Wondering how long bearded dragons can go without heat? Survival without heat depends on many factors.
In this guide, you’ll learn:
- How long can beardies survive without heat?
- How to tell if your beardie is too cold
- Tips for keeping them warm during travel or transport
- How to keep your beardie warm without a heat lamp
The length of time a bearded dragon can survive without heat depends on various factors, including the age and health of the dragon, the temperature and humidity of its tank, and the duration of the heating outage. However, as a general rule, bearded dragons should not be left without heat for more than 24-48 hours.
Bearded dragons require a specific temperature range to thrive, which includes a basking spot with temperatures ranging from 95-105 degrees Fahrenheit (35-40°C) and a cooler side with temperatures ranging from 75-85°F (24-29°C).
It can be a stressful time if you’re left with an unheated reptile, whether due to travel or the electricity turning off, being ectotherms, they do require external heat to survive.
How to tell if your beardie is too cold
Bearded dragons are cold-blooded reptiles that require specific temperature conditions to thrive. It is essential to provide them with a proper temperature gradient, including a basking spot and a cooler area, to ensure they can regulate their body temperature and maintain their overall health.
If a bearded dragon is too cold, they may exhibit several signs indicating discomfort and distress.
Here are some ways to tell if a bearded dragon is too cold:
Lethargy is one of the signs that a bearded dragon may exhibit if they are too cold. When a bearded dragon is too cold, their body slows down to conserve energy, and they may become lethargic and slow-moving. This is because their metabolism and digestion slow down, which can affect their overall energy levels.
If a bearded dragon is too cold for an extended period, they may not have enough energy to move around or hunt for food. They may spend more time resting and basking in an attempt to absorb more heat. This can lead to a decrease in their activity level, and they may not be as playful or interactive as usual.
Suppressed appetite is another sign that a bearded dragon may exhibit if they are too cold. When a bearded dragon’s body temperature is too low, their metabolism and digestion slow down, which can affect their appetite. A bearded dragon that is too cold may lose their appetite and refuse to eat, even if they are offered their favorite foods.
A suppressed appetite can also be a sign of stress or illness, so it is important to monitor your bearded dragon’s behavior and environment regularly. If you notice that your bearded dragon is not eating as much as usual or is refusing food altogether, it is important to check their environment and ensure that their basking spot and overall temperature gradient are appropriate.
Dark coloration is another sign that a bearded dragon may exhibit if they are too cold. Bearded dragons are ectothermic, meaning that their body temperature is regulated by external sources of heat.
When a bearded dragon is too cold, they will try to absorb more heat to raise their body temperature. One way they do this is by darkening their skin color to increase their absorption of heat from their environment.
The color change can be quite noticeable, with a normally light-colored bearded dragon appearing darker than usual. This darkening of the skin is called melanism, and it is a natural response to help the bearded dragon absorb more heat.
If you notice that your bearded dragon is darker than usual, it is important to check their environment and ensure that their basking spot and overall temperature gradient are appropriate. Providing additional heat sources such as a heat lamp or ceramic heater can help raise their body temperature and prevent further darkening of the skin.
Respiratory issues can be a serious health concern for bearded dragons and can be caused by a variety of factors, including temperature. When a bearded dragon is too cold, their immune system may become compromised, which can increase their susceptibility to respiratory infections.
One of the main respiratory issues that can be caused by temperature is pneumonia, which is an infection of the lungs. When a bearded dragon’s body temperature drops, their immune system may not be able to fight off the bacteria or viruses that can cause pneumonia. This can lead to symptoms such as difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing, and lethargy.
In addition to temperature, other factors that can contribute to respiratory issues in bearded dragons include poor nutrition, inadequate humidity levels, and exposure to other sick animals. It is important to monitor your bearded dragon’s behavior and environment regularly and to provide proper care and nutrition to help prevent respiratory issues from occurring.
If you notice any signs of respiratory distress in your bearded dragon, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately. A veterinarian specializing in reptile medicine can conduct a thorough examination, run diagnostic tests if necessary, and provide appropriate treatment to help your bearded dragon recover. Treatment may include antibiotics, nebulization therapy, or other medications to help support their immune system and promote healing.
Can a bearded dragon die without heat?
Yes! Without proper heat, a bearded dragon’s body temperature will drop, causing their metabolism to slow down. This can lead to several health issues such as loss of appetite, lethargy, and decreased immune function. The lower body temperature also impacts their digestive system, causing it to slow down or stop entirely, leading to bloating and constipation.
Your bearded dragon may become too weak to move or feed if the cold environment persists, leading to dehydration and organ failure. The prolonged exposure to low temperatures can also lead to respiratory infections, which can be fatal if left untreated.
To avoid the risk of a bearded dragon dying without heat, providing them with a suitable heat source is crucial. This means having a basking light or heat lamp that provides temperatures between 95-105°F (35-40°C) in their basking area and a cooler side with temperatures ranging from 75-85°F (24-29°C). It is also essential to regularly monitor the temperature and humidity levels in their enclosure, especially during the colder months.
If the primary heat source fails, you should have a backup heat source such as a heat pad or hand warmers. This will ensure that your bearded dragon’s temperature does not drop below their ideal range. In addition, avoid placing their enclosure in areas with draft or cold air, such as near windows or doors. By providing adequate heat and monitoring their environment, you can prevent your bearded dragon from experiencing the negative effects of low temperatures and help them thrive in their habitat.
Keeping your bearded dragon warm while traveling
Traveling with a bearded dragon can be an exciting adventure, but it’s important to make sure your scaly friend stays warm and comfortable during the trip. Here are some tips to keep your bearded dragon warm while traveling:
Use a polybox as a carrier
When traveling with a bearded dragon, it’s important to have an appropriate carrier like a polystyrene or similar box for several reasons:
- Safety: A polybox or similar carrier is designed to keep your bearded dragon safe and secure during transport. The box should be sturdy and well-ventilated to prevent your pet from escaping or becoming injured during the trip.
- Temperature regulation: A polybox can help regulate the temperature inside the carrier by providing insulation and preventing drafts. This is important because bearded dragons require a specific temperature range to stay healthy and comfortable.
- Darkness: A dark container can reduce the stimuli the dragon is exposed to during the potentially stressful travel, this can help reduce stress levels.
Wrap the carrier
Wrapping the polybox in a blanket or towel can provide additional insulation and help retain heat inside the carrier. This is particularly important when traveling in colder weather or when the temperature inside the car or other transportation may fluctuate. The blanket or towel can also help block out drafts and prevent the carrier from becoming too cold.
Do not wrap your polybox too tightly as this can lead to overheating and potentially harm your bearded dragon. Monitor the temperature inside the carrier and adjust the wrapping as needed to ensure your pet stays safe and comfortable throughout the trip.
Use remote heat sources
Remote heat sources like heat mats with a portable power source can be used to help keep your bearded dragon warm and comfortable while traveling. Here are some tips on how to use them effectively:
- Choose the right size heat mat: Be sure to choose a heat mat that is the appropriate size for your bearded dragon’s carrier. You don’t want the heat mat to be too small or too large, as this can cause uneven heating or make it difficult to regulate the temperature.
- Use a portable power source: When traveling, it’s important to have a portable power source for your heat mat, such as a suitable battery or power bank. This allows you to maintain a consistent heat source for your bearded dragon, even if you don’t have access to an electrical outlet.
- Monitor the temperature: Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature inside the carrier or enclosure and adjust the heat mat as needed to maintain the optimal temperature range for your bearded dragon. Be sure to avoid overheating, as this can be dangerous for your pet, sometimes more-so than the cold!
What temperature should I keep my bearded dragon enclosure?
Recommend temperature for basking areas
Setting up a basking area is essential to creating a healthy and comfortable enclosure for a bearded dragon. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to set up a basking area:
- Choose the right location: The basking area should be located in the warmest part of the enclosure and should receive direct heat from a heat lamp or other heat source. Providing a gradient of temperatures in the enclosure is important, with the basking area being the warmest spot.
- Choose the right lighting: Use a halogen basking bulb or heat lamp to provide a sun-like heat source for your bearded dragon. Make sure the bulb is the appropriate wattage for your enclosure size and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation.
- Provide a basking surface: Choose a sturdy, non-toxic surface for your bearded dragon to bask on, such as a large rock or log. The surface should be able to hold heat and be large enough for your bearded dragon to comfortably rest on.
- Set the temperature: The basking area should be kept at a temperature range of 100-110°F (38-43°C). Use a digital thermometer with a probe to monitor the temperature, and adjust the height of the heat source or wattage of the bulb as needed to maintain the optimal temperature range.
Recommended temperature for hiding spots
In the bearded dragon’s enclosure, shaded hiding areas should be provided to allow the dragon to regulate its body temperature and avoid overheating. These areas should be cooler than the basking area and should be maintained at a temperature range of around 75-85°F (24-29°C).
The shaded hiding areas can be created using various items like hide boxes, rocks, logs, or plants, and they should be placed in a cooler part of the enclosure, away from the heat source. The shaded areas provide a place for the bearded dragon to retreat and rest when it needs to cool down, and they can also provide a sense of security and privacy for the dragon.
It’s important to monitor the temperature in the shaded areas using a thermometer to ensure that it remains within the appropriate range. If the temperature in the shaded area is too high, you can adjust the heat source or wattage of the basking bulb to bring it down. On the other hand, if the temperature in the shaded area is too low, you can use a low wattage heat source or a ceramic heat emitter to maintain the temperature.
Recommended night temperature
I would recommend 65-75°F (18-24°C) overnight. It can benefit their health to briefly allow these low temperatures overnight, so long as their day temperatures are appropriate.
In their natural habitat, bearded dragons can experience cool temperatures at night, especially during winter. Temperatures in their natural habitat can drop as low as 60°F (15°C) or even lower in some regions.
Providing an appropriate nighttime temperature range is crucial for the health and well-being of bearded dragons. Maintaining a consistent temperature range can help prevent health issues such as respiratory infections and metabolic bone disease and can ensure that the bearded dragon is comfortable and able to rest properly during the night.
How to keep a bearded dragon warm without a heat lamp
There is always the risk of your power going down for a whole range of reasons, so how would you handle a situation like this? Of course, outside of the situation a proper halogen basking lamp is essential to a dragon’s health!
Do you actually need to do anything?
If the temperature isn’t going to drop below the appropriate nighttime range discussed above, and the heat lamp isn’t going to be off for longer than 24-48hrs, then you may not need to do anything!
In this situation, monitor those temperatures and keep in mind that your dragon’s activity will drop for this period of time. Sometimes in panic situations, keepers are likely to create hazards from trying to heat their pet up desperately – understand that the dragon can handle some time at as low temperatures as 60°F (15°C).
Insulating a bearded dragon enclosure can help retain heat and keep your pet warm in case of a power outage. Here are some steps you can take to insulate the enclosure:
Cover the enclosure: Cover the top of the enclosure with a thick blanket or towel to help retain heat. You can also drape a blanket or towel over the sides of the enclosure to further insulate it.
Add insulation: Place additional insulation inside the enclosure to help retain heat. You can use items like Styrofoam boards, bubble wrap, or thick towels to line the bottom and sides of the enclosure.
Use single-use heat packs: Heat packs can provide additional warmth for your bearded dragon. Place a few heat packs inside the enclosure, ensuring they do not directly touch your pet or any flammable material.
Heat packs, misused, can cause a significant risk of burning your pet, causing a fire, & if too powerful and too insulated, can cause an enclosure to get too hot very fast. Use with extreme caution!
Spare power sources
Obtaining spare power sources like a portable generator or large power packs for your bearded dragon can be a useful way to ensure you are covered in a power outage, you can purchase them online or at your local hardware store. Make sure to choose a generator or power pack with enough wattage to power the heat lamp and other necessary equipment in your bearded dragon enclosure.
- Place the generator outside: Never use a generator inside the house or in enclosed spaces, as it can release harmful fumes. Place it outside, away from any doors or windows, and connect it to the enclosure using extension cords.
- Connect the heat source: Plug the heat lamp and any other equipment to the generator or power pack. Make sure to use surge protectors and appropriate extension cords.
- Monitor the temperature: Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature inside the enclosure and adjust the heat source or insulation as needed to maintain a safe temperature range.
- Follow safety guidelines: Always follow the manufacturer’s safety guidelines and instructions when using a generator or power pack. Never overload it with too many devices or leave it unattended.
Why do bearded dragons need heat?
Bearded dragons, like all reptiles, are ectothermic, meaning that they rely on external sources of heat to regulate their body temperature. They need heat to help them perform essential functions such as digestion, metabolism, and immune system function.
Bearded dragons bask in the sun to absorb heat and raise their body temperature in their natural habitat. They will move to cooler areas to regulate their body temperature as needed. In captivity, it is important to provide a heat source to help mimic their natural environment and ensure that they are able to regulate their body temperature.
What temperature is too cold for bearded dragons?
If the temperature drops below the lower end of this range, a bearded dragon may become too cold, which can lead to health problems. A temperature below 65°F (18°C) is generally considered too cold for a bearded dragon and can lead to symptoms such as lethargy, loss of appetite, and respiratory issues. In extreme cases, prolonged exposure to temperatures below 60°F (16°C) can lead to hypothermia, which can be life-threatening.
Bearded dragons are ectothermic, meaning that they rely on external sources of heat to regulate their body temperature. They need heat to perform essential functions such as digestion, metabolism, and immune system function. If they are unable to regulate their body temperature properly, their immune system may become compromised, making them more susceptible to illness.