The Best Night Bulb for Your Pet Reptile

Written by Angie Menjivar
Published: August 9, 2022
© Sanit Fuangnakhon/Shutterstock.com

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There is an obvious use for incorporating a night bulb into your pet reptile’s enclosure and that’s so that you can keep an eye on your favorite scaly friend. However, lightbulbs also serve some practical uses. Your reptile is not in a natural environment, but you work very hard to make it as natural as possible. When you incorporate a night bulb into your pet reptile’s enclosure, you’re helping to create nighttime conditions that mimic their natural environment. Having a night bulb also helps to create the right temperature for your reptile, which ensures their comfort.

Lightbulbs aren’t just for nocturnal species. You can also incorporate a night bulb for other types of reptiles like crepuscular and diurnal species. A night bulb is a must for any nocturnal species, but a night bulb serves more than the purpose of creating natural nighttime environments. You can also use these during the day to create a basking area for your reptile. This is because the light emitted from the bulb creates warmth, which your pet reptile appreciates.

Below, we share our top five picks for the best night bulbs for your pet reptile. We selected the best overall and explain the features and what customers who have already purchased it think about it. We also share a budget-friendly option and a splurge option and highlight one that is best for mimicking daylight and one that is best for mimicking moonlight. We wanted to provide you with a variety of choices but didn’t want to overwhelm you with the available products you can find online. We took our time putting this list together and we hope that it helps you create the perfect environment for your pet reptile.

Product Reviews

Best Overall: Zoo Med Nightlight Red Reptile Bulb

The best overall night bulb for your pet reptile is the Zoo Med nightlight red reptile bulb. This is a 100-watt bulb that emits red light. It’s made with true red glass, not painted like some other products. It offers you an economical 24-hour heat source with little visible light that will not disturb your reptile’s sleep patterns. Since it’s not painted, it offers better heat transfer and is the perfect accompaniment for your reptile’s enclosure. This is like the perfect little night light bulb that allows you to view the nocturnal behavior of your favorite little friends.

Zoo Med is a company that makes it its mission to provide reptiles with some of the best products available on the market. They recognize that not all pets have four furry paws and so make it their life’s work to provide you with a resource that truly understands reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates. They sell everything from grassland tortoise food to calcium carbonate supplements for reptiles. Night bulbs are just one of their many offerings.

Generally, customers rate this night bulb 4.3 out of five stars. One verified buyer considers it the best light of its kind so far. The one she purchased lasted almost 9 months and she would sometimes have to leave it on all day because of severe freezing temperatures in her area. This single night bulb kept her 55-gallon tank and baby beardie warm at night on the opposite end of the heat pad she had also placed inside. After it finally burned out, she purchased a similar style from her local store, but she ran through several of those rather quickly. She has returned to this one because of its longevity and reliability.

Another customer originally purchased this night bulb to use for her two-day-old growing chickens. She really needed the environment in the tank to be 95°F and this bulb worked perfectly. She made a few minor height adjustments and it ended up serving her purpose exactly. It kept the tank warm but the bulb itself didn’t get too hot to the point of burning which makes it super safe to use indoors.

Best Night Bulbs for Reptiles
Best Overall: Zoo Med Nightlight Red Reptile Bulb
  • Made with authentic red glass
  • Lasts long and reliable
  • Overall 4.3 out of five star customer rating
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Best Budget-Friendly: Zoo Med Daylight Blue & Nightlight Red Reptile Lamp, Combo Pack

To get the most value out of your purchase, look at Zoo Med’s day and night reptile bulbs. This is a combo pack that includes both at an affordable price. You get one daylight blue bulb and one night light red bulb in the package. The blue bulb provides heat with a bright natural light for daytime use and the true red glass heat lamp offers 24-hour heating to keep your reptile comfy.

Both bulbs are 60 watts and are designed specifically for heating reptile or amphibian terrariums. This is European quality for a long-lasting burn life. The blue glass is uncoated which allows for better heat transfer and the red light is perfect for your nocturnal reptiles, so you can keep an eye on them as they go about their regular activities.

This combo pack has a 4.3 out of five-star rating from most customers. The price is attractive for many people who decided to purchase this combo pack and they comment that it is well constructed and lasts longer than most bulbs they’ve used in the past. Customers are using these to care for Russian tortoises, red and yellow-eared slider turtles, and snakes. One customer said that she’s had these bulbs for about seven months and they’re still going strong!

Best Nightbulbs for Reptiles
Best Budget-Friendly: Zoo Med Daylight Reptile Lamp Combo Pack
  • A combo that gets you 1 daylight blue bulb and 1 nightlight red bulb (both 60 watts)
  • Affordable price
  • Overall 4.3 rating from customers
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Best Splurge: Exo Terra Day/Night Reptile Terrarium LED Fixture

If you’re looking for something a little fancier, this Exo Terra day/night reptile terrarium LED fixture is for you. It’s available in small and large sizes and has white LEDs that create a beautiful daylight glow and blue LEDs that create more of a dim moonlight shimmer. If your reptile doesn’t need UVB rays, this is a great product. It’s engineered to allow for nighttime temperature drops and set up is super easy. Just use the included self-adhesive support base. The touch button makes switching between the two modes super energy efficient and your reptile gets to enjoy a soft moonlight glow every night.

We love that this is a two-in-one product that prevents you from having to purchase multiple bulbs. It’s designed to help you simulate those day and night natural environments to keep your reptile healthy and in tune with their circadian rhythm. This design illuminates your terrarium with minimum heat and maximum light output. Since it doesn’t produce too much heat, it reduces the risk of overheating especially during summer seasons when it gets warmer. It’s also a great design because it allows for a natural temperature drop at night time.

The customers who have purchased this model have rated it five out of five stars. 100% of them would recommend it to a friend. One customer calls it a great little light that he used and then got two more for his crested gecko terrariums. The small sizes were perfect for their cages. Another customer says that it looks really nice mounted to the tank and loves the touch feature. The blue light for nighttime is perfect for viewing his reptile and seeing what it’s up to!

Best Night Bulbs for Reptiles
Best Splurge: Exo Terra Day/Night Reptile Terrarium LED Fixture
  • Comes with a self-adhesive support base and touch-activated button
  • Can switch between day and night light without need for extra bulbs; two-in-one product
  • Average customer score of 5/5 stars
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Best for Mimicking Daylight: Fluker’s Sun Glow Coil Desert Reptile Bulb

We’ve covered plenty of night bulbs but wanted to include a sun glow bulb for desert reptiles as well. This is a fluorescent coil bulb that mimics daylight. It’s 10.0 UVB, ideal for all desert and basking reptiles. It’s a 26-watt light bulb that’s ideal for different reptiles like bearded dragons, monitors, tegus, uromastyx, and other desert species. It can also be a helpful bulb for nocturnal species like leopard geckos because they tend to get more active during the evening hours.

This sunglow coil bulb is engineered to provide your reptile with the optimal levels of UVB while still maintaining lower levels of safe UVA. The key to creating this effective and safe product is to keep UVB radiation in the 290 to 310 nm range while keeping UVA levels down. It’s designed to help stimulate the production of vitamin D and also help to prevent metabolic bone disease. The UVA wavelengths ultimately increase your reptile’s activity levels, and reproduction levels, and help to stimulate appetite. If you have a desert species, this is a great product.

Customers rate this bulb 3.9 out of five stars. They love it because it provides the UVB radiation that their reptiles need. It helps them to metabolize vitamin D3 and calcium. Several customers comment on how great the glow is and how long-lasting a single bulb is as well. They love that it also serves as an important stimulant for all of the live plants in their terrariums. Most customers would recommend it to a friend.

Best Night Bulbs for Reptiles
Best for Mimicking Daylight: Fluker's Sun Glow Coil Desert Reptile Bulb
  • Fluorescent coil bulb that mimics daylight
  • Engineered to provide your reptile with the optimal levels of UVB
  • Overall customer review of 3.9 out of five stars
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Best Moonlight: Exo Terra Night-Glo Moonlight A19 Lamp

This is another combo pack, and you get four 50-watt bulbs with your single purchase. These are moonlight bulbs that help to simulate the natural glow of the moon overnight. Each bulb provides tropical nighttime temperatures and also stimulates breeding behavior in reptiles and amphibians. For best results, you can combine this with the Repti-Glo or Sun-Glo to create the 24-hour cycle your reptile needs.

This bowl has a dark blue glass sleeve, which is what allows it to emit that moonlight glow for nocturnal viewing. The heat generated by this nighttime bulb is minimal, but it is enough to provide your reptile with tropical nighttime temperatures. The lamp is designed so that it does not interfere at all with the natural night cycles of your reptiles. The lighting is high-quality to meet your reptile’s metabolic needs.

On average, customers rate these lightbulbs 4.5 out of five stars. One customer says this is a great night heat lamp for his gecko. He’s been using them for years and comments that the longevity is really what keeps him coming back. The heat is always at an optimal level and the presentation is always perfect. Since he purchases these in a combo pack, he loves that he’s getting the most value for his money. He keeps at least four stocked for future use at all times. He is super satisfied and highly recommends them.

Best Night Bulbs for Reptiles
Best Moonlight: Exo Terra Night-Glo Moonlight A19 Lamp
  • Combo pack that comes with four 50-watt bulbs
  • Simulates the natural glow of the moon
  • On average, customers rate these lightbulbs 4.5 out of five stars
Check Chewy

How to Choose the Right Night Bulb for Reptiles

Although reptiles can exist on their own and appear to be pretty low maintenance, if you have a pet reptile, you know that a lot of work goes into keeping them safe and healthy. No, they’re not going to whine when you’re having dinner or bring a leash in their mouth so that they can go for a walk outside. They won’t scratch up your furniture the way some cats do or zoom around in the middle of the night when you’re trying to get some shuteye. They will, however, make you a great researcher because you’ll need to know what they should be eating, how you should be handling them, and how to create the perfect terrarium.

You love your pet reptile so of course; this is just a labor of love and choosing the best night bulb is just one more responsibility you have as a pet reptile owner. Your reptile needs vitamin D3 to ensure proper health. This also helps them absorb calcium and having the right lighting is crucial for their well-being. Aside from emitting light, these bulbs also emit heat, which is what your reptile needs to have a normal appetite and to engage in other healthy activities like socializing.

The type of night bulb you select is really dependent on several factors. First, the type of reptile you have affects the type of night bulb that you should get. Another consideration is how big the habitat is and what lighting makes sense for that space. And remember, there are many different types of bulbs, not just night bulbs for you to search through when putting the habitat together.

Aside from having a night bulb that diffuses heat without throwing off your reptile’s sleep cycle, there is a daylight bulb that is more meant for establishing a light cycle that mimics daytime. There are also basking bulbs which are specifically for emitting heat and giving your reptile that space to warm up and there are diffuse bulbs, which deliver some heat but are not as concentrated as a basking bulb.

Most importantly, you need to customize your habitat to your reptile’s specific needs. For example, if you have a bearded dragon, you should be providing UVB rays for around 10 to 12 hours every day. You can also incorporate an incandescent bulb for basking but make sure to only use it during the daytime. A night bulb or even a ceramic heater can be used to keep the habitat warm at all times. The more you know about your specific reptile, the better you can customize their environment to make their natural habitat.

How to Create a Day & Night Cycle for Reptiles

It’s an interesting thought when you consider that you have created an entire habitat for your reptile that includes mimicking daylight and nighttime. You’ve got to wonder what your reptile thinks of you—you are the bringer of all from light to food. Just like you rely on the sunrise and sunset to schedule your day, you’re reptile also relies on you mimicking light cycles to create a natural rhythm. Without a day and night cycle, your reptile’s circadian rhythm is completely disrupted, which affects their mental health and even their hormone production.

Remember, not all reptiles require the same types of bulbs or cycles. For example, diurnal reptiles remain active throughout the day, and you should have a UVB light that gives them the vitamin D3 they need and helps them absorb calcium. These should only be used during the day; otherwise, your diurnal reptile will be confused about when to sleep. When you know the specifics of your reptile, you can pick up the right bulbs. For the most part, reptiles need some basic parts of their enclosure.

Reptiles need a basking area, and you can use a bulb to create that warmth. They also need an area that is cooler in their environment so they can experience a drop in temperature the way that they would in a natural environment. They need to be able to understand when it’s daytime and they need to be able to understand when it’s nighttime. Along with bulbs, you’ll probably incorporate a heat mat and a water bowl. You may even pick up a hygrometer to make sure that you are keeping your reptile in safe and comfortable humidity levels.

Up next, learn more about our scaly friends, including which are best kept as pets:

7 Best Reptiles to Keep as Pets – There are tons of reptiles in the pet trade but these top seven cover, not just some cute little buddies, but also give you a look at their personalities, difficulty when it comes to their care, and the approximate cost to purchase one for yourself.

10 Stunning Reptile Facts You Must Read! – From snakes to tortoises, this article covers a list of 10 fascinating reptile facts you don’t already know!

9 Smallest Reptiles in the World – How much cuter can it get? Learn all about the smallest reptiles throughout the world, from the speckled padloper to the Brookesia Micra.

About the Author

Angie is a writer with over 10 years of experience developing content for product and brand reviews, focusing much of her time on animals of all types. A cat owner herself, she enjoys writing articles on beloved pets that both inform and entertain her audience.

The Best Night Bulb for Your Pet Reptile FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Do reptiles need heat lamps at night?

Reptiles in their natural environments typically experience a drop in temperature but they should always have the option to move into a warmer environment if that’s what makes them more comfortable. A typical terrarium should have a warmer area and a cooler area, so your pet reptile can decide what feels best at any time, day or night. You may use bulbs to create heat—these mimic the natural basking reptiles do under the sun. But you could also potentially include a heat mat to keep your reptile comfy. You should cater the habitat to the specifics of what your unique reptile needs. Some experimentation could help until you find the right bulb that your reptile loves.

Are moonlight bulbs good for reptiles?

If you have a nocturnal species, moonlight bulbs help to mimic a natural nighttime environment, which permits your reptile to enjoy a heat source and low levels of light. As a reptile owner, you also get the added benefit of watching even the most elusive species as they explore their habitat at night.

What bulb should I use for my bearded dragon at night?

Your bearded dragon needs UVB during the day to create the day and night cycle that keeps them healthy and on a schedule. You should turn off the lights in the evening to allow your bearded dragon to rest overnight. In their natural environment, they wouldn’t have sunlight 24 hours a day so making sure to cycle their days with a UVB bulb and turning it off at night keeps them comfortable and in tune with their circadian rhythms.

Are LED bulbs good for reptiles?

Yes, absolutely. You can actually set up an LED bulb that functions both for daytime and nighttime use. This helps you create the day and night cycle your reptile needs, which can help them create a structured schedule, including for meal times!

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