Chameleon Enthusiast
In another thread @DocZ asked..."UVB sunburns humans, can it cause similar burns to reptiles? I’ve raised mine to allow UVI at about 6-7 at the ceiling. Those 5.0 reptisun bulbs will put out about UVI 15+ sitting on the cage which would certainly burn our skin"...
In all my years of keeping chameleons, I have never seen one get sunburned. I think their scales/skin protects them pretty much.

This isn't a complete answer...but has some information..

"reptiles that at times bask in the sun, their inner epidermis is protected from UV rays via their scales, which also function to help retain moisture underneath, among other things. For these animals, they would typically die from overheating before any threat of sunburn became a problem"...

These might be of interest too...
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@kinyonga thanks for picking up on this question! I’ve been digging around a bit today looking at this issue. I have free access to a lot more scientific journals through at work I started here off of the Chameleon Academy: from Dr Baines

Which led me Ferguson’s article on Ferguson zones.
Voluntary exposure of some western-hemisphere snake and lizard species to ultraviolet-B radiation in the field: how much ultraviolet-B should a lizard or snake receive in captivity? Zoo Biology 29: 317–334
Which mentions eye, skin, and fertility issues with UVB. I have a few articles to read on this. One of them was written by Baines who is involved with and appears to have extensive research in the area of UVB like Dr Ferguson. However, much of the skin issues are described in amphibians and thus may not apply to lizards due to some of the things listed above. The fertility article is by Ferguson regarding Panther's and might be of interest.
Ferguson et al. (2002) Effects of artificial ultraviolet light exposure on reproductive success of the female panther chameleon (Furcifer pardalis) in captivity. Zoo Biol; 21: 525-537.

On, it was interesting to read about the narrow band of UVB in the 10.0 compact fluorescent tubes possibly causing photo-kerato-conjunctivitis. It appears they corresponded with zoo med in 2007-2009 about the issue, but there have been no updates there since 2009 and it’s unclear if the issue is resolved. If not, that would be the best reason not use the CFL UVB bulbs. The fast degeneration of UVI making it difficult to ensure proper UVB exposure is an issue, but evidence of active damage to the animals from its spectrum is a different and more serious charge against their use

Cool stuff. Thanks!


Chameleon Enthusiast
I wish I had more access to other papers sometimes....especially on some areas I've been trying to learn more about. (I study anything to do with reproductive issues such as follicular stasis, egg binding, stopping reproduction..not really lighting...although because of the D3 involvement with MBD and the MBD involvement with reproductive issues, lighting interests me too). I did play a small part in a reproductive study done about 10 or 12 years ago. I also have been able to stop reproduction in veiled chameleons and reduce clutch size in Panther chameleons. I'm getting off topic though.

I've read the article by Ferguson about the panther chameleons (because of my interest in vitamin A and its somewhat antagonistic relationship to vitamin D3 and I expect relationship to reproductive issues.) it was an interesting article too).

Years ago the I had different information up on line but some of it was taken down to continue/add to the studies. I've read a lot of Frances Baines studies too...and another couple...MF Hollick and WH Gehrmann...i think some of their studies are no longer on line. :(.

I may add more to this thread about the sunburn too.
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