Are Red Lights Bad for Bearded Dragons

Are Red Lights Bad for Bearded Dragons?

No, Red lights are not recommended for bearded dragons as they can have adverse effects on their health. Red bulbs were designed to produce night-time heat without producing a bright light. However, they can disrupt the reptile’s photoperiod, affecting their sleep, eating, behavior, and overall health due to the stress it can cause.

Bearded dragons are a popular pet for reptile enthusiasts. They are known to be gentle, docile creatures that are relatively easy to care for and maintain. One of the most important aspects of caring for a bearded dragon is providing the correct lighting.

In particular, many people wonder if red lights are bad for bearded dragons. This article will discuss the potential benefits and drawbacks of using red lights for bearded dragons.

Red lights can disrupt a bearded dragon’s natural photoperiod, causing them to become stressed and affecting their sleep, eating, and overall health. Therefore, it is important to use red lights cautiously and only as necessary.

Potential Health Risks Associated with Red Lights

Bearded Dragon
Credit: Matthew Parkinson

The potential health risks associated with red lights can be divided into three main categories, namely, effects on behavior, eye strain, and skin damage. Exposure to red light may have an effect on one’s behavior, such as an increase in alertness or agitation.

Eye strain is another possible consequence of prolonged exposure to red light, and can cause headaches and fatigue. Finally, skin damage may occur due to the heat generated by red lights.

Effects of Red Light on Behaviour

Having discussed the possible benefits of red light, it is important to consider the potential risks associated with its use. In particular, it is worth exploring the effects of red light on behavior.

The use of red light for mental and physical stimulation has been popular for years. However, recent research has highlighted the potential risks of long-term exposure to red light. Several studies have suggested a link between exposure to red light and increases in aggressive behavior, particularly among adolescents and young adults.

For example, one study found that after exposing participants to red light for an extended period of time, they reported feeling more aggressive and irritable than they did before the exposure. Although these findings are still preliminary, they suggest that red light can have an effect on people’s behavior and should be used with caution.

In addition to the potential impacts on behavior, it is important to consider potential eye strain and skin damage. However, as these are not the focus of this section, they will not be discussed in further detail.

Eye Strain

Moving on from the behavioral effects of red light, another potential health risk associated with red light is eye strain. High-intensity red light has been found to cause ocular discomfort in certain individuals, for example, those with light sensitivity.

When the eyes are exposed to intense light, especially for prolonged periods of time, the eyes will start to feel dry and irritated. Red light exposure can also cause ocular fatigue, resulting in blurred vision, headaches, and difficulty focusing.

It is therefore important to monitor one’s exposure to red light and to take breaks from looking at red light sources, in order to prevent eye strain.

Skin Damage

Despite the potential benefits of red light, it is important to note that it can also have some negative health implications. Skin damage is one of the main risks associated with red light, and can occur with prolonged exposure.

When exposed to red light for a long period of time, the skin can become damaged and discolored, leading to signs of premature aging, such as wrinkles and pigmentation spots. Additionally, red light can also increase the risk of skin cancer, as it has been linked to the production of free radicals, which can damage skin cells.

Therefore, it is important to take precautions when using red light therapy. It is recommended to limit exposure times and to use sunscreen when necessary.

Alternatives to Red Lights

Chasing the light
Credit: Felix Meier

UVB lights are an effective alternative to red lights, as they provide the necessary UVB for reptiles to absorb calcium and synthesize Vitamin D3. Infrared lights provide heat and are available in a range of wattages to suit the needs of different species.

UVA/UVB lights combine both ultraviolet and infrared light to create a balanced environment for reptiles.

Use Uvb Lights

While red lights can potentially cause health risks, there are alternatives that can be used to achieve the same goals of tanning, without the risk. One such alternative is to use UVB lights. UVB lights are shorter wavelength lights, which have the ability to penetrate the skin and cause a tanning reaction.

Benefits of Using UVB Lights

  • UVB lights are safer to use as they lack the potential to penetrate deep into the skin.
  • UVB lights are more efficient in stimulating melanin production, resulting in a darker tan.
  • UVB lights are more cost-effective as they require fewer sessions to achieve the desired results.

Potential Risks of Using UVB Lights

  • UVB lights can cause sunburns and increase the risk of skin cancer if used improperly.
  • UVB lights should not be used directly on the face, as they can cause long-term damage to the eyes.
  • UVB lights should not be used by people with sensitive skin, as they can cause redness and burning.

Precautions to Take When Using UVB Lights

  • It is important to wear protective eyewear when using UVB lights.
  • UVB lights should only be used in moderation, as overexposure can cause skin damage.
  • It is important to apply sunscreen to protect the skin from UVB light exposure.

Overall, UVB lights are a safer alternative to red lights and can provide an effective tanning experience. They should be used with caution, and as recommended by a professional to ensure that they are used safely and effectively.

Reasons to Still Use Red Lights

Red lights provide a cozy atmosphere for any space, which can enhance the appetite of guests and stimulate the generation of heat. Lighting is an important factor in setting the mood and feeling of space, and red lights can provide a relaxing atmosphere.

Red lights can be used to create a romantic setting, which is ideal for dining or other special occasions.

Providing a Cozy Atmosphere

Despite the availability of different lighting options, red lights continue to provide a cozy atmosphere that many people find hard to replicate. This is why red lights are still widely used. In particular, red lights:

  • Provide a Cozy Atmosphere
    • The warm and intimate feeling of red lights remains unmatched.
    • Red lights create a sense of comfort and security, making them the ideal lighting for a relaxing environment.
  • Enhances Appetite
  • Stimulates Heat Generation

Red lights can be used for a variety of purposes, from creating a comfortable atmosphere to stimulating appetites. With its unique properties and benefits, it’s no surprise that red lights are still widely used today.


In conclusion, red lights can be harmful to bearded dragons if used incorrectly. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the light is of the correct intensity and distance and to ensure the dragon is not exposed to it for too long.

Alternatives to red lights can also be used for basking, allowing the dragon to benefit from the warmth without the potential risks associated with red lights. Ultimately, while it is important to take the necessary precautions, red lights can still be used safely and effectively for bearded dragons.