Bearded dragons require higher temperatures than your standard gecko. The temperature gradient for these lizards sits between 71-77 °F on the lower end and 100-107 °F on the higher end, with a gradual progression in the middle.
This leads to the most logical question – Do bearded dragons also require nighttime heating? Normally, you wouldn’t bother with such a question for most geckos, given that they do just fine without extra nighttime heating.
But bearded dragons are slightly different, so let’s get into that.
Nighttime Temperature for Bearded Dragons
The ideal nighttime temperature range for bearded dragons is 59-68 °F, give or take. When I say give or take, I mean only on the higher end. The 59 F value is the absolute minimum, as the temperature shouldn’t drop below that.
Bearded dragons don’t experience lower temperatures than that in their natural habitat, so they shouldn’t experience them in captivity either.
So, to get to the crux of the matter, do bearded dragons actually need extra heating at night? The answer is either yes or no, based on the situation.
If the room temperature drops below 59 F constantly, the beardie’s environmental temperature will also drop below that point; which would be unfortunate. In that case, the dragon will require extra heating.
If the room temperature is fairly high and constant, even during nighttime, you don’t need to bother with any extra heating.
How to Provide Heat at Night for Your Beardie
If you’ve decided that your bearded dragon requires extra heating at night, consider the following options:
Ceramic heaters are especially advantageous for nighttime heating because they produce no light.
Bearded dragons are diurnal animals, so they need to rest during nighttime. Ceramic heaters help with that, as they produce no light, allowing your reptile to rest properly.
The wattage is the only thing that matters when it comes to ceramic heaters. Look for a piece that fits your beardie’s enclosure and requirements perfectly.
Make sure that the heater keeps the environmental temperature stable but does not increase it past your beardie’s comfort level.
Heat pads rank as the most popular heating option available. They are easy to use, warm your beardie’s habitat uniformly, and are great for adjusting the temperature on those cold nights when beardies could use the extra heating.
Make sure you’re getting a heating pad fit for your lizard’s enclosure. Check the pad’s size and wattage beforehand to make sure it meets your requirements.
Heat Lamp with a Thermostat
Heat lamps are also popular for maintaining your beardie’s nighttime temperature. However, make sure you’re getting the right type.
You want nighttime heat lamps that would operate based on an invisible light spectrum, not to disturb your dragon’s sleep cycle. These lamps will produce visible light as well, but only in moderation.
Choose the right wattage and light color, whether blue or red. I recommend blue, as there is evidence that blue allows the brain to rest better.
If your dragon doesn’t like the extra light and appears to wake up frequently and not rest properly, exchange your heat lamps for another heating option.
Lowest Temperature Bearded Dragons Can Handle
The absolute lowest temperature for bearded dragons is 59 °F. However, you shouldn’t allow the environmental temperature to reach that point. Ideally, the temperature shouldn’t go lower than 65 F, or even upper 60s, depending on the case.
Bearded dragons can only withstand lower temperatures for short periods, but prolonged exposure to cold will eventually impact the reptile’s health.
Signs of Bearded Dragon Getting Cold
If your bearded dragon exhibits the various symptoms, consider increasing the environmental temperature a bit:
- Visible lethargy – We’re talking about the bearded dragon spending its time on its belly, not moving much, and appearing disoriented. This is a sign of temperature-related stress, causing the dragon to sit still to conserve energy.
- Lack of appetite – The lack of appetite can have many causes, low temperatures being on the top. If the temperature is too low, the dragon’s metabolism will drop, causing the reptile to refuse the food. Make sure you’ve determined the cause accurately; bearded dragons can also experience low appetites when sick, and you don’t want to ignore that possibility.
- Sunken eyes – The dragon will either exhibit sunken eyes or keep them closed when it shouldn’t. This is either a sign of low temperature or low humidity, causing the dragon to close its eyes to protect them from dryness. Either way, assess the reptile’s environmental parameters to make sure you’ve determined the cause accurately.
Problems Caused by Low Temperature in Bearded Dragons
The exposure to inadequately low temperatures for extended periods of time subjects the dragon to the risk of temperature shock. This is generally deadly, especially if your bearded dragon is old or sick.
But exposure to low temperatures may also have other unforeseen consequences, so let’s detail these here:
- Poor digestion – This occurs due to the slower metabolism, causing the reptile’s digestive system to slow down dramatically. On one hand, this causes the reptile to eat less, which comes with its own downsides, as you will soon see. On another hand, the food your dragon has already ingested will rot in the stomach, leading to food poisoning and death.
- Malnutrition – This is the direct result of the dragon not eating as much or as frequently due to the low temperatures. Bearded dragons are very sensitive to nutritional deficiencies, especially calcium deficiency, which is often known to cause Metabolic Bone Disease. Again, this is a deadly condition.
- Impaired movement and weakness – Bearded dragons are considered semi-arboreal and fairly active lizards overall. They tend to move and patrol their habitat regularly, exhibiting fair amounts of energy throughout the day. However, their behavior changes dramatically in cold temperatures, as dragons become more sluggish and exhibit physical weakness. This could be dangerous as it can cause the dragon to fall when attempting to climb and hurt itself.
- Impaired immune response – The dragon’s immune system depends on the animal’s environmental temperature. The colder the temperature, the less active the immune system will be, rendering the lizard vulnerable to parasites, bacteria, and other pathogens.
- Higher risk of respiratory infections – Unstable temperature and humidity are responsible for most respiratory infections in bearded dragons. If the temperature is too low, the dragon becomes more vulnerable to airborne pathogens, and we all know where that is going. The same goes for humidity, whether too low or too high. If it’s too high, your dragon may experience pneumonia, which opens the door to a new host of problems.
As you can see, there are virtually no pros to keeping your bearded dragon in low temperatures. Have a reliable thermometer around so you can monitor your beardie’s environmental temperature accurately and in real-time. This cheap instrument could actually save your pet’s life.
Bearded dragons need to live in warm and cozy environments with stable parameters and an optimized temperature gradient.
You should always invest time and energy into producing the safest, most comfortable, and most natural-looking habitat for your bearded dragons.
This alone will considerably increase your pet’s quality of life over the years and act as an awesome preventive measure against various health problems.