Using a basking light as your bearded dragon’s primary heat source is highly recommended. Trying to simulate the sun is the reason why dragon owners use this as their primary heat source.
Bearded dragons are diurnal and sun lovers by instinct. In the wild they will bask in the suns rays for hours until they reach an optimal body temperature.
This is the reason why we like to provide an overhead heat source for them in captivity. I know that a light bulb isn’t the same as the sun, but it’s the closest thing we have.
Basking Light Fixture
There are different brands of lamp fixtures on the market for reptiles. They are all pretty much the same, and any one of them will do well.
Most of the lamp fixtures for reptiles come with a ceramic socket. This lets the fixture take the high heat emitted from light bulbs or ceramic heaters.
Ceramic (or porcelain) sockets are higly recommended by me, if you are using a 100-watt bulb or higher, or any ceramic reptile heat emitter. You can find these at most pet stores and also online.
There are also lamps that have a regular plastic and metal socket. These are okay if you are using a smaller wattage light bulb, such as a 50 or 75-watt. You might want to keep an eye on these, though. They might start to show signs of wear from the heat.
I have used the plastic and metal socket fixtures before and have seen the plastic around the socket start to crack and show signs of wear from the high heat. This can be a fire hazard, if left unchecked.
If you use a ceramic reptile heat emitter, you need to use a ceramic socket lamp fixture. The heat given off by the ceramic heater is just too hot for a plastic and metal fixture.
Plastic / metal socket lamps can be found at most pet stores, but they also can be picked up for less at stores such as Home Depot and Lowes.
Basking lamps will come with a clamp that lets you attach it to something. They also have a dome that focuses the light and heat to one spot. This is especially good if your just using a clear household light bulb.
If your using an aquarium with a screen top, you can just set the lamp on the screen. Other pre-made reptile cages will usually have a spot to put your heating light. If you’re making your own custom cage, you’ll want to include a way to use a basking lamp with it.
Bearded Dragon Basking Light Bulb
There are different brands of reptile basking light bulbs on the market today. All of them do their job well. It really is up to you which brand to use.
Some owners swear by one brand or another, but they are basically the same. I like Zoo Med and Exo-Terra basking light bulbs, but there are others that are just as good. This is just my preference.
These lights are designed to produce a focused heat and light source. This is good for producing a high temperature basking spot that your dragon needs.
Not only do they provide a basking spot but they also heat the air in the enclosure. They also provide UV-A Rays that is important for the psychological well-being of reptiles.
Some bearded dragon owners use regular clear household light bulbs. This is low-cost alternative to the specialized reptile bulbs.
I don’t see any reason why these can’t be used. I have used them when I had a basking light burn out and didn’t have a replacement on hand. These lights are a good money saver.
A bearded dragon basking lamp and bulb are two of the most important pieces of equipment to have for your dragons home. This will help you set up a good heat gradient and also provide the high temperature basking spot dragons crave.
I highly recommend using a basking spot light as your bearded dragon’s primary source of heat. It will benefity your pet more than just providing warmth.
What type and brand of basking light you use are entirely up to you. Just make sure that they can obtain and maintain the right temperatures for your bearded dragons.