Questions for Bruce: Do Bearded Dragons Need Heat at Night?
Keeping Your Reptile Comfortable at Nighttime
Sandy from Euclid asked: “With it getting colder at night, I often wonder if my bearded dragon is warm enough in his enclosure. Should I be giving him access to a heat lamp 24/7?”
Bruce’s Answer: First, it is great that you are thinking about your beardy’s comfort level at nighttime. The optimal temperature at different times of the day is so important for a bearded dragon’s comfort and health. But whether your pet needs a heat lamp or other heat source at night really depends on the temperature in your house. Here are a few considerations that will hopefully help you determine the right setup for your bearded dragon.
Because bearded dragons are reptiles, they cannot regulate their body temperature—and it can be dangerous if they become too cold or too hot. But how do you make sure that the temperature is just right? To begin with, make sure you have a high-quality thermostat monitoring the temperature in his enclosure at all times of the day. You can search for digital reptile terrarium thermometers and digital temperature controllers online and purchase one on Amazon or at a local pet store. For optimal temperature control, consider using two different controllers at different ends of the enclosure—one near his basking light and another on the opposite side.
The goal is to mimic your dragon’s natural environment. In the wild, a bearded dragon would spend the day basking in the sun’s heat. Then, when the temperature drops at night, he will naturally become cooler. If your bearded dragon is cool to the touch in the morning, don’t immediately assume he was too cold during the night: His body temperature will rise during the day while he’s under his basking lamp. Try to base your decisions about using additional heat sources solely on the temperature readings in the enclosure.
Does the temperature in the tank drop below 65 degrees at night? If this is the case, you may need to use an additional or supplemental heat source. Consider a ceramic lamp next to his basking bulb to be consistent about where your bearded dragon should expect his heat source. Ceramic lamps are ideal because they do not emit any light and will not disrupt his sleeping patterns. You could also swap out his basking lamp bulb at night with an infrared bulb, but this will usually not last as long as a ceramic lamp. One word of caution: If you choose to use a heat mat, take care to affix it to the back wall of his enclosure. Do not place it beneath the substrate where your beardy could dig down to it and spend too much time directly on top of the mat.
We hope this information helps, Sandy! If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our team directly.
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