If you have owned a bearded dragon before, you will know how important UV light is for their health. But pet owners want to know; how long can bearded dragons live without UV light? At the end of the day, things can happen and it’s going to be important to know the answer to this question. For example, your UV light equipment could break and you may have to wait on the new one being delivered.
How long can bearded dragons live without UV light? The answer is that bearded dragons really need UVB light to live a long and healthy life or they may suffer from health problems. This means that they should only go one or two days at the most with no UV lighting in their enclosures.
Let’s have a look at this question in more detail, as well as why bearded dragons need UV light and how you can make sure that they are getting enough during the day.
How Long Can Bearded Dragons Live Without UV Light?
Bearded dragons should only go one or two days at the most without UVB light. This is because it is essential for producing vitamin D, which allows them to absorb enough calcium from the food that they eat.
When your bearded dragon has enough calcium, they can stay healthy against serious diseases.
Bearded dragons need UV light in their enclosure in order to resemble and copy the environment they would get out in the wild. These reptiles live naturally in a hot and dry climate, which means that they get a lot of sunlight and UVB rays.
So, you want their enclosure to be just like the desert where they are from, creating temperatures of up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit and giving out UVA and UVB rays.
Of course, you may be thinking, why do they really need UVB light? Well, the answer that this produces vitamin D, which their body needs. This provides them with the ability to absorb calcium from the food that they eat.
This is extremely important for reptiles and bearded dragons in particular. This is going to make sure they stay healthy and happy.
How Much UVB Light Do Bearded Dragons Need?
When you get a bearded dragon, you need to know how long to leave UV lighting on for in their enclosure. It is recommended to keep this equipment switched on for around 12 to 14 hours every day.
This is going to provide them with the UVB rays that they need. After this time, it can be switched off. There are timers that you can get that can do this for you in case you forget. This is going to resemble the daylight in the desert.
This means that if your UV light equipment does break down in your home, you need to replace it immediately. This is going to make sure that your bearded dragon stays happy and healthy.
If you have some spare cash and want to enjoy peace of mind, it’s recommended to keep a backup UV light in your home in case of emergencies.
Is Sun Through the Window a Substitute?
Of course, UV light can come through the window from outdoor sunlight. While bearded dragons benefit from sunlight, this will not apply when they are in an enclosure. It has to be direct. Your enclosure is most likely made from glass.
But this glass acts as a barrier between your bearded dragon and the UV light. Even if the enclosure is found right in front of a window, this is not going to be good enough for your pet. It simply will not be able to get through materials such as glass and plastic.
There is also the danger that this constant sunlight can increase the temperature of their living space, which may be dangerous for their health and wellbeing.
Where Should the UV light be?
The best place to position your UV light is somewhere at the top of the enclosure. This makes sure your bearded dragon can enjoy basking in the light but without touching the bulb directly. It should always be inside the enclosure and not outside of it.
The same thing applies to the UV lighting as sunlight; the glass or plastic will act as a barrier. So, the top of the enclosure is the best spot.
We recommend the UVB bulb in this article for bearded dragons. This is going to deliver the right about of UV light that they require for their health and ensure problems such as metabolic bone disease don’t happen.
What is Metabolic Bone Disease?
Metabolic bone disease is a serious condition that can occur in bearded dragons that don’t get enough UVB light every day. Essentially, it is a degenerative disease that can cause the bones to become weak and they can break easily.
Of course, this is the last thing that you want for your pet. It can make your bearded dragon seriously unwell and affect them at any age. It can even be fatal if it’s not taken seriously and changes are not bad to their lifestyle.
To prevent metabolic bone disease from happening to your bearded dragon, you have got to make sure they receive enough UVB rays during the day and that any lighting that is broken is replaced immediately.
It is possible for metabolic bone disease to develop after a couple of days without any UV light in their enclosure. This condition happens because they don’t have good levels of calcium to keep them healthy.
Some signs of metabolic bone disease are:
- Extreme tiredness and fatigue.
- Swollen limbs.
- Can’t walk or move around.
- Lack of appetite.
- Bone fractures.
It’s important that if you see any of these signs you contact your veterinarian immediately. It’s possible to reverse the early signs of metabolic bone disease, but this should be done with the help of a professional and it has to be done quickly.
Of course, you can lower the risk of this condition by making sure your bearded dragon doesn’t go longer than two days without UV lighting in their enclosure.
This will help their vitamin D levels stay high and at the optimum level to help them absorb the calcium they that need. It should also be switched on for 12 to 14 hours a day.
What is the best diet for bearded dragons? A bearded dragon should eat a mixture of meat and plants. Popular choices of meat include crickets and dubia roaches. There should also be access to fresh vegetables. Around 70 percent of a bearded dragon´s diet should contain of greens.
What vegetables should a bearded dragon eat? Bearded dragons can enjoy a range of vegetables. This includes greens, such as kale and parsley. They can also eat sweet potato and peppers. This should make up around 70 to 80 percent of an adult bearded dragon´s diet.
Do bearded dragons need water in their enclosure? Absolutely, bearded dragons do need access to clean water in their enclosure. They get most of their water from their vegetables but it should be accessible. In addition, bearded dragons love to bathe in a bowl of water.