Do Bearded Dragons Need Heat At Night?

Bearded dragons are one of the most popular types of lizards kept as pets these days. It is easy to understand why. They are mostly

  • docile, and
  • easygoing.  Thus, these lizards come from the arid, semi-desert regions of Australia. They bask during much of the day, soaking up the sun from on top of a rock or branch. Then, at night, bearded dragons will find a suitable shelter for sleeping. They are diurnal lizards, mostly active during the day.

So, do bearded dragons need heat at night? Probably not. That is, it is not necessary to provide your bearded dragon with heat. Unless you live in an area where your house gets chilly in the evenings (below sixty-five degrees Fahrenheit).  Also, remember, because his terrarium has been heated throughout the day, his cage will hold some heat on its own as well.

Below are some of the important information on the necessity of heat on bearded dragons:

Night Time Temperatures for Bearded Dragons

While bearded dragons experience cooler temperatures at night, you should be careful that your bearded dragon does not get too cold. This is just as dangerous as overheating and can make your bearded dragon ill.

Therefore, we would recommend that you monitor the temperature inside your bearded dragon tank at all times. Also, you should make sure that the night temperature inside the vivarium never drops below 18℃.

You can do this with a thermostat, which is easy and cheap to pick up on Amazon. Meanwhile, once you attach it to a heat source, you can program your thermostat to turn the heat lamp on whenever the temperature drops below 18℃.

However, it is normal for your bearded dragon to feel cold to the touch in the morning.  This is normal for cold-blooded reptiles who use their environment to regulate their body temperature. So you should only worry if the temperature in your tank has drastically fallen.

Likewise, make sure that you use high quality thermometers in the basking area and in the cooler zones to constantly monitor temperature levels.

You should also provide a good hygrometer within the terrarium to monitor humidity levels. Besides, you want to keep the humidity levels around 35% – 40%, but never over 55% inside the terrarium.

Creating a Temperature Gradient

There should be a consistent temperature gradient across the entire terrarium. The hottest point should be directly under the basking element and the coolest area on the opposite end of the enclosure.

Also, the temperature should be the warmest in the basking zones while cooling gradually into the coolest zone. A thermostat specifically for use with terrariums will help regulate consistent temperatures.

In addition, bearded dragons know how to regulate their own body temperature. Therefore, a bearded dragon knows when it needs to bask, and when to move to a cooler area if getting too warm.

In summary, it is very important to provide a proper temperature gradient for them to regulate body temperature.

Bearded Dragons in the Wild

To fully understand a bearded dragon’s needs, you must first have some knowledge regarding where they come from. This will help you provide them with a similar environment in your home.

Bearded dragons originate from the dry, desert-like regions of Australia. Therefore, they are ectotherms, also known as cold-blooded animals.

Reptiles, including bearded dragons, depending on their surrounding environmental temperature to regulate the temperature of their own bodies.

Therefore, to stay warm, dragons bask for a good portion of each day. Often enjoying the sun from a perfect perch, such as a large rock or tree trunk.

Likewise, they tend to move in and out of the sun to control their body temperatures. Nevertheless, they prefer their basking spot to be between ninety-five and one hundred and ten degrees.

Also, at night, bearded dragons prefer to move away from their basking spot and find some type of shelter so that they can sleep safely.

This is because the desert cools off considerably each night. And dragons become used to sleeping in temperatures around seventy degrees, sometimes even a bit cooler.

Night Time Heating Options

Ceramic Heat Emitters 

These give off a good amount of infrared heat. But they do not emit any light that may disturb your bearded dragon.

Ceramic heat emitters are also fairly inexpensive and very long-lasting. In fact, most dragon owners consider these to be the best nighttime heat solution. 

Infrared Bulbs 

These nighttime bulbs usually have a lower wattage than normal bulbs. They are useful for supplying a bit of heat while giving off very little light.

In addition, the black bulbs provide a dim purplish glow. While red bulbs emit a soft red glow that bearded dragons cannot see. 

Heating Mats  

These are flat pads that stick to the

  • bottom
  • side, or even
  • the top of a habitat. 

These are useful for providing extra heat from outside the cage. Remember, a heating mat may cause a fire when placed against a cage made of wood or other flammable material.

Heat Rocks 

These are common in sales and may seem like a great idea for extra heating.  However, most bearded dragons can generally gauge how hot they are getting if the heat is coming from above as the sun would naturally do.

In fact, your bearded dragon may sit on the rock for an extended period of time and not realize just how hot the surface really is. Resulting in severe burns on your bearded dragon’s belly. 

Most times, these are not recommended for a bearded dragon.

Heating Cables

These are flexible, insulated cables that emit heat when you plug them in. You can place the cable in the enclosure in large loops or tight coils. Also, you can attach them outside of the cage using electrical tape.

How to Heat Up your Bearded Dragons during Complications

If your bearded dragon gets way too cold at night, he will shut down and become very hard to wake up. If this happens, it is imperative that you warm him up immediately.

Make sure his cage is warm to a toasty one hundred and ten degrees, and then give him a warm bath in a fifty-fifty ratio of warm water to plain Pedialyte.

He will absorb this mixture through his vent area and help him warm up in a safe way. However, take care not to overheat the mixture.

After soaking for twenty to thirty minutes, dry him thoroughly and place him in his basking area. This should help him recover as quickly as possible. Nevertheless, you will want to talk to your vet to be sure that your bearded dragon is out of any possible danger.

How long can a bearded dragon live without heat? 

A bearded dragon can live without heat for a short window of time. Therefore, if your heating element goes out, he will most likely be okay for twenty-four hours, so replace it quickly.

If you are unable to provide heat after that, you run a good chance of damaging his health or even killing him.

Proper Temperatures for a Baby Bearded Dragon (Newborn – 5 Months Old)

The ambient temperatures within the enclosure for a baby bearded dragon should stay at least 80°F (26°C) to 85°F (29°C). Likewise, a basking area should have temperatures ranging between 95°F (35°C) to 110°F (43°C). On the opposite side of the enclosure, the temperatures should be slightly cooler and range between 80°F (26°C) to 90°F (32°C).

Temperature AreasIdeal Temperature Range
Basking Area95°F – 110°F
Cool-down Area80°F – 90°F

Proper Temperatures for a Juvenile Bearded Dragon (6 Months – 18 Months Old)

Juvenile bearded dragons require temperatures slightly cooler, ranging from 95°F (35°C) to 100°F (40°C) in the basking area. You should keep the cooler region around 80°F (26°C) to 90°F (32°C).

Temperature AreasIdeal Temperature Range
Basking Area95°F – 100°F
Cool-down Area80°F – 90°F

Proper Temperatures for Adult Bearded Dragon (Over 18 Months Old)

Adult bearded dragons can have slightly cooler basking areas with temperatures ranging between 90°F (32°C) to 93°F (33°C). The cooler area of the enclosure should be kept at 80°F (26°C) to 90°F (32°C), just as with babies and juveniles.

Temperature AreasIdeal Temperature Range
Basking Area90°F – 93°F
Cool-down Area80°F – 90°F

They Require Regular Veterinary Care

Finally, perhaps more than any other type of pet, bearded dragons require very specific tank setups, including proper light and heat. As well as species-specific diets, to grow and thrive.

A veterinarian knowledgeable about these details should examine newly purchased or adopted bearded dragons to ensure he is in good health. A veterinarian should also review the very unique health care needs with a new owner.