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  • Writer's pictureIan Bromham

What went WRONG??

Updated: Mar 31, 2023

Bearded dragons need veterinary check ups just like cats and dogs do
Bearded Dragon Care

Common UVB Mistakes.

So what went wrong??

We all want the best for our scale babies, so why is what we are doing, killing them?

We all know the reptiles that need UVB lighting and so as responsible keepers, we make sure that we give our babies this essential link to promote health.

But often I hear these questions;

Why is my beardie sick? Why is my dragon lazy? Why is my ackie not eating?

Something you are doing is killing them slowly. Did you know that depending on where you have placed their UVB, will determine the output and therefore the benefit for the reptile.

Common mistakes I see keepers doing are:

1. The UVB blocker.

If you have your UVB globe on top of your enclosure with any Perspex, plastic or glass between it and your reptile, the UVB rays can’t penetrate this material.

Commonly people use old leaking aquariums as reptile enclosures. While this is a great money saver and recycling initiative, if you keep the glass cover and sit the UVB on top, you may as well not buy the globe in the first place.

Common Bearded Dragon Enclosure - Reptile enclosure
Common Bearded Dragon Enclosure

n this picture the UVB hood is on the opposite side to the basking area, the distance and the interference from the mesh top would greatly limit the beneficial UVB rays.

2. The mid strength.

Using the wrong strength globe is another contributor to MBD. Do you know the UVB strength required for the reptile you are keeping?

With all the different brands on the market it can be confusing what is the right globe.

You may be wondering, “what UVB does a beardie need?” "Does my gecko need UVB?"

Bearded dragons need a minimum of UVB 10.0. There are stronger globes on the market including UVB 15.0 and the high output T5 globes. The same can be said about most of the desert dwelling dragons.

3. The “dude, where’s my car?”

Sometime UVB globes seem to get lost in the enclosure. Pay attention to where your reptile is basking, especially if you are using the screw type compact UVB globes. You want the globe directly above where your baby spends most of their time.

Ideally, we should use a UVB tube that is about 2/3 the length of the enclosure. This way the reptile can freely move around its enclosure and thermoregulate, while still receiving the crucial UVB rays.

4. The old timer.

We all know what happens when we get older. Things start to slow down and fall apart.

The same happens with our UVB globes.

Unlike our basking lights which if they are on, they are working. The powder inside the UVB globe diminishes over time. This means the strength that the reptile is receiving is reduced.

It is recommended that UVB globes should be replaced every 6 months. This is regardless if the globe has blown.

The only exception to this is if you have a UVB output measuring device.

5. The solar flare.

Sometimes too much of a good thing is dangerous. The opposite to point 2 - the mid strength, if the UVB output is too high this can cause problems too.

Knowing the correct strength of the globe is critical. Especially when you are dealing with nocturnal species and albinos.

Check out our YouTube series "bearded dragon Care"

What to look out for?

If your reptile is lethargic/lazy, has a reduced appetite, weakness or paralysis, shaking and tremors.

These are indications of Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD).

If your reptile is displaying any of these symptoms, I implore you to get your baby off to a reptile vet ASAP.

Don’t waste anytime, as early intervention leads to a higher success rate.

Bearded Dragon with Metabolic Bone Disease
Bearded Dragon with Metabolic Bone Disease

How to send death packing.

The key to successfully recovery as I just mentioned is early intervention. You will need to assist your reptile back to health by giving them liquid calcium orally.

Make sure you have the appropriate location and strength lighting. Also, these globes need to be replaced routinely.

Finally, frequently take your reptiles outside for natural sunlight, there is nothing better than the real thing.

Please feel free to send us some feedback below.


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