Bearded Dragons are cold-blooded reptiles, this means that they need to live in a habitat that has optimal temperatures to survive. Every Bearded Dragon owner needs to understand what temperatures are needed in the tank in order to maintain a happy and healthy Bearded Dragon.
So what are the temperatures that a Bearded Dragon needs? The temperatures that a Bearded Dragon needs are as follows:
Baby Bearded Dragon
- Basking Area – 100-110°F
- Cool Area – 80-90°F
Juvenile Bearded Dragons
- Basking Area – 95-100°F
- Cool Area – 75-80°F
Adult Bearded Dragons
- Basking Area – 95-100°F
- Cool Area – 75-80°F
The Night time temperature for all age groups of Bearded Dragon should be 70-75°F.
Read on to find out why the correct temperature is important to Bearded Dragons, how much heat they should get each day, what is the highest and lowest temperature they can survive and much more.
How Do I Create The Correct Temperature For My Bearded Dragon?
The equipment that creates the correct temperature for your Bearded Dragon is the basking lamp.
This is what will provide the heat that is needed for your Dragon to stay healthy, digest food and more.
Basking bulbs are basically halogen lamps and you can pick them up freely from hardware stores, pet stores and on the internet.
You should go for something around the 90 Watt mark depending on the size of your tank.
The basking lamps that you can purchase specifically for reptiles are often just the same as the ones that are sold in the hardware stores. For this reason, it’s totally up to you where you purchase your lamp from but you should always go for the best quality you can rather than just getting the cheapest.
You need to provide an area in the tank where your Bearded Dragon can bask with the correct temperature it needs for its age.
By the same token, you will also need to provide a cool spot where your Dragon can go to cool down when they exceed their optimal temperature.
The cool spot is created by having the basking lamp in one corner of the tank and this, in turn, will allow the opposite corner to be much cooler.
The chart at the top of this page will give you the right temperatures you need for both the basking area, cool spot and also the optimal temperature for night times, while the image below will give you a guide to how the far the basking area and cool spot should span.
Why Is The Correct Temperature Important to Bearded Dragons?
Having the correct temperature in your Bearded Dragons tank is essential to both its happiness and overall health.
Bearded Dragons are cold-blooded reptiles this means they need to regulate their body temperature through external heat sources for everyday bodily tasks such as digesting food.
In the wild, a Bearded Dragon would bask on a rock under the heat of the sun in order to get to its optimum body temperature but in captivity, you need to provide artificial heat in the form of ‘heat lamps’ otherwise known as ‘basking lamps’ to mimic the job of the sun.
If a Bearded Dragon doesn’t get the heat needs on a daily basis then necessary bodily functions such as food digestion would become hard if not impossible.
This can lead to all sorts of problems such as rotting food in the gut which is very unhealthy for your Dragon and impaction where they would basically become constipated.
This, in turn, this will have a knock on effect as they will then lose their appetite and start to become unhealthy from a lack of nutrition.
In short, it’s basically impossible for a Bearded Dragon to be healthy without the correct temperatures in their tank.
Why Is Having The Correct Temperature Important to Baby Bearded Dragons?
If having the correct temperature is vital for an adult Bearded Dragon then its probably even more so for a baby Bearded Dragon.
Baby Bearded Dragons will grow to around 90% of their full size in the first 12 months and this fast-paced growth can only be achieved when they are eating and digesting several meals per day. (This post details how fast Bearded Dragons grow)
Having the correct temperature in the tank will allow your Dragon to effectively bask under the heat lamp after each meal and digest it easily and in plenty of time for the next meal.
If the temperature is too low in the basking area then your baby Dragon will struggle to digest the meal and will start to lose its appetite for subsequent meals.
Over the long run, this will have an effect on growth and the overall health of your baby Bearded Dragon as it starts to become an adult. The bottom line is that you should always maintain the correct temperatures in your Dragons tank at all ages in order to keep them happy and healthy.
What Is the Lowest Temperature a Bearded Dragon Can Have?
A Bearded Dragon can possibly survive in temperatures as low as 63°F for a short while.
While this isn’t good for the long term they can certainly operate their bodily functions to a limited degree in this kind of temperature for a limited time.
You will likely notice that your Bearded Dragon will become lethargic as it needs to conserve energy for vital tasks.
You will also notice that they won’t be hungry at their usual meal times. There are two main reasons for this, the first is because the lower temperature in the tank will result in undigested food from their last meal still in their gut so they simply won’t be hungry.
The second reason is that they know that when the temperature in their habitat is too low that they will struggle to digest any food they consume so it’s better to wait until the conditions have improved.
Although your Bearded Dragon can survive a temperature of as low as 63°F you should always maintain something close to the temperatures in the guide at the top of this article.
There are rare situations where you might not be able to keep your Bearded Dragons tank to the required temperature for a short period of time such as if the basking bulb breaks but you really need to get things back to normal as quickly as possible.
This will allow you to rest assured that your Bearded Dragon is going to grow happy and healthy without struggling each and every day to operate essential tanks.
What Is the Highest Temperature a Bearded Dragon Can Have?
Bearded Dragons shouldn’t ever need to be exposed to temperatures that are over what is recommended in the chart at the tops of this article.
To rest assured that your Bearded Dragons tank is always at the correct temperature you really need to get a thermometer.
We will look at thermometers in more detail later in this article but in short, the old fashioned dial thermometers aren’t accurate enough for the level of precision you need for a Bearded Dragons tank so i would definitely recommend getting a good quality digital thermometer.
Something else that needs mentioning is that your tank should never be the same heat throughout.
You need both a basking area and cool spot so your Dragon can cool down if it starts to go beyond its optimal temperature.
This is very important and failure to provide a sufficient cool spot can result in health problems for your Bearded Dragon.
Again, if you look at the chart at the top of this post you will see the recommended temperatures that your Dragon needs for the cool spot.
What’s The Correct temperature During Brumation?
If you’re a new Bearded Dragon own then you might not be familiar with the term ‘brumation’. This is basically the reptile equivalent of hibernation.
If you want to know everything there is to know about brumation and how best to care for your Bearded Dragon during brumation then check out this post I’ve written.
When a Bearded Dragon reaches full adulthood then chances are it will want to go into brumation at some stage.
This is a totally natural behaviour and not something that you should try and stop them from doing.
Brumation will typically last around 6-8 weeks although it can last anything from 3 weeks to 4 months and during this time they will usually just sleep and not eat anything.
In the brumation period, you don’t need to sick to the temperature guide that you usually use for your Bearded Dragon. Your Dragon won’t actually need any artificial heat from the basking lamp at all as the whole reason for brumation is because your Bearded Dragon is preparing for winter so they are ready for colder temperatures.
Room temperature is sufficient to keep your Dragon healthy until the brumation period is over. How to lower the temperature during brumation is explained in more detail in the brumation post I’ve written.
If you ever feel unsure about anything when your Bearded Dragon is in brumation then you should consult your Vet for a consultation.
What’s The Correct Temperature at Night?
where you can get it where you can get when it comes to lighting and heat you should always try and replicate what your Bearded Dragon would experience in its natural habitat.
In the wild, Bearded Dragons would be used to a nighttime temperature of around 70°-75°F so this is the temperature you need to replicate in their tank. This advice is backed up by beardeddragon101 who also state that this is the optimal temperature for a Bearded Dragon at night.
If your room temperature is around 70°-75°F then you don’t need to add any additional heat but if your room drops below this temperature then you will need to add some external heat.
The most efficient way of doing this is with a ceramic heat emitter. If you use your regular basking lamp to top up the temperature at night then this will also give off a lot of light and your Dragon will get think it’s day time and not get the sleep it requires.
Ceramic heat emitters on the other hand only give off heat without any light so you can keep the tank at the required 70°-75°F range without disturbing your Bearded Dragon from its beauty sleep.
Here I share with you which ceramic heat emitter I recommend you use and the best place to get it from.
Why Is The Cool Spot Important?
The basking area is important for your Bearded Dragon and the cool spot is equally important.
Bearded Dragons constantly need to regulate their body temperature throughout the day and if the whole tank is the same temperature then your Dragon will struggle to do this.
In the wild Bearded Dragons will often find cooler areas under rocks and in small caves to escape the sun to cool down so in captivity you need to provide them with a cool spot to enable them to cool down.
The easiest way to create the cool spot is the place the UVB light and the basking lamp in one corner of the tank and this will then cause the opposite corner to be much cooler. There should be around a 20°F difference from the basking area to the cool spot.
You will need to do regular checks to make sure the cool spot is at the required temperature and there is a gradient from the basking area to the cool spot. The easiest way to do this is to use a good quality contactless thermometer. I have written a post here that shares the best quality thermometers, thermostats and lighting equipment you need for your Bearded Dragon.
How Much Heat Do Bearded Dragons Need Each Day?
Ok, so we have look at the correct temperature that your Bearded Dragon needs to be healthy but how much exposure do they actually need to these temperatures each day?
As a general rule of thumb, you should give your Bearded Dragon somewhere between 10-14 hours of heat at the correct temperature each day but some owners go as far as 16 hours without any problems.
You should then turn off the heat lamp to replicate the day and night cycle that they would experience on the wild.
Some Bearded Dragon owners like to also replicate the 4 seasons of the year and they will change the amount of heat they give there Dragon every 3 months depending on which season they are in.
In addition to changing the amount of heat, your Bearded Dragon will receive every 3 months you will also need to change the amount of light too.
Here is a guide that will give you an idea of how this works:
Winter – Light & Heat Hours – 10
Spring – Light & Heat Hours – 12
Summer – Light & Heat Hours – 14
Autumn – Light & Heat Hours – 12
Using a set amount of hours of heat that changes every 3-month isn’t something you have to do but it works well for helping your Bearded Dragon understand when it’s winter and time for brumation.
Below is a visual chart of how changing the temperature every 3 months would look.
How Long Can a Bearded Dragon Go Without Heat?
A Bearded Dragon needs constant access to high temperatures of around 90°-110° depending on how old it is each and every day to stay healthy and perform vital tasks.
If a Bearded Dragon doesn’t have access to any external heat source at all for around 24 hours then it will start to experience health problems.
(I’ve actually written a post that details exactly how long Bearded Dragons can go without heat, what happens if they don’t get heat and what you as an owner can do, check it out here)
One of the main problems that a Bearded Dragon will experience is the inability to digest its food. Bearded Dragons need the correct temperatures to be able to digest their food and if they don’t have access to these temperatures then they will often be left with undigested food in their gut and this, in turn, can lead to serious health problems.
Bearded Dragons will also grow lethargic and show a loss of appetite for subsequent meals when they don’t have access to an external heat source.
Having access to external heat that the right temperature is extremely important to your Beard Dragons health and you should always make sure that this is something they have.
What to Do If You Need Heat Fast
There are actually certain circumstances that can occur from time to time when you may not be able to provide your Bearded Dragon with the correct temperatures it needs.
The 2 most common of these circumstances are when your basking lamp burns out and also in the event of a power cut.
First, let’s look at what to do if your basking lamp burns out. The most obvious thing to do and something that I would always recommend is to have a spare basking lamp.
This will quickly solve the problem and you won’t have to leave your Dragon without heat for any length of time.
If you don’t have a spare then there’s a couple of other options you can try that will help your Bearded Dragon to regulate its body temperature until you can get the situation sorted although these 2 options won’t give off enough heat to be considered as a long term option so they must only be used for the smallest amount of time possible.
The first option is to use a heat mat if you have one for your Dragon or another reptile in your home. This will produce some good quality heat for the short term.
The second option is to use a ceramic heat emitter (see my recommended heat emitter here) if you use one for your Bearded Dragon at night. This again will give off enough heat for a short term solution.
In the event of a power cut, neither of these options will work as they will obviously need electricity so let’s look at another option.
You can actually fill up water bottles with hot water, put a towel over the water bottles and then let your Dragon lay on the towel. This will give off just enough heat for them to regulate their body temperature for a short while.
You will need to fill the bottles up with hot water again from time to time when the water cools down but in an emergency, this is an easy and fast solution.
I just want to mention that until you get the heat source back up and running it’s not a good idea to feed your Bearded Dragon as any food they eat won’t be able to be digested.
How Often Do Basking Lamps Need Replacing?
Basking lamps only need replacing when they have burned out of they no longer give off the required heat to keep your Bearded Dragons tank to the correct temperature.
You should always have a digital thermometer handy so you can regularly check the temperature of the tank.
It’s a good idea to always have a couple of spare lamps at home just in case the one you are using needs replacing.
The last thing you want to happen is to be in a situation where your basking lamp no longer works and you have to wait for a number of hours until you can finally get a replacement.
Should You Use a Thermostat?
Using a thermostat is very important for maintaining the correct temperature in the tank.
The job of the thermostat is to regulate the temperature in the tank by switching the basking lamp off or dimming it down when the temperature gets too high and back on again or raising the heat when the temperature gets too low.
Having a thermometer will stop you having to constantly keep checking the temperature and switching the lamp on and off manually.
You should definitely invest in a thermometer to keep the tank to the correct temperature all times and help your Bearded Dragon stay happy and healthy.
Here I share with you what thermostat I recommend and where to get it.
Using The Thermostat
You should actually use the probe in the cool spot of the tank and set it to keep the cool spot at the required level rather than using the probe in the basking area.
Getting the right heat from the thermostat can often be tricky at first and it can take some trial and error to get it right.
The best idea is to try and get the temperature of the tank correct before you actually bring your new Bearded Dragon home. If you are moving your Dragon to a new tank then the same rule applies and you should get the temperatures at the right levels before introducing your Bearded Dragon.
You should put the probe at the cool end of the tank as we mentioned before and make sure it’s either very close to or actually on the floor of the tank.
You then need to check the temperatures in both the cool spot and basking area.
You will often notice that your cool area will be just the right temperature while the basking area temperature might be a little low. The best way to fix this is to raise the level of the basking area do it’s closer to the lamp and then test the temperature again.
On the other hand, if the cool spot is too cold then you can move the probe across the tank a little so that the basking lamp temperature will change.
Remember that each time you move the probe you will need to wait around 2 hours for the temperature to stabilize so at this point patience is definitely needed.
If you keep trying the probe in a slightly different area in combination with moving the basking area slightly up or down you will eventually get both areas to the optimal temperature.
Do You Need a Timer?
Timers are a great piece of equipment and I would always recommend using them. You can set timers to supply your Bearded Dragon with both light and heat throughout the day while turning them off at night.
It’s important that you replicate the day and night cycle that your Dragon would experience in the wild.
Using a timer will automatically give you the ability to create a day and night cycle without you having to always be at home and check your watch to do it manually.
Using both timers and thermostats are like having your own personal assistants working for you around the clock and opting not to use them would be very hard work and time-consuming.
If you’re not sure what timer to use? Here I share my favourite timer and where you can get it.
I hope you got a lot of value from the is article and you now understand everything you need to know about the different temperatures a Bearded Dragon needs to be healthy.
Remember to check out the guide at the top of this article to get the specific temperature requirements for the different ages of Bearded Dragon and also the temperature they need at night.
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