reptile supply manufacturers are producing compact fluorescent lights (CFL) which help to save space and improve energy efficiency.
Expose bearded dragons to a full-spectrum lighting for a minimum of eight to ten hours per day to ensure adequate exposure to UVA and UVB rays. It is ideal to expose the bearded dragon to adequate lighting for up to fourteen hours in the spring and summer and for up to ten hours per day during the fall and winter.
Lighting Placement and Positioning
Place UV bulbs in a shielded fixture and set on top of the screen cover of the enclosure. Positioning is important because UV bulbs will lose intensity over certain distances.
Most manufacturers require the bulb to be within twelve to eighteen inches from the lizard.
Replace full-spectrum light bulbs as often as possible. These bulbs lose their effectiveness after a few months of use. The rule is to replace the full-spectrum bulbs after six months.
Some Precautions for Lighting Requirements for a Bearded Dragon
There are a few precautions to take for supplying sufficient lighting to your bearded dragon. You may take bearded dragons outdoors, under warm conditions, so it may receive some natural sunlight.
Never place the enclosure near a window where sunlight can enter it. The glass from home windows and from glass enclosures filters out UVB and UVA rays, so your bearded dragon will not gain any effects from the sunlight.
The sunlight can also heat the enclosure to points that can be unsafe for your pet. Think of a car with the windows rolled up in the summer. That is what can happen to your bearded dragon’s home if the sun peers in.
One other precaution is to make sure the lighting fixtures are not near anything flammable. You don’t want to start a fire!
For more information on lighting for a bearded dragon check out our articles – The Best Lighting for a Bearded Dragon and our Care Sheet page on Bearded Dragon Lighting.
Daniel Stark says
My new baby dragon falls on his back and can’t get back up? He also points his his head high in the air and to the left? I just bought him 4 days ago!! The other one I bought with him is fine