Crested Geckos

Do Crested Geckos Need UVB?

UVB light is a part of the ultraviolet spectrum and can provide health benefits to crested geckos. Do crested geckos need UVB? The simple answer is no, they do not need UVB. However, it can be good for their health, so stick around to find out why.

So, the debate is ongoing.  Many crested gecko owners are still discussing and studying the advantages and disadvantages of using UVB light in their crested gecko’s enclosure.

So, here we will tell you everything that you need to know about UVB for crested geckos. We will cover the basics of UVB light, how you should set up your tank to accommodate UVB and the pros and cons of exposing your crested gecko to UVB.

Why Do Crested Geckos Need UVB?

There are several reasons why crested geckos should be exposed to UVB light which we will explore below. However, it is important to note here that they do not need UVB light. It is simply an additional tool that can bring health benefits. 

What is UVB light?

UVB is a part of the ultraviolet light spectrum. There is UVA, UVB and UVC light. However, UVA light is the only one that created geckos actually need to live. 

All three types of UV light are natural and can be found out in the daylight. So, although UVA is the only necessary light for crested geckos, they are perfectly suitable to being bathed in UVB light, although they do not technically “need” it.

Why is it necessary?

Many crested geckos owners champion the use of added UVB light for their pets. This is primarily because it offers a decent dose of vitamin D3, which helps the crested gecko to absorb calcium. If this vitamin D3 is not absorbed through their skin, from UVB lights, then the owner must substitute it in other ways, for example through the gecko’s food.

One of the main reasons why gecko owners choose to use UVB light even though it is not strictly necessary is in an attempt to replicate the reptile’s natural light cycle as best as they can. This includes both the type of light as well as ensuring that the light is turned off during nighttime hours.

What Are The Advantages of Having a UVB Light?

As we have said one of the main advantages of your crested gecko having UVB light is their access to vitamin D3, which you would otherwise have to supplement via their diet. 

Several studies have been done on the effects of UVB on crested geckos and they have shown that low levels of UVB light have improved fertility and overall health in the reptiles. This is, of course, under the condition that the geckos were kept in appropriate conditions and were not exposed to too much UVB light or during nighttime.

Crested geckos are actually nocturnal animals (as well as crepuscular) so they do not require any light at night. In fact, using light during these hours can have a serious effect on their circadian rhythms. So, if you are planning on using UVB light then it is best to make sure that this is primarily done during the day.

What Is The Best UVB Light For Crested Geckos?

If you decide that you want your crested gecko to reap the benefits associated with UVB light then you still have the task of choosing the best UVB light for them. 

Almost any lightbulb that you purchase will emit UVA light, so your only consideration for the light you choose should be the UVB. One of the favorite UVB lights is the Zoo Med Reptisun 2.0. This particular light is fluorescent and provides only a small amount of UVB light. 

Unlike with UVA, you should not simply assume that all lights will emit UVB as this is just not the case. Instead, you should read up carefully on the light before purchasing it. You do not necessarily need anything more than a low level of UVB as your crested gecko can absorb this very easily through their skin, reducing the need for higher levels.

If you do indeed purchase a light that emits too much UVB light you may find that your gecko begins spending almost all of its time under plants and in shady areas. If this is the case then you should remove the bulb and change it for one that emits a lower level of UVB.

How Much UVB Does a Crested Gecko Need?

Crested geckos do not need UVB light at all. In fact, the only light that they require is UVA. However, if you are planning on adding a UVB light to their habitat, for example, for health reasons, then you should make sure that they get no more than 4-6 hours of the UVB light per day. 

Even with a low level of UVB, this is plenty for your reptile to gain the advantages of UVB. This will give them enough vitamin D3 to remain healthy. Their skin will easily absorb the vitamins from the UVB, meaning that they will need less exposure to UVB than you may think.

Don’t overheat the enclosure

Even on a low setting, this type of light (UVB) can have a big impact on your crested gecko’s habitat. You should monitor the temperature in their enclosure to make sure that your new UVB light has not played havoc with the temperature. 

If this is the case then you may notice that your crested gecko has begun to hide around their enclosure or that they appear uneasy and not comfortable. 

If this happens then you may want to consider reducing the amount of UVB light that you are using, even if this falls below the 4-hour mark. After all, any UVB light is better than none and not worth damaging your reptile’s health.

Alternatively, you should replace that particular bulb with one that emits less UVB. This will allow your crested gecko all the benefits of UVB light without the risk of causing them any harm.

Can a Crested Gecko Have Too Much UVB?

The simple answer is that yes, crested geckos can have too much UVB light. However, they are smarter than you may think. They will self-regulate the amount of light that they receive by removing around their enclosure.

When introducing UVB light to your crested gecko’s enclosure it is important that you do so correctly. In addition to the type of bulb that you use and the amount of UVB that it emits you should consider its placement.

Setting up your gecko’s home for UVB

If you are looking at introducing UVB light into your crested gecko’s habitat then you should make sure that it suitable for such an addition. This means that there needs to be shielded areas from the light, such as by adding plants and rocks.

These additions will allow your crested gecko a hiding place. So, if they are getting too much UVB light then they are clever enough to know that they need to hide. However, if they do not have these hiding places available then they may suffer from excessive heat.

A gecko’s sensitivity to light

Another reason why crested geckos can get too much UVB light is that their eyes are not self-shielding. This means that their eyes are very vulnerable to overexposure to light. 

Of course, if there is shade available then they will use this to their advantage. But, if there is no place for them to hide and shield their eyes, this can cause permanent eye damage.

What’s The Difference Between a UVB Light And a Night Light?

When it comes to night lights for reptiles there are a few different options available. However, their main function is not to disturb your crested gecko and to provide them with a source of heat. UVB lights on the other hand function better as a part of a daylight system.

Using a UVB light at night will cause serious disturbances to your crested gecko’s circadian rhythm. For a crested gecko, the day should be light and the night should be dark. And that is that. They are nocturnal animals so any disturbances to this light pattern can have other knock-on effects.

Why doesn’t a night light disturb a crested gecko?

Obviously, the less light that is available to your crested gecko at night the better. However, night lights can act as a source of heat in your gecko’s enclosure, allowing you to regulate the temperature of their environment, even at night.

The night light will also allow you to see your little creature at night without disturbing them. This is for two reasons: the light is kept very low and also the color used.

Although your crested gecko will be able to sense that there is a red light in their enclosure they do not see it the same as us. That is because nocturnal geckos actually lack the red-sensitive cone in their eyes, unlike humans. However, there is evidence to show that they are able to sense red light via their green-sensitive cone.

This can alter how your crested gecko sees the nocturnal world. Although it is a far better alternative to using UVB lights at night, it is still not ideal and can disturb how your crested gecko would naturally see the world at night.

In fact, there is evidence that they use their difference in color-sensitive cones to produce color vision in dim moonlight conditions. Using a night light would obviously affect this.

Conclusion

Many people still debate the use of UVB for crested geckos. However, there is evidence to show that when UVB is used correctly crested geckos can reap a lot of benefits, such as being able to absorb vitamin D3 via light rather than having to have it supplemented in their diet.

As long as you provide your crested gecko with good living conditions, for example providing enough plants for shade and hiding places, then they can take care of themselves. They are aware of how much light they are exposed to and will move to a shadier spot if this becomes excessive.

However, you should avoid using UVB light at night. You should only use it for a maximum of 6 hours in the day. This is because it can disturb the internal rhythm of your crested gecko which relies on the darkness of night given that it is a nocturnal creature. If you must use light at night consider a red glass night light instead.

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