"Pet Bearded Dragon Care & Information (Pogona vitticeps)"


Bearded Dragon UV Lighting


Bearded Dragon UV Requirements

It has been proved scientifically that Bearded dragons need ultraviolet (UV) lighting for both physiological and physical reasons. Light particles consist of various wavelengths, from very short (ultraviolet) to very long (infra-red). You might also recall the light spectrum (or the colours of the rainbow) from school, namely red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. Humans tend to see all these basic colours, but our eyes are not adapted to see the two extremes (very short and very long). Bearded dragons can also see some of these colours, but they tend to see the short end of the scale, namely ultraviolet more brilliantly than us.

Bearded dragon UV requirements can further be broken down into UVA and UVB which will be discussed in more detail later.

Note: The Bearded dragon Lighting section should be seen in conjunction with the Bearded dragon Temperature section.

What Kind Of Light Does A Bearded Dragon Need?

Remember that Bearded dragons originates from the desert areas of Australia. They are desert animals, basking all day in the sun. Now this is not only for their temperature requirements, but also to absorb some of the sun's UV rays to fill their UV requirements. Unfortunately for them (fortunately for us) natural UV rays are blocked out by walls and even windows (yes, UV does not travel through glass). Thus in captivity, they need the additional full spectrum UV lighting.

To supply your pet Bearded dragon with adequate UV, you have one of two options:

  1. Artificial Bearded dragon UV

  2. Natural Bearded dragon UV

What is more is that Bearded dragons will benefit from both UVA and UVB.

Bearded Dragon UV Lighting

For artificial Bearded dragon ultraviolet requirements, a full spectrum reptile or more specifically Bearded dragon UV light should be installed. These lights are commercially available from specialized pet shops. The intensity of these UV lights (see the side of the box for details) should preferably be 8% or higher. Most commercial Bearded dragon lights will mainly emit UVB with little quantities of UVA.

Bearded dragon UV lighting should be mounted no more than 30 cm / 12 " above the main basking area. Closer is better. Make sure the UV light is not too close to prevent the dragon from burning.

UV lighting for Bearded dragons can be in the form of commercial fluorescent tubes, compact fluorescent lamps, mercury vapour flood and spot lamps.

Generally UV lighting should be replaced about every six months (depending on the manufacturer's recommendation). All lights (including basking lights) should be on for about fourteen hours per daily. Bearded dragon electrical timers can be used for this purpose.

Natural Bearded Dragon UV Lighting

It is recommended that a Bearded dragon still gets natural UV, even if "adequate" artificial UV lighting is installed. Natural lighting from the sun will expose a Bearded dragon to both UVA and UVB rays.

How much light does a Bearded dragon need?

Any natural exposure is better than nothing, but more UV is better. Bearded dragons should be exposed to at least one hour of sunlight per day, but two or more hours is strongly advised if no artificial lighting is supplied.

Outdoor Enclosures

Various outdoor Bearded dragon enclosures can be used for proper UV exposure.

Bearded Dragon UVA

Basking reptiles need UVA for proper sight and makes moving food appear more visible, which indirectly stimulates feeding and other natural Bearded dragon behaviour. Unfortunately UVA is not emitted by all commercial Bearded dragon lights, but fortunately healthy Beardies are not as dependant to this group as for the UVB group.

Bearded Dragon UVB

UVB rays are needed for calcium absorption and bone mineralization. This is the more important range of the UV spectrum for Bearded dragons. Although natural sunlight is better, most Bearded dragon lights will emit adequate amounts of UVB.

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