Which Lights Do Lizards Need

and what are the best lights?

All reptiles need varying amounts of exposure to the sun for their health and/or mental well-being. Research will show there are many reptiles who do not require special lighting, however, there is a good chance even they would enjoy safe time outside with their family during warm weather, either in the sun or shade. No creature, not a single one wishes to never see or feel the sun, or at least get some fresh air and exercise wherever they may be. Those that may not actually need the sun’s rays for physical health include but are not limited to Earth-crawlers, cave-dwellers and they who thrive in dense tropical forests. *Safe: in a manner that they cannot escape to die where they are not native, that they are not where they may be stepped on, are carefully observed so they eat nothing they shouldn’t, or predators, such as birds cannot get them.

He’s actually not uncomfortable. He chose to hang this way.

So, now we have reptiles as pets, and we cannot always supply them with the life-giving hours of natural sunlight that many require. Luckily, some brilliant people have designed what is needed, an electrical supplement if you will. We have the UVA and UVB bulb inventors and manufacturers to thank.

Want to know more about UVA, UVB, and UVC (yes, UVC) rays? Click HERE

The video above was shared on this website: https://reptifiles.com/reptile-uvb-light-necessity/ This is a very informative website, we highly recommend you check it out and consider subscribing to their newsletter as we have.

Which reptiles are stated to need UVB and which ones do not? You’ll find a substantial list of common pet reptiles HERE.

To best mimic our beautiful sun’s rays, we have selected proper lighting and their accommodating fixtures. As with any product, you’ll read mixed reviews. but overall, the items featured below have good to excellent reviews and we use nearly all of them. If you have any questions or options to discuss, don’t hesitate to visit our contact page. We earn an Amazon affiliate commission of the sale prices of these products, as well as from nearly any product you choose while shopping through the images/links below, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for helping to support us.

Description: REPTI ZOO Reptile Terrarium Hood Tropical Desert T8 Strip Light Fixture for Use with One 18 Inch UVB Light Bulb 15 Watt(Not Include), ETL Certified

Description: (2 Pack) ZooMed ReptiSun 10 Hi Output UVB 18″ T8 15W

Why these? Desert dwelling lizards, those who naturally receive a lot of sun exposure, should receive nothing less than a 10.0 emission. These emissions are well-suited for other reptiles as well, such as chameleons. Although a 5.0 emission strength may be alright for a chameleon in a smaller enclosure, of course it is fairer to supply a larger enclosure with a stronger bulb and the space to lounge nearer or further, as he or she feels they should. The 18″ (45.72 c.m.) fits along the top of most enclosures while casting rays wide enough to suit many larger enclosures. There are shorter and longer options to be found using Amazon’s search engine and other suppliers as well.

As Murph is enjoying excellent February weather, I set his UVB bulbs beside him (I know, I know, it looks like they’re on him, but they’re not). They are too long to fit in the designated lightbulb box in the basement. They remain under his enclosure. I do keep one used bulb for emergencies, along with new ones kept in bubble wrap. That six-month replacement date happens fast. These dates are marked on the paper calendar & can be added to calendar apps.

  • As some may know, it is ideal to place hammocks, rocks, or branches that your lizard likes at the areas where they will spend most of their time basking under their UVA, heat lamps, and UVB bulbs.
  • Know your lizard, how large will they grow; are they avid climbers; do they mostly stay in one area, how far should the species be from a 10.0 (or other) UVB (if applicable to the species) (Murph, our Beardie, is most often 9-10″ from his); how warm should the warmest area be? All these considerations will assist you in designing their home. After some time, you may see that your lizard has favorite items and places, so you may need to later tweak the design a bit.
  • And finally, UVB bulbs gradually lose emission strength after around six months. Simply because it’s not burned out is not the indicator that it is doing what it should. REPLACE THEM around this time frame. If you don’t, metabolic bone disease becomes possible.

This is what metabolic bone disease does to these sweet beings:

Other required lighting:

Description: REPTI ZOO Dual Reptile Light Fixture for Reptile Dome UVB Light Fixture Dual Lamp Cap Combo Integration Design Heat Lighting Lamp Kit

Murph’s round, silver dual light fixture was replaced with the black one we have featured above. The ceramic sockets of the old one were browning even though we did not exceed the maximum bulb wattage per socket. Out from one of the sockets, bulbs were not unscrewing easily. I feared this would become a fire hazard. It is fine to use a bulb wattage less than the maximum a fixture allows, as long as it supplies the proper heat and light, just don’t exceed the recommended limit of wattage and volts per socket. We are pleased with the new fixture so far. The bulbs in the photo (above, right) are kept in the basement’s light bulb box. See the browning on the cfl bulb? I had purchased that (the 1st & last) long ago but kept it in that box to show one day. Beside it is Murph’s surplus of basking bulbs that are featured below.

Description: Zoo Med Reptile Basking Spot Lamp 75 Watts – 6 Bulbs Total (3 Packs with 2 per Pack)

Why these? The double dome fixture is ideal for adding two UVA bulbs as needed for proper lighting & heat for the basking area. There are two cords with in-line switches to control each socket. One socket may contain an infrared bulb for heat, a ceramic heat bulb, or a typical incandescent bulb to reach the proper temps. But, if you lizard requires UVA, at least one bulb must be UVA. Shown above is a set of six bulbs because one may never know what the future may bring. If there is a supply shortage or shipping problems, we don’t want our lizards to pay the price. We buy in bulk. If you also choose to do so, then end up with bulbs you no longer need, they can be donated to organizations and people who rescue reptiles.

These single bulb fixtures above are for extra lighting or heat for a large enclosure, or warming only needs for some reptiles.

The red bulb is to supply heat. Despite what packages say, light disrupts a lizard’s restful sleep. The dark bulb is widely used as a heat source for cooler nights when all basking lights are off. It does nicely illuminate beautifully designed enclosures. These will work if your lizard has a night hide where they like to sleep, or if they get covered with a small blanket (yes, many lizards appreciate a soft blankie, some distance from the heat source, of course).

We have one of these. They work fine to add heat, but we were surprised how much less heat output there is compared to a bulb. See that the enclosure’s night temperatures do not become too low for your species of lizard when in use.

We highly suggest never using a heat rock. They can burn your scaly friend. Preferably, do not use heating pads of any kind when bulbs and ceramic heat emitters can be used instead.

If you’d rather test UVB emissions before changing the bulbs religiously every six months, you can test them.

Description: Solarmeter Model 6.2R Reptile UVB Lamp Meter, Handheld Digital UVB Radiometer and Light Bulb Tester for Terrarium & Outdoor Activities, 0-1999 μW/cm2 UVB, Made in USA

Description: Fischuel Quick Test UVB Sensor, Reptile UV Tester Heating Lamp Photochromic UVB Card Indicator,Available with UVB, Compatible with Sunglass Test & Sterilizing, Over 500 Times Reusable (2 Packs)

We have the sensor cards. It appears as though they work. The sunlight makes them very dark purple. Over time the UVB bulbs will make them less dark. The one you see was held under Murph’s UVB for 10 seconds. But, they lighten very quickly! I had the camera ready and set it on the desk within three seconds and it still lightened a bit. These are not perfect, and an interesting test is to place one under a six month old bulb and a new one to compare the difference. There is no gradient scale to work with to show at which level of lightness should the bulb be replaced. If you can afford a UVB tester, go for it. It will save money in the long run particularly if you have a few or more reptiles.

Problems with bulbs:

We do not recommend compact fluorescent bulbs (cfl’s) of any kind. As for the infrared bulb, that happened from unscrewing it from the old light fixture that we replaced.

Lighting and diet go hand-in-hand. Calcium + D3 is vital part of mbd prevention. There are options for calcium without D3, as well as calcium with D3, but with no phosphorus. There are also multivitamin powders (if you buy some, please purchase one with no fillers, such as Flukers brand). It is between you, your lizard, and the vet to determine what is needed. Overall, if your lizard is getting a wide variety of food, they shouldn’t need vitamin powder (vitamin A toxicity may be a problem too). Some A is good, too much is bad. Generally, most lizards that receive mostly artificial sunlight, need calcium with D3.

Power sources:

Description: Surge Protector Power Strip – 9 Widely Spaced Multi Outlets, Wall Mount, 3 Side Outlet Extender with 5Ft Extension Cord, Flat Plug for Home Office

Description: USB Wall Charger, Surge Protector, QINLIANF 5 Outlet Extender with 4 USB Charging Ports ( 4.8A Total) 3-Sided 1680J Power Strip Multi Plug Outlets Wall Adapter Spaced for Home Travel Office (3U1C)

Description: iPower 8-Outlet Power Strip with 7-Day Digital Timer (4 Outlets Timed, 4 Outlets Always On) Surge Protector for Grow Lights, Reptile, Aquarium

Personally, I don’t wake Murph so abruptly, I treat him as I wish to be treated. If I don’t have to wake up to instant bright lights, I won’t. But this works well for people who travel, or leave work early, or return very late.

Speaking of power sources, if the power goes out for long periods of time, the life of your reptile is at risk. If you are able, feel free to purchase solar powering products and a generator of any kind through one of our links (a hybrid generator may be a good idea). 😁

If you have found this information or these product listings helpful, or have had problems with any items above, please let us know.

We will share many more Youtube channels that we find informative, enjoyable, or by those for whom we have respect, but for now we’ll just start here. We like this channel, “Cold Blood Creations,” because not only can the host(s) be entertaining and they simplify things well, but there is also some useful information to be found there:

Something worth mentioning is that in regard to proper care for reptiles, you are bound to encounter conflicting claims of a greater or lesser degree, and many people have opinions based on what has or has not worked for them and their reptiles. Some things are just wrong, some things are circumstantial to the species and conditions. Just do research and accumulate knowledge the best you can from different sources.


“Give me Lizardry or give me Death!” – Dawn ❤️



  1. We have an overabundance of the invasive iguana eating everything and anything in sight. If you ever need lizards, come to south Florida!!


  2. Yes. The Murphster is happy. He’s been lovey lately (like getting up to lay on my cheek when we’re already cuddling). Love that! It’s been bright here, which helps the mood. We’re alright, just terribly busy. Thank you for asking. And we hope you, Laurie, the kitties and Blue are very well (?).

    Liked by 1 person

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