As the weather warms, many bearded dragon keepers begin to worry about their dragons getting too much UVB. UVB is a form of radiation that is very well known to cause skin cancer in humans.
Bearded dragons require daily UVB ray exposure, however, can a bearded dragon get too much UVB? is too much exposure to UVB bad for your bearded dragon? In this post, we will explore whether too much UVB is bad for bearded Dragon
Can a dragon get too much UVB?
Yes, excessive exposure of your beardie to UVB is bad and may cause oral problems, eye irritation, and can lead to egg binding. Also, too much UVB on your beardie can cause them to suffer photo-kerato-conjunctivitis, hypercalcemia or hyperkeratosis. Bearded dragons should be exposed for 20-30 minutes on a regular basis with a timer as a norm. However, Bearded dragons are self-regulatory experts provided that they are in the right habitat.
Too much lack of vitamin D can lead to the development of metabolic bone disease, so it’s important to provide UVB lighting and eat UV-enriched foods. For bearded dragons, UVB is necessary. UVB helps to absorb calcium, calcium, and healthy bones and blood in healthy metabolism. A shortage of UVB could lead to major health problems, such as metabolic bone and cancer, and can limit growth and development in health. However, too much exposure of your beardie to the same UVB can be fatal.
There is still discussion as to the optimum level of UVB in bearded dragon enclosures but most experts agree that 1-2 hours per day is sufficient for most species. A study of bearded dragons who were exposed to UVB for 8-10 hours per day for 4 weeks showed that they had an increase in Vitamin D levels and no negative effects on health. It is known that too much UVB can lead to egg binding so it is best to use a timer to prevent over-exposure.
What happens if a bearded dragon gets too much UVB?
UVB is vital for bearded dragons. UVB promotes a healthy metabolism, calcium absorption, and bone and blood health. A lack of UVB can lead to major health problems such as metabolic bone disease and cancer, as well as limiting health growth and development.
If it gets too much ultraviolet light, a bearded dragon can be affected negatively in many ways. For instance, if the UVB is so strong it dries out its skin, scales start to peel and eventually fall off. Too much UVB also causes problems with their ability to absorb calcium and vitamin D; both of these are important for healthy bones and growth. Too much UVB may also cause their bodily functions to slow down or stop working properly which can lead to the bearded dragon dying from kidney failure.
Too much UVB can also aggravate the bearded dragon’s immune system and cause excessive stress on the animal which can lead to severe health problems like Photokeratoconjunctivitis, hypercalcemia, or hyperkeratosis which are all symptoms of photo-keratoconjunctivitis. A massive overexposure may have the same effects as a UVB deficit, except that it will cause renal failure due to hyperparathyroidism.
Hyperkeratosis is a situation whereby an Overexposure of your bearded dragon to UVB rays can cause the alignment which results in the excess thickening of your beardie’s skin.
In order to keep a bearded dragons healthy, it is important to keep their light levels low and monitor how much time they spend exposed to sunlight. Once a day, let them bask in bright light for a short period of time but not too long because they may develop skin lesions, infections, and other medical problems.
How many hours a day does a bearded dragon need UVB light?
The bearded dragon requires a minimum of 10 hours and a maximum of 12 a day of UVB light. If you are using the proper wavelength, your dragon will absorb as much as possible, which will result in healthy and vibrant coloration. The best way to test if your UVB is an appropriate wavelength is with a UVA/UVB detective light. You can purchase one on Amazon.com for under $10. The 6500 K light will produce a reading in the visible spectrum and your dragon’s actual UVB, and you can compare the two readings to test if you are using the correct wavelength.
Bearded dragons are nocturnal, which means they need a little less of the UVB spectrum than those who bask in direct sun all day. UVB is known to be toxic to humans, but it is not known to be harmful to lizards, in most cases. Bearded dragons can tolerate a very small amount of UVB, so you need not worry about deadly levels of UVB reaching your dragon.
You also need to make sure you are providing your bearded dragon with the appropriate temperature gradient.
How long do I need my UVB light on for my bearded dragon?
The proper amount of time to have the bulb on for is 12 hours a day. Your UVB light should be the first thing you turn on in the morning, and the last thing off at night. In between your bearded dragon will receive his regular daylight, which is all that is needed to cycle his day and night.
How much UVB does a bearded dragon need?
A bearded dragon needs 10 hours of UVB every day to produce vitamin D3. The UVB should be provided by a light-emitting diode (LED), fluorescent bulb, mercury vapor lamp, or halide lamp. The light should be within 12 inches of the animal’s basking spot. UVB will not penetrate glass, so never use a glass or plastic cage.
Lights requiring ballasts and special fixtures are not recommended for bearded dragons because they can create harmful EMF (electromagnetic field) exposure. Mains-powered lights with special magnetic ballasts must be placed at least 3 feet away from where the animals will be basking.
There are several compact light fixtures available for bearded dragons that are mounted on the back of the cage. These lights should be placed within 12 inches of the basking area and operated on a timer cycle (12 hours on, 12 hours off). The shorter wavelength UVB is most easily produced by mercury vapor bulbs or miniature halogen bulbs and these are widely available in pet stores and online.
How long can bearded dragons go without UVB?
A bearded dragon can survive without UVB light for two days. They can’t absorb calcium effectively if they don’t have Vitamin D, which leads to a slew of ailments that damage your pet’s bones and body, leading to death in the worst situations. Two days may not seem like much (and it isn’t), but consider how this lizard developed to have a critical need for the Vitamin D it absorbs.
Protect your beardie by keeping a few extra UVB bulbs available so you don’t have to worry about your beardy’s UVB requirements. We would gladly recommend the Zoo Med Reptisun 10.0 Uvb Mini Compact Fluorescent for your Bearded Dragon. You can also read about Reptisum 5.0 and 10.0, to find out which is best for your bearded dragon?