One of the most crucial components of caring for a pet bearded dragon (genus Pogona) who lives inside is ultraviolet B lighting. Bearded dragons require a lot of it. If a bearded dragon's UVB light is broken, he ceases receiving sufficient amounts of ultraviolet B light waves, which can lead to fatal consequences.
UVB Lighting Importance
Bearded dragons' living environments call for UVB lighting in full spectrum. They have to have between 12 and 14 hours of this lighting daily. It's important for these lizards to have it, because they employ it to produce vitamin D. Vitamin D, in turn, is imperative for helping their bodies properly absorb calcium. UVB lighting is key for bearded dragons' development. Without it, they could suffer from some serious medical consequences that they don't always survive. Take the matter of a broken light extremely seriously. If your beardie's UVB light isn't working, replace it immediately. Keep backups available in your home if possible.
Enclosures by Windows
Don't ever try to use the sun as a substitute for a broken UVB light. Although the sun is indeed optimal for providing bearded dragons with necessary UVB lighting, it's effective only when the snake gets direct contact with its rays without the disruption of barriers. If a bearded dragon's enclosure is situated right in front of a window that gets ample sunlight, it won't serve at all for getting the lighting to your lizard. UVB lighting can't penetrate glass or plastic. Meanwhile, bearded dragon aquariums by sunny windows can trigger inordinate heating of their living environments -- not good. UVB lights located too far away from bearded dragons can also be of no use, the same as positioning the lights behind glass or another material. If you're unsure of how to correctly set up your beardie's lighting situation, talk to a reptile veterinarian.
Frequent outdoor sessions can be good for bearded dragons, enabling them to get a little time in the sun. It's vital to carefully monitor your bearded dragon outside. Never let your pet roam freely outdoors.
Metabolic Bone Disease
Metabolic bone disease is a serious ailment that can affect bearded dragons. This disorder is triggered by inadequate levels of calcium in the body, which inadequate UVB lighting can cause. Metabolic bone disease is characterized by lizards' bones becoming extremely feeble. Some typical effects of the condition include difficulties in moving, intense exhaustion, absence of appetite and swelling of the back legs. Reptiles with metabolic bone disease often experience bone breakage, too. Not only can the disease drastically affect bones and mobility, it can be life-threatening. Timely veterinary attention is crucial for all bearded dragons with the condition. Metabolic bone disease is especially prevalent in bearded dragon youngsters -- those not even 2 years in age.
- RSPCA: Bearded Dragon
- ReptileChannel.com: Bearded Dragon Care Sheet
- VCA Animal Hospitals: Bearded Dragons - Diseases
- Wildwood Veterinary Hospitals: Bearded Dragons
- University of California Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital: Care of Bearded Dragons
- Chicago Exotics Animal Hospital: Care of Bearded Dragons
- Marlborough Bird & Animal Hospital: Care of Bearded Dragons
- Karingal Vet Hospital: Metabolic Bone Disease
- PetEducation.com: Metabolic Bone Disease in Reptiles
- BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images