Reptiles That Don’t Need UVB: List and Things to Know

Reptile pets are notorious for being as high maintenance as they are cool. Don’t run away just yet, because there are plenty of reptiles you can bring under your roof without disrupting your entire routine. If you are thinking about adopting a reptile, it pays to do your research to ensure you do not bite off more than you can chew.

You likely know that your average reptile will need amongst other things a roomy terrarium, climbing, basking and bathing opportunities, an appropriate substrate, a balanced diet, and in some cases the right wavelength. Owners who neglect to create the optimal environments for their reptiles end up spending a lot of money at the vet, or worse, abandoning their ailing scaly buddies.

We have compiled a list of reptiles that are low maintenance in the amount of space, type of food, and habitat conditions required. You are guaranteed to come across one that is perfect for your home.

UVB Controversy Amongst Reptile Owners

We should warn you that some will judge you for claiming that your reptile does not need UVB. UVB light is crucial to the well-being of some reptiles who suffer from Vitamin D deficiency and fail to metabolize the calcium in their diet. Once these species of reptiles fail to metabolize calcium, they are doomed to develop a metabolic bone disease that drastically reduces their well-being and lifespan.

Luckily, many beginner-friendly reptiles will not run up your energy bill due to their need for near-constant UVB light exposure. That is not to say that these reptiles would not benefit from UVB. If you can afford the expensive bulbs that need to be changed twice annually and keep up with the rise in your energy bill, you should certainly consider getting UVB for any reptile in your care, including these.

The reptiles who made it to the list are those who do not get much UVB light, even in their natural environments. It follows that you will not be depriving your scaled buddy of UVB because they were never really going to get much of it even out of captivity. Do not be guilt-tripped because though UVB would be welcome, these reptiles can live their whole lives without it.

1. Leopard Geckos

Anyone looking to dip their toe into the reptile-owning pool will likely be pointed toward the leopard gecko. Affectionately referred to as leos in the reptile-owning community, these handy reptiles are famously low maintenance in areas beyond UVB lighting. Their care regimen is ridiculously simple if you contrast it to the extreme neediness of other reptiles.

Leopard geckos are crepuscular in nature. This means that their favorite times to hunt and explore are early in the morning in the evening. These times of day have little to no UVB rays so the leopard gecko had adapted to metabolizing its calcium with Vitamin D. They get a bad rap for not being the brightest button in the geckos and lizard bunch, but that is not a reason to shun them.

New reptile owners should know that leopard geckos are insectivores who must be fed live prey. Your leopard gecko will turn its head at anything frozen, so do not even think about it. If feeding your reptile live insects gives you the heebie-jeebies, other reptiles on this list can feed on dead prey. However, feeding live insects is not as complicated or gross as you would assume.

Some leopard gecko owners overcame their natural revulsion at buying live insects for their pets and even grew to enjoy feeding time. If you had rather not learn to enjoy nature’s uglier side, the crested gecko will likely serve you best.

2. Crested Gecko

Crested geckos are a great option if you do not want a reptile that every other person owns. These geckos are rarer than the leos and are even simpler to care for. The crested gecko has little use for UVB because its nocturnal nature caused it to adapt to living optimally in the absence of light.

If you or your child wants a reptile that does not mind being handled, the crested gecko is the undisputed winner. They have a very active temperament and tails that are as fun and expressive as a dog. Anyone still on the fence should cross over on learning that crested geckos can get a balanced diet from powdered food.

The only downside to these geckos is their tropical origin demands their enclosures have very high humidity. You must mist the terrarium at least twice a day. High moisture demands regular cleaning to avoid the multiplication of bacteria and fungi in the habitat.

3. African Fat-Tailed Gecko

Most people cannot tell the African fat-tailed and leopard gecko apart. Unlike leopard geckos, the African fat-tailed gecko is nocturnal and is accustomed to getting close to no UVB light. They are a bit more high maintenance than leopard geckos because of their need for high humidity.

On top of feeding your African fat-tailed gecko live insect prey, you need to mist its terrarium at least twice a day. With extra moisture comes extra cleaning to ensure the terrarium remains sanitary and does not develop a nasty odor.

4. Chinese Cave Gecko

People are drawn to the Chinese cave gecko because it looks cooler than the Leo, crested, and fat-tailed geckos. It also doesn’t hurt that the Chinese cave gecko is just as low maintenance as the others on this list. Nocturnal in nature, the Chinese cave gecko can thrive without UVB light.

Most interestingly, this gecko prefers cool temperatures, unlike many reptiles who favor heat. While this makes them even more low maintenance, it poses a unique challenge to anyone who wanted to introduce them into a reptile room. Reptiles’ rooms are kept quite warm, and your Chinese cave gecko will have trouble settling in.

Like the leopard and African fat-tailed gecko, the Chinese cave gecko requires to be fed live insect prey. It also requires misting to replicate the high-humidity cave habitat it is accustomed to.

5. Gargoyle Geckos

Gargoyle geckos have a prehistoric look about them that many people dig. Their nocturnal nature means you do not have to spring for UVB lights. The care routine for gargoyle geckos is just like that of the crested gecko. This means you do not have to feed them live prey. These arboreal geckos love to climb and should always be housed in tall tanks with lots of horizontal and vertical climbing opportunities.

You must provide your gargoyle gecko with a day and night cycle even without UVB light because its biological processes are hinged on the cycle. They also regular misting and clean-up efforts must be maintained in a high-humidity enclosure.

6. Sand Boas

Considering sand boas are happy when partially buried in the sun, it shouldn’t be a headline, that they have little use for UVB light. If you are looking for a snake that doesn’t need UVB, you will be hard-pressed to find a better option than the sand boa. These snakes are known to be easier to care for than most of their distant relatives.

Not only are these snakes open to being handled, but it is also quite easy to set up their enclosure and provide them with a balanced diet. The only downer for some people is that the sand boa will spend most of its time burrowed in the sand and leave much for you to look at. Unless it is feeding time, you are unlikely to spot your sand boa moving around its enclosure.

7. Corn Snakes

If you had rather not have a snake that spends most of its time hiding under the sand, consider a corn snake. These snakes are beginner friendly because they are easy to care for and do not need UVB light to live a healthy life. All you need to do is get your corn snake an enclosure and it could take care of itself. Well, not really.

Corn snakes feed once a week and do not have pesky temperature and humidity limitations. All you need to do is ensure that the water bowl is refilled and your corn snake is good to go. The weekly feedings and normal humidity setup mean that you will have less cleaning up to do, especially when compared to high-humidity reptiles like the African fat-tailed gecko and Chinese cave gecko.

If you are not yet sold, how about the fact that these snakes grow to a manageable length of 3 feet? This makes them easy to handle and care for at all life stages. The last thing you need is a snake that needs to eat more and more the large it grows.

8. Blind Snakes

If you would like a snake that you do not have to feed small mammals, a blind snake is the best bet for you. Blind snakes subsist on a diet of small insects like termites and ants. Your tiny blind snake also considers worms and slugs a delicacy.

Blind snakes, like sand boas, have little use for UVB because they spend most of their time burrowed under the sand. These snakes are so low maintenance that is a wonder they do not top the list of beginner-friendly snakes. Their tiny size means they do need much room. Unfortunately, their small size also makes them hard to handle because they are quite fragile.