Can I use a regular light bulb for my turtle?

Turtle is a cold-blooded animal and needs sunlight to heat up the body temperature. The turtle lives in nature manage proper light from sunlight. The light helps to upgrade the body temperature, aids in visibility, and helps to consume vitamins and calcium. As for pet turtles, they are not allowed to go under the sun. So they have to get used to different light bulbs. Now the question is, can I use a regular light bulb for my turtle.

Can I use a regular light bulb for my turtle

Why you need light for turtle

It is simple because the turtle needs light and heat to survive. Light regulates the circadian regularity of the turtle heart; it means they need the day-night period the same as humans to help the heart work properly. If the circadian rhythm doesn’t work properly, then the turtle will not sleep properly, and it will feel exhausted. Lastly, the immune system and health will get hampered. You have to keep the light on for 8-10 hours and keep it off for 10-12 hours. This helps the turtle to understand the circle and get adjusted.

The turtle is a cold-blooded animal, so they have to depend on the environment temperature to heat up the body. The wild turtles can spend their time in the sunlight and stay in the water easily. But the pet turtle has to depend on the lamp heat and tank environment.

Why turtles need light while basking

At first, you have to understand why the turtle needs basking. Well, turtle needs to bask to warm up the body, stay fully dry, regulate metabolism, and absorb essential nutrients. As the turtle spends lots of time underwater, so it needs to stay dry for some time. Or else it will catch a cold, and the shell will get effected with fungus and algae. If you don’t treat the turtle properly, the turtle will get sick and die later. So while basking, turtle requires proper lighting.

Does turtle need UVA and UVB light?

Yes, they need it for healthy growth. UVA light works as natural sunlight because the wild turtle gets UVB light from the sun naturally. The UVA light is required for increasing activity levels and breeding.

Turtle needs calcium because this nutrient helps to keep the bone and shell strong and healthy. To develop and consume calcium, the turtle needs vitamin D3. When the turtle skin grips the UVB rays, the body generates vitamin D and converts vitamin D to D3. With vitamin D3, the turtle can use the calcium. It means the turtle needs UVB light to consume vitamin D3 and use calcium.

Without UVB light, the turtle will get sick with a serious health condition, and the bone and shell will get weak. If it is not treated properly, the shell will get damaged, and the turtle will face a fatal situation.

Can I use a regular light bulb for my turtle?

Though any light is better than none, it is not safe for the turtle. You have to ensure proper light in the basking spot where the turtle can warm up and absorb the proper nutrient. But they need straight sunlight to process the calcium. But you cannot give the sunlight through the window as it is harmful, and the calcium the turtle gets by the window stays unused in the turtle body. For this, the growth gets slow, and the bone and shell get weak. The turtle will face skin and shell infection and shedding scutes. So the normal light is not suitable for the turtle as it needs UVA and UVB rays to warm up and get vitamin, calcium for the body.

There are different types of lamps for your pet turtle in the shop. You have to pick the one that will meet the requirements for your turtle. You will find a special type of bulb that provides UVB, UVA, and heat light at the same time. You can use this lamp as it is simple and useful but too much expensive. But for the turtle to stay healthy, you can use the bulb in the turtle tank.

If I don’t use light will the turtle survive

As I said before, the turtle needs sunlight or the bulb light to grow healthy. You should give the turtle proper sunlight for at least 14 hours a day. If you can’t afford a light, then try to make a container outside in your garden area to keep your turtle out in suitable weather. Remember, light is essential for turtle, and you have to ensure proper light for the pet turtle.


What kind of lightbulb does a turtle need?

all types of bulb that provides heat is suitable for the turtle. The light that provides heat with UVB light is highly recommended.

Can I use a regular bulb for a basking light?

you have to use an incandescent bulb as heating light. But do measure the wattage of the lamp as higher wattage produces more heat, which is not suitable for your turtle.

Do turtles need a heat lamp at night?

The hatching turtles require heat because it sleeps in the basking area at night. Other turtles don’t require heat lamps at night, but you can use a night light to keep the turtle feel secure and comfortable while sleeping.


When you think of having a turtle as a pet, you have to ensure its health and comfort zone. The wild turtles enjoy direct sunlight and UVB naturally, and for it, the turtle grows healthy and strong. If you want your turtle to grow healthy and strong, you have to provide him proper light and heat in the turtle tank. From the light, the turtle absorbs essential nutrient and stay warm. So if anyone asks you can I use a regular light bulb for my turtle, your answer will be no. Get the right lamp and keep the turtle happy and healthy.

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