You can now download a Free PDF of this series by clicking here! In order to achieve this “Goldilocks Principle” I use two separate heating elements when heating a Bearded Dragon Pogona sp. enclosure. Before going into details of the proper heating lets take a look first at the products that are available for heating reptiles. Most people would presume and rightly so, heating is done with some type of light element. This is one option; but which option is the best one is still a matter of debate among keepers and breeders alike.
Some would say white lights are the only ones to be use, as they could be turned off during the night replicating the normal temperature drop that the Bearded Dragon Pogona sp. would experience in the wild. Others say red incandescent bulbs are the best, as the Bearded Dragon Pogona sp. according to the manufacturers of the bulbs at least, that the red light doesn’t affect the normal circadian rhythm. Someone else would say that a “moonlight” bulb could be used for nighttime heat. So who is right? How do we know?
Well the fact of the matter is this; reptiles should be given heat at night similar to what they experience in the wild. Yes, the white lights can provide a daytime heat source and there are many products which would do so. But at night replicating the “normal” temperature drop is tricky to accomplish by just shutting off the light. What if it’s a cold night and you don’t feel like turning on the heater and decide just to throw an extra blanket on the bed? What about the Bearded Dragon Pogona sp. what are they supposed to do, crawl in bed with you? I can assure you that would be an uncomfortable nights sleep for both of you.
Red incandescent lights claim to not disturb the normal circadian rhythms of reptile species as they cannot see the red wavelengths in the light spectrum. I believed this as this was what was “taught” by the industry at large. Then an article was published in Reptiles Magazine by Frances M. Baines which stated that new research had shown that in fact reptile species could in fact see into the light spectrum farther than once thought. Some reptiles could see into the red wavelengths of light better than humans. For further information the article can be found at http://www.reptilechannel.com/reptile-health/reptile-natural-artificial-light.aspx In essence this report told us that the reptiles we keep in captivity with red incandescent bulbs are being kept in a perpetual sunset setting. This obviously would mean that the normal circadian rhythm was being interrupted or at least altered as the reptile was never allowed to rest completely.