How long can a bearded dragon go without UVB? This is one of the most important questions that bearded dragon owners can ask.
As you might already know, bearded dragons need UVB light to keep them healthy all the time. The lack of UVB exposure will surely cause many health risks in them.
So, how long can a bearded dragon go without UVB?
Bearded dragons won’t survive long without UVB light. In most cases, bearded dragons can only last for two days without UVB. UVB is a source of Vitamin D that plays a very important role in calcium absorption. Poor calcium absorption will result in many potential health risks in beardies.
One of the most common health issues in bearded dragons associated with calcium deficiency is a metabolic bone disease. This condition is serious in bearded dragons.
Metabolic bone disease is characterized by weak and brittle bones. Affected bearded dragons may suffer from different health problems.
As a beardie owner, you need to make sure that your reptile gets the right source of UVB. Another issue with a lack of UVB exposure is a digestive problem. Beardies’ digestive system won’t be able to break down food thoroughly.
As you know, a condition like this will most likely result in an impaction. This is another serious health problem in bearded dragons. If not treated immediately, it could result in death.
Related Article: How Long Can Bearded Dragons Go Without Heat?
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How Much UVB Do Bearded Dragons Need?
It is very important to remember that UVB light plays a very vital role in beardies’ health. Bearded dragons in captivity often have the problem of calcium deficiency. This is due to the lack or wrong choice of UVB lighting being used.
In the wild because bearded dragons are exposed to natural sunlight so they get a lot of UVB. In captivity, they should get the same amount too.
My recommendation is that you should pick a UVB light that provides 8-10% UVB. In my experience, not all UVB bulbs have the same rate. So do not treat all UVB lights equal.
When purchasing, make sure to check the specifications on the packaging. I have included my personally chosen UVB light bulbs below for your reference.
Choosing the right UVB bulb is one thing. The other important thing you need to remember is UVB exposure for your bearded dragon.
As a rule of thumb, bearded dragons in captivity should have 8-12 hours of UVB exposure every day. It is important that they have access to the UVB light during the day. I recommend that you turn the light on during the day and turn it off at night.
Bearded dragons are diurnal. This means that they are mostly awake during the day and sleep during the night. In the night, they don’t need UVB so don’t forget to turn the light off. You can use a timer to avoid forgetting the light to turn it off.
Giving the correct and appropriate amount of UVB light to your bearded dragon often needs UVB gear.
Recommended UVB Bulbs
As mentioned, bearded dragons in captivity need a good source of UVB light. The enclosure should have one. If the UVB bulb also provides heat, make sure that the setup is not too close to the reptile. This can potentially cause burning. So be careful.
As you know, there is a variety of lighting for bearded dragons you can choose from. But bear in mind that not all of them can provide the 8%-10% UVB requirement for bearded dragons.
When choosing one for your reptile, you need to check the packaging to make sure that you choose the correct one.
To help you figure out what is best for your reptile, I have listed a few of my trusted UVB brands. The following may also work well in your beardies.
Here are my recommended UVB Bulbs:
Exo-Terra Repti Glo
My first recommendation is the Exo-Terra Reptie Glo (click here to check this bulb on Amazon). What I like about this UVB bulb is that it fits with most fixtures. And more importantly, it is primarily made for bearded dragons. With this lighting, you can assure that your beardie gets what he/she needs.
Zoo Med Reptisun 2-Pack
My second recommendation is the Zoo Med Reptisun 2-Pack (click here to check this bulb on Amazon). This is a little bit expensive choice but you will get two. What I like the most about these bulbs is that they are super durable and fit with virtually any fixtures.
Zilla UVB Fluorescent Bulb
My third recommendation is the Zilla UVB Fluorescent Bulb (click here to check this bulb on Amazon). What I like the most about this bulb is its durability. It lasts a long period of time. For an average cost, this is one of the great options you can have for your reptile.
Additional Tips to Keep Bearded Dragons from Having Calcium Deficiency
UVB light is just part of the whole picture as far as keeping bearded dragons from having calcium deficiency goes. There are other things that you need to make sure that your bearded dragons have.
One of which is making sure that your reptiles get a correct and appropriate diet. For young beardies, for instance, they eat more insects than greens. In fact, about 80% of their diet should compose of greens.
The reason for this is because young bearded dragons need more protein for their speedy growth. Adult bearded dragons on the other hand mostly consume greens than insects. Their diet is mostly composed of about 80% greens and 20% insects. They don’t need much protein sources as they used to.
But whatever the age of your bearded dragon, greens can supply their calcium needs. Just make sure to choose the healthy greens.
It is important to monitor the diet of your reptiles to make sure that they get the perfect food that could provide calcium to them.
Another thing to consider is calcium-rich insects. When it comes to this food category, Dubia Roaches (Click here to check these roaches on Amazon) are some of the best choices.
These roaches are becoming more and more popular feeders for beardies. They are safe and healthy. And most importantly, they provide the nutritional needs of bearded dragons.
The last thing you can do to provide calcium to a reptile is by adding calcium supplements to their diet. My recommended calcium supplement for beardies is Fluker’s Vitamin Supplement (check it on Amazon).
Final Thoughts on How Long Can a Bearded Dragon Go Without UVB
Bearded dragons need UVB light. Without it, they cannot live healthily. In fact, in the absence of UVB, bearded dragons can only last for two days.
As a bearded dragon owner, there is so much you can do to keep your reptile healthy all the time. One of the things to consider is providing the right and appropriate lighting.
When choosing the right bulb, do not treat all bulbs are equal. Some bulbs could not give the required UVB light to beardies. The general recommendation is to pick the one that gives 8%-10% UVB.
Aside from lighting, also make sure that you provide a healthy diet. Give your reptile greens and live insects that have good calcium content. This will also keep them healthy and free from health risks.
I hope this helps. Thank you very much for reading.