I wish I had a pound fro every time I have been asked this question and I could have retired years ago.
If you had seen some of the horrors that I have seen because the owner did not provide a guard on the vivarium light, you would never leave a viv bulb unprotected.
Royal Pythons seem to be more prone to wrapping themselves round a heat source and getting severely burnt (graphic picture).
This is probably due to their thermal receptors picking up the heat signature. Reptiles do not appear to feel the thermal burn until it is too late and the burn is severe and deep. So for the sake of a few pounds now will save you a lot in veterinary bills later on and peace of mind.
So what should be guarded?
Any Infra red heating, incandescent, spots and especially ceramic heat emitters. In fact any heat source or glass bulbs or tubes.
The fluorescent tube and the new compacts do not get hot enough to cause problems with burns, and I use them without any problems but if you are extremely safety conscious there is a slight possibility of a snake wrapping around one and smashing the tube or bulb.
ValueAquatics now offer Ceramic and Lamp safety Guards, these are easily screw fitted into position over the bulb and fitting providing a safe environment for your reptile. These covers are well made and very sturdy. They are available in two sizes 23.5 x 12 x 12cm and 16 x 11 x 11 cm in black.
If you have a reptile that has been burnt in any way you must get it to a qualified veterinary surgeon ASAP as it will require antibiotics and maybe specialist care.
If you cannot get to a veterinary surgeon take the animal out of its cage and keep it on kitchen paper or newspaper. Get some Pure Aloe Vera gel from a chemists make sure it has no added perfumes etc., Put some on the palms of your hands and let the snake run through them getting well coated and do this two or three times a day. If a lizard then rub the gel into the affected area carefully.
Make sure everything is spotlessly clean as infections are very common with burns. Always get veterinary help as burns are very dangerous left untreated.