Does a bearded dragon need heat at night?

Does a bearded dragon need a night time heat source? The simple answer to that question is, it depends how warm your house is.

A reptile like a bearded dragon  – which is native to the baking hot Aussie ‘bush’ – worships the sun during the day. But at night time when the temperature drops in the outback, the beardie likes a colder temperature.

You shouldn’t worry about your vivarium’s night temperature being colder than during the day, but you still mustn’t let it get too cold.

Shaune said: “Bearded dragons actually thrive on a colder temperature at night. This colder rest period allows them to be more active during the day.

“Don’t worry if your beardie feels cold to the touch first thing in the morning. They are cold blooded creatures and will warm up naturally throughout the day as they bask.”

If it’s too warm at night time, the reptile is likely to become ill so it’s important that you only increase the night temperature if the ambient temperature becomes too low.

So the rule for a bearded dragon’s night time temperature is that it can get cooler but not too cool, and to maintain the correct heat you have a number of options.

During the day a bearded dragon will like a temperature of around 95F (35C) but at night time, you only really need to worry if the temperature drops to around 65F (18C).

Shaune said: “If your house is cold of a night, especially if you live in a cottage for example, it may be too cold for your bearded dragon. If that temperature drops below 65F you need to keep the vivarium warmer.”

Ceramic heaters for a bearded dragon’s night time heat

A ceramic heater is the best solution for night time heating. Although more expensive than regular glass bulbs, ceramic heaters will last three times as long.

600x424 ceramic bulb

Shaune said: “Ceramic heaters emit a nice infra red heat but as they are non-light emitting bulbs they won’t disturb your reptiles at night time.

“In a bearded dragon vivarium you’ll have your basking bulb down one end so the reptile comes to associate heat with that end of the viv. So that’s where you want to put your night time bulb as well. Either put your night time bulb next to your basking bulb, or if you don’t want the extra wires, just unscrew your basking bulb and replace it of a night with your ceramic bulb.”

Thermostats for a bearded dragon’s night time heat

A ceramic heater should be used in conjunction with a Microclimate B2 thermostat so you can control the heat.

Night glow lamps for a bearded dragon’s night time heat

A cheaper alternative to the ceramic bulb is a nightglow lamp such as the Swell Nightglow Heat Spot Lamp.

But Shaune added: “It may seem cheaper to go with a nightglow lamp than a ceramic bulb, but a nightglow will not last as long and will also require a Microclimate B1 thermostat rather than the B2 which the ceramic heater requires.”

If you do decide to use your ceramic and basking bulb in the same socket, you should consider a magic eye thermostat which will detect when the lower temperature is needed.

Heat mats for a bearded dragon’s night time heat

A cheaper option to maintain a nice warm temperature is a heat mat. You shouldn’t put the heat mat beneath the substrate as the beardie may dig through the substrate and spend too long directly on the mat, instead you should try fixing the heat mat to the back wall of the vivarium.

As a final piece of advice Shaune said: “Always make sure you use a good thermometer. The Swell Bearded Dragon Advanced Kit includes a dial (analogue) thermometer but you can also upgrade to a digital thermometer if you want to get a more accurate reading.”

This piece is designed to help understand the night time need for bearded dragons, but a similar approach should be taken for chameleons, royal pythons, boas and crested geckos.
by Vinnie Lafferty


Comments

  • Avatar Christine Thompson Posted 08/12/2016 at 8:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hi I rescues a dearded dragon.I was told she was a he, so it was a surprise to have eggs and manic digging. The vivarium and dragon came with a light bulb no uvb, no heat source as she reckoned the heat source had just died. She / he came with a dish full of red peppers as she/he apparently had ran out of live food and she /he loved peppers (she has never touched the peppers since). So she as we now know her was difficult to deal with at the beginning. She immediately when coming to our house had the full set up and food. She would not go to the toilet until she was in water.
    Marney has been with us for about 2 and a half years. we had just talked about well she was doing, when her limbs swelled up and looked like she was about to die.
    I have since spent well over £300 plus. .travelled everyday for a week (1.5hr there and back) for a specialist vet…..
    So what is my question?
    My bearded, having had such a difficult start, was doing well with one end of the viv below 80 degree and the top point for basking is 110 degree.give or take a degree.
    I read how heat is not necessary at night so in the beginning I turned the heat off, but she did not do well.
    So for the last two years she has day and night heat the same. She has two hides and shelves, which she moves to and from.
    So should I cut the heat at night or just carrying on as I am doing
    Kindest regards chris

    • Fran Marshall Fran Marshall Posted 19/01/2017 at 9:47 am | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Christine,

      Bearded Dragons int he wild would have much colder nights, with warmer days. Although you don’t want the Dragon to get very cold, and maintaining an overnight heat is helpful, it certainly shouldn’t be as warm as the day, as this doesnt represent a natural day and night cycle that they need.

  • Avatar Diana Mcinnes Posted 07/03/2017 at 9:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I’ve just got a bearded dragon,he came with a heating pad which I put sand over,seems very hot but temps in viv are good,do I need to keep it in x

  • Avatar David Posted 17/08/2017 at 9:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I’ve recently bought 2 bearded dragons, I have 4ft vivarium with a 100w ceramic bulb at one end and a uvb tube th full length of the viv, a log in the centre and cave at the cold end, I have a rock under the ceramic bulb but they never ask on it, spending all their time on the log. Is this the right setup? It’s exactly what they told me in the pet shop I have the temperatures at 33 during the day and 23 at night, they are eating but not much at all, I’m trying to vary their meals with salad/veg then mealworms, crickets and hoppers but they aren’t really taking to any of them, I’ve read that changes to eating, light, and relocation can stress them out and I’m hoping they’ll get over it but now one has gone a grey colour and I’m really worried, what should I do?
    Thank you in advance

  • Avatar sarah Posted 27/08/2017 at 1:50 am | Permalink | Reply

    This depends on the age of your dragons.
    During the day all stages of dragons need roughly 80 – 90 F (26.66 – 32.22 C) at their ‘cool down’ area.

    Basking area :
    Babies 105 – 110 F (40.56 – 43.33 C)
    Juveniles 95 – 100 F (35 – 37.77 C)
    Adults 90 – 95 F (32.22 – 35 C)

    During the night however you want to be hitting roughly 70 – 75 F (21.11 – 23.88 C) throughout the whole vivarium for all stages of dragons.

  • Avatar Carla Posted 04/11/2017 at 8:04 am | Permalink | Reply

    I was told I need a extra heat source 4 night time I have a 100 at basking light and uvb light could u suggest anything plz

    • Fran Marshall Fran Marshall Posted 20/02/2018 at 8:45 am | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Carla,

      A ceramic heat bulb would be best as a night time heat source, as it will provide no light at all, and therefore not disturb your dragon overnight. This can be easily controlled on a thermostat to ensure complete safety.

  • Avatar Denise Berry Posted 26/11/2017 at 7:58 am | Permalink | Reply

    I have a two year old b.d
    He is amazing, currently sitting on my shoulder as I text,he felt cold which prompted me reading a little more,thankly his night temperature is 22.1 so I’m reassured no change needed,
    Food he loves hopper,roaches,meal works, broccoli,apple sauce,orange watercress.hes one happy fella and my four year old son best friend

    Never thought I’d bond with a lizard

  • Avatar Bob Posted 25/03/2018 at 6:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hi guys I have set up my viv and the UV light (long one) need to be on during the day for about 12-14 hour then off at night. The 75watt round bulb that screw’s in to the right hand side need to be on the same length of time and only in the day…. The ceramic bulb (completely white) hang down from top left needs to be connected to the temosat black/green box with lizard on it, this bulb is only at night so the temperature doesn’t drop below 16-18c so set the temosat at 17c.
    The heat from the basking light should keep the vivarium hot 90-93 degrees to the right end and around 85 degrees at the left end so there is a cool end.
    Recently my beardy has had a loss of appite and the two bulbs are on timers I was wondering which temp it has to be on the microclimate box and which way does it go to change it

  • Avatar lauren Posted 26/05/2018 at 3:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

    sand is we’ll bad for ur dragon the small pet hosptail said well bad for them if they eat the sand makes them not well she told me they use new paper x

  • Avatar April Martin Posted 11/06/2018 at 8:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hi I just got my boy beardy just over a week ago and since we’ve had him he’s not been eating properly I completely understand they do get abit stressed with a new tank and he’s also just coming to the end of a shed he’s been drinking when he’s in the bath and we bath him for 5 mins everyday whilst he’s shedding but we’ve noticed in the last 3 days he’s had blood in his poo the amount of blood is decreasing but I literally have no clue what it means, could you please help me on suggestions on what I can do for him? Or a vet that will see him? Thank you so much other then that he’s absolutely lovely loves basking loves a bath and loves to sit on us, lol thanks again

  • Avatar Karen Gonzales Posted 18/12/2018 at 5:25 am | Permalink | Reply

    We recently adopted 2 adult dragons. They have always been in the same cage. One of them attacks the other, quite often. Is this normal.

  • Avatar Richard Sandoval Posted 25/12/2018 at 1:47 am | Permalink | Reply

    Hi guys I just bought a baby beardy it came home with me today my house gets below 65 degrees so idk what to do I don’t have anything but the lights is it heat lamp and uvb lamp should I just keep them on for the time being…please help it’s my 5 year olds fist beardy please let me know what to do thanks Richard

  • Avatar Kimberly Brown Posted 11/01/2019 at 2:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

    NO they should be kept in different cages. bearded dragons should not be kept in the same cage as adults . they can eventually kill each other from all the fighting or severely injure one another. they should be seperated asap

  • Avatar Joshua Howe Posted 15/02/2019 at 9:34 am | Permalink | Reply

    Hi I was wondering if a 150 ceramic heat is too much for a baby

  • Avatar allie Posted 18/03/2019 at 4:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I have 1 beardy and i used to keep my heat lamp on at night but thanks to this my she can live a better life yaaaaaaay

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