How Long Do You Leave the Lights on for a Bearded Dragon?

Ideally, you would mirror the daylight times of Australia, although, without an expensive programmable timer, this won’t be practical. Instead, the basic setup is 12 hours on, and 12 hours off for both UVB and the basking spotlight bulb.

With a constant background temperature and lighting period, this tends not to stimulate brumation (hibernation) in the bearded dragon.

If you want to match the lighting cycle more closely and stimulate brumation and breeding behaviors then I recommend using the following lighting schedule for both the UVB and basking spot:

Spring: 12 hours
Summer: 14 hours
Autumn: 12 hours
Winter: 10 hours

For the wintertime, you may also want to cool down the tanks basking spot temperature a bit for more natural climates by about 10°C/ 24°F (29°C/ 80°F instead of a normal 40°C/104°F). This kind of temperate drop only needs to happen for 4-6 weeks and ideally, this kind of change should be gradual.

However, most of our homes naturally get colder anyway and so will produce this effect anyway, providing the temperature drop isn’t too severe (minimum 16°C / 60°F at night).

If you use supplemental heating to provide a constant background temperature, then you may want to lower this for winter slightly.

In hotter times in the summer we’ll turn off the basking spot for a while during the day, up to 6 hours off – depending also on if we take them outside to bask in the summer sun.

Remember that they need the heat to aid digestion and metabolism, but a good sign of overheating is constant gaping (mouth open) while in the cooler end of the tank.

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Remember, between every 6 to 9 months you need to change your UVB light source.

Filled under: Lizards

3 thoughts on “How Long Do You Leave the Lights on for a Bearded Dragon?”

  1. It’s really interesting to learn that you actually have to change the amount of light the lizard gets depending on the season. My son really wants a bearded dragon and I think that he is finally old enough to get one. We want the lizard to have the best life possible, so we need to make sure we do all the right care requirements.

  2. I was told UV light 24-7 and other light same as normal daylight after reading I’m guessing the guy didn’t really know what he was talking about probably shouldn’t work at Petco.

    1. Yes, you are right. Usually, they employ people who have no or very little knowledge about these reptiles. So, it’s highly recommended to confirm everything from multiple sources before actually applying them.

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