Bearded Dragons need heat to grow happy and healthy. In fact, providing a high-quality heat source is one of the most important things you can do for your Bearded Dragon and by the same token depriving then of heat can be detrimental to their health.
In this post, we will look at how long bearded dragons can go without out heat, why heat is important to bearded dragons and what to do if they need a heat source quickly.
So how long can a Bearded Dragon go without heat? A Bearded Dragon can only go 24 hours without a heat lamp or another external source of heat such as the sun if the temperature is 65°F or above. After this time a Bearded Dragon would start to suffer from health problems, loss of appetite and the inability to digest food properly. You should always give your Bearded Dragon access to a heat lamp on a daily basis.
Read on to find out how many hours of heat a Bearded Dragon needs each day if they need heat at night and more.
How Long Can Bearded Dragons Go Without Heat Lamps – A Closer Look
As we’ve just learned, it’s vital for your Bearded Dragon to have access to a heat lamp every day so they can stay healthy.
The longest that a Bearded Dragon can really go without heat is around 24 hours and even then it can be quite dangerous and cause them a lot of problems with digestion and their ability to move around.
There are certain circumstances where your Dragon might have to go without a heat lamp for a couple of hours if the lamp burns out or there is a power cut throughout the day.
This is fine and shouldn’t cause any problems to your Dragons health, although you should try and give them access to a heat source as soon as you can.
I recommend always having spare basking lamps in your home just in case the lamp burns out.
This way you can simply plug in the spare and you are up and running, rather than having to go out and purchase a new one.
This takes time and can leave your Dragon without the heat it needs for hours rather than minutes.
In a power cut you will have to wait until the power comes back on to use the basking lamp and there isn’t anything you can do about that, however there are a couple of things you can do to try and keep your Dragon a little warmer in the meantime and we will talk about them in the next section.
You should also consider not feeding your Bearded Dragon if they don’t have access to a heat source for a few hours because they will struggle to digest the food. Depending on the situation you may want to think about saving the meal until you have a basking lamp ready and working.
If you’re not sure how to set up your Bearded Dragons tank with heating and lighting correctly then check out my complete guide to heating and light for Bearded Dragons here. It explains in simple terms how to set everything up from start to finish.
Why Do Bearded Dragons Need Heat Lamps?
Bearded Dragons are exothermic which means they need to get heat and light from an external source. Source:
In the wild, the external source is the sun and in captivity, the external source is the heat lamp or otherwise known as the basking lamp.
This external heat either from the sun or basking lamp is vital for the health of your Bearded Dragon.
One of the most important jobs of the heat lamp is to aid digestion and in your Bearded Dragon and absorb nutrients, in fact, if your Dragon doesn’t have the opportunity to bask under a heat lamp after eating a meal then it can cause a lot of health problems.
Bearded Dragons can end up with undigested food rotting in their gut if not allowed to bask under a lamp after eating.
They can also suffer from impaction. This is where they get undigested food and other small substances such as sand in the digestive system that can’t be digested and this then causes constipation.
This can be a very painful experience for your Dragon and can lead to loss of appetite, restricted movement and being overall unhappy.
Why Heat Is Important For Baby Bearded Dragons
Heat is just as important for baby Bearded Dragons if not more important.
Baby Bearded Dragons grow at such a furious pace that they need to eat a lot of food throughout the day to keep up with their rate of growth.
90% of the growth is actually done in the first 12 months of a Bearded Dragon’s life.
If a baby Bearded Dragons can’t digest the meal it’s just eaten then it won’t be hungry for the next meal and ultimately it will struggle to grow at the desired rate.
This is why heat is so important to Bearded Dragons at any age and you should always make it a top priority.
What to Do If You Need Heat Fast?
There may be some circumstances where you just need to get an alternative heat source to your Bearded Dragon fast.
The two main reasons for this will be when your heat lamp burns out and you don’t have a spare and also in a power cut.
There are a couple of things you can do to give your Bearded Dragon a small amount of heat until you solve the problem and get their heat lamp back up and running.
These options won’t give off anywhere near as much heat as the heat lamp but they can help your Dragon regulate its body temperature slightly in the period that they don’t have heat.
You may have a heat mat for your Bearded Dragon or another reptile in the home, this can come in handy and provides good quality heat.
If you use a ceramic heat emitter to top up the temperature of the Dragons tank at night then this can be used to give off heat and keep your Dragons body temperature as close to optimal as possible.
Obviously, in a power cut, neither of these options will be of use as they both require electric, however, in the event of a power cut, you can actually fill water bottles up with hot water, put a towel over the bottles and then lay your Bearded Dragon on the top of the towel.
It’s important that you use a towel here as you don’t want to burn your Dragon and you will also need to re-heat the water in the bottles every so often as they cool down.
This should help them to regulate their body temperature when you you really don’t have any other option.
How Much Heat Do Bearded Dragons Need Each Day?
You now know how important heat is to a Bearded Dragon but how much exposure do they need to a heat lamp each day?
You should provide your Bearded Dragon with around 10-14 hours of light per day and some owners go all the way upto 16 hours and you should also leave the basking lamp on for this period of time too.
Some people like to replicate the winter-summer cycle and change the number of hours of light and heat they give their Dragon every 3 months.
If you want to go down that route here is a guide that you may want to follow:
- Winter – Light & Heat Hours – 10
- Spring – Light & Heat Hours – 12
- Summer – Light & Heat Hours – 14
- Autumn – Light & Heat Hours – 12
You don’t have to follow this guide to the letter, however, it will give you a good idea of how you can change the light and heat you give your Bearded Dragon per day to replicate the what they would experience in the wild.
If you want to stick to a set amount of hours all year round then this is fine too and generally, I would stick to a higher amount of hours that reflect summer.
What Is The Correct Temperature a Bearded Dragon Needs In Their Tank?
The temperature that a Bearded Dragon needs in the tank will change depending on their age.
Different areas of the tank will also need to be at different temperatures to allow your Dragon to both bask and get to its optimal temperature and also to cool down to help regulate its body temperature.
If you really want to become an expert on the temperatures for Bearded Dragons then I’ve written a complete guide that will walk you through everything you need to know in simple terms. You can check it out right here.
Here is a guide that will help you to give your Bearded Dragon the correct temperature in their tank: This chart should be used as a guide only, you should always consult your vet.
Bearded Dragon Tank Temperature Guide
|Bearded Dragon Temperature Guide|
|Basking Area 95°-100°F|
|Cool Spot 75°-80°F|
Do Bearded Dragons Need Heat at Night?
Bearded Dragons need a temperature of around 70-75°F at night Source:
This helps to replicate what they would experience in the wild and keep your bearded dragon healthy.
If the temperature drops to 65°F or below then you should supply a heat source to top up the temperature back to the recommended 70-75°F.
The way to do this is with a ceramic heat emitter because unlike a regular heat lamp they don’t give off any light. The ceramic heat emitter will only give off heat so it won’t disturb your Dragon while it’s sleeping.
I’ve created a guide that shares exactly what heat emitter I personally use as well as all my other equipment. You can take a look at it here.
Depending on where you live in the world and the room temperature in your house, you may not need to supply any additional heat for your Dragon at night.
To check the temperature of the tank I would strongly recommend that you use a digital contactless thermometer. This will help you to easily distinguish the temperature in the tank. This post here shares the digital thermometer I recommend and why it’s the best option.
Using dial thermometers is very inaccurate and you are basically guessing at the temperature.
Should You Use a Timer?
As you probably know by now, lighting and heating are vital to your Bearded Dragon.
I would always recommend that you use a timer to control when the lights and heat go on and off in your Dragon tank.
We all lead busy lives and it only takes one day where we forget to switch on the light and heat lamp and your Bearded Dragon could have to go all day while you are at work with no light or heat.
Having everything on a timer and automating the whole process makes everything hands-free and you can rest assured that your Dragon is getting the heat and light that they need.
This also helps with their body clock and things like feeding in the morning become much easier is your Bearded Dragon knows that if the lights and heat go on at 7 am (for example) then they are going to get fed one hour later.
It can be hard to know exactly what timer to use, personally I recommend use Century 7. I‘ve created a guide that lists all the equipment I personally use including heating, lighting and timers. You can see all my recommended equipment here.
All in all, i strongly recommend using a timer for both you and your Bearded Dragon.
Do You Need to Provide Heat During Drumation?
If you aren’t sure what brumation is, this is basically the reptile version of hibernation.
Not all Bearded Dragons will go into brumation in captivity but a lot of them will once they reach adulthood.
If your Dragon decides that it wants to brumate then there isn’t a lot you can do except help with the process.
Brumation usually lasts around 6-8 weeks but it can last anything from 3 weeks to 4 months and you will often find that your Bearded Dragon won’t want to eat. They will simply sleep and that basically it.
You can slowly reduce the amount of heat during brumation until you turn off the heat completely.
After brumation, you can them turn on the heat gradually until you reach your Dragons usually tank temperatures.
This brumation guide with walk you through the process and answer all your questions to ensure the brumation period is smooth for both you and your Bearded Dragon.
If at any time you are unsure about anything during the brumation period it’s a good idea to seek advice from your Vet.
I hope you got a lot of value from this post and you now know how long your Bearded Dragon can go without a heat lamp.
The mains things to remember are to never let your Bearded Dragon go more than 24 hours without a heat lamp, always have a replacement in case your heat lamp burns out and try to use an alternative heat source as recommended in situations such as power cuts.
If you use this and the other advice given in this post then your Bearded Dragon should have everything it needs from its heat lamp to grow fit and healthy.
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