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How Long Can A Bearded Dragon Go Without Heat? Safety Guide

How long can a bearded dragon go without heat?

This question struck me last week after our area encountered a power outage.

I have to admit it was one of those long days where you have no choice but to take a day off.

But then, the thought of my bearded dragon surviving this power problem made me seek insights from a reptile expert, and this guide highlights what I learned.

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Can Bearded Dragon Go Without Heat?

Yes, your animal friend can go without heat; however, this should be as little time as possible. Beardies are cold-blooded animals, and they cannot self-regulate their body temperature.

James Walker Bearded Dragon
Credit: James Walker

In the wild, they depend on the daytime light cycles to survive. Bearded dragons in captivity need additional heat sources like ceramic heat emitters and a UV bulb.

Your bearded dragon can go for about 24 hours without heat, provided the temperature does not fall below 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.333°C). Otherwise, if this period of time extends, the beardie can develop health issues.

Why Do Bearded Dragons Need Heat?

As highlighted above, the lack of heat for your bearded dragon causes health problems. And trust me, this becomes a severe issue warranting an emergency vet visit.

Typically, you should strive to offer a basking spot temperature averaging 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit and an average 82-86 degrees tank temperature.

Here are some reasons your beardie cannot go without heat for long, even if you are in a situation such as a power interruption.

1- For Calcium Absorption

According to VCA Hospitals, the need for dietary calcium in bearded dragons is essential for growth. However, bearded dragon owners need to know that effective calcium absorption is dependent on heat. (1)

If the necessary heating elements are missing, your beardie will likely miss its diet’s benefits. And the signs you will observe if this issue arises include:

  • Metabolic bone disease
  • Lethargy/becoming inactive
  • Loss of appetite

Aside from providing adequate heating, you can also use calcium-dusted feeder insects to feed your dragon. This will leave your scaly friend healthy and living a happy life. (2)

2- For Digestion

As a pet owner, you must have noted that your beardie goes to its basking area after feeding. This is because they need warmth to digest the food.

Lack of heat translates to digestive tract problems like a bloated tummy and constipation. Some of the signs your beardie will show if they have digestion problems include:

  • Becoming inactive
  • Restlessness
  • Spitting the food
  • Reduced food intake

3- For Thermoregulation

Being cold-blooded animals, the Pogona Viticepps depends on external heat sources for thermoregulation. This temperature regulation allows for an active lifestyle. (3)

If your pet cannot thermoregulate suddenly, check the heat ceramic emitters that provide heat at night and heat bulbs for any power issues. This is important, especially during the winter months when your pet enters its brumation period.

Other measures you can take to ensure your beardie thermoregulates effortlessly include

  • Check the ceramic heat pads and the bearded dragon heat lamp frequently
  • Have power backups in case of a power outage
  • Ensure the basking spot suits your bearded dragon

How Long Can Bearded Dragon Go Without A Heat Lamp? 

This ties in with how long can a bearded dragon go without heat? The average time your bearded dragon can survive without a heat lamp is 24 hours.

Anything above this period only brings health issues, and you will wind up with an unhealthy beardie.

However, note that the temperature should not fall below 18.3 degrees Celsius. If the beardie has to be out of their adequate vivarium temperature, quit heavy feeding them.

And if you are experiencing a power outage, you can consider getting a heating pad for bearded dragons. These devices will do a perfect job even when placed underneath the tank setup.

What is the Lowest Temperature a Bearded Dragon Can Survive? 

The lowest temperature your bearded dragon can survive is 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit or 18.333-21.111 degrees Celsius.

In case of prolonged power interruptions, you might want to check if your beardie is still healthy or needs a vet’s attention.

Moreover, there are other methods you can implement to ensure the tank’s temperature for bearded dragon is maintained. And they include 

  • Cuddling your pet lizard
  • Get some hand warmers
  • Use Heat Tapes
  • Having some portable heaters

Do Bearded Dragons Need Heat At Night?  

Yes, the presence of heat for your pet lizard is essential even when they are not active. The ideal night cage temperature is 18-21 degrees Celsius (64.4-69.8 Farenheight) because the temperatures are likely to fall at this time.

Heather Achey Bearded Dragon
Credit: Heather Achey

You can choose to use low-heat ceramic heat emitters which imitate the lizards’ wild habitat. And, since following the day and night light cycle is crucial, invest in an automatic time switch. 

Moreover, you can buy a digital contactless thermometer to measure the tank’s accurate temperature.

Another option is to use a digital thermometer to measure the room’s ambient temperature and avoid dial thermometers due to inaccuracy. 

Here is a helpful video about lights for beardies at night.

How Much Heat Do Bearded Dragons Need Each Day?  

Ideally, a beardie should receive up to 10 light hours each day. And as you would like, going above this number from time to time is allowed, with the maximum being 16 hours.

Typically, most beardie owners like to emulate the climate seasons. Here is a table to give you an idea of how to follow the heat and light climatic cycle.

SeasonHeat & light hours
Summer 14 
Autumn 12
Winter 10 
Spring 12

Also, note that you will be considering three types of temperatures during the day. And these temperatures include.

Overall Tank Temperature

You want to give the juvenile or adult bearded dragon a jungle feeling, so have a high temperature. The ideal enclosure temperature for a beardie is an average of 32 degrees Celsius or 90 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Use a thermometer to get an accurate temperature measurement to prevent guesses. There are also thermometers in the market that measure humidity, an aspect you must keep an eye on.

Basking Spot Temperature

Keep in mind that this is one of the crucial parts of the dragon’s habitat since it houses the heating lamp.

The ideal solution is to provide a temperature averaging 38-43 degrees Celsius (100.4-109.4 Farenheight) for baby dragons and 40 degrees Celsius (104 Frarenheight) for adult beardies.

This place is usually adorned with basking rocks to help absorb the energy needed, especially after a meal of feeder insects or salad. As a rule of thumb, use the thermometer to measure that it is an adequate temperature.

CHECK: BEST Bearded Dragon Heat Rock

Relaxing Spot Temperature

Typically, the Pogona Viticeps retract under rocks to relax, destress, or escape predators. And in your pet ownership journey, you must recreate these wild instincts in their new habitat.

The ideal temperature around this area should be 21-29 Celsius (69.8-84.2 Farenheight). As highlighted, a thermometer can help you detect this degree of warmth. 

Check out this helpful lighting and heat guide.

What Happens If My Bearded Dragon Gets Too Cold?  

If your pet lizard gets exposed to prolonged colder temperatures, there are possible consequences you will face. Typically, you should do all you can to keep your pet warm, which implies using heat mats, warm water bottles, and heat packs.

Another viable way to keep your pet warm during a power outage is by giving it a warm bath. However, note that this is not recommendable since the pet can drop its temperature fast after the bath.

If your beardie has gone without heat for a couple of hours, that can be acceptable, but anything longer than 24 hours is dangerous. This extended period leaves your pet affected and needing a vet checkup.

Signs of a Cold-Bearded Dragon

Understanding what you must look out for after your pet lizard has experienced a cold period is essential. These signs will show whether you need to visit the vet.

Luckily these signs are easily identifiable, and you will not have difficulty noticing or observing your dragon. The signs of a cold bearded dragon include

1. Lethargy

beardie in a cage

This biological term refers to becoming unresponsive and reducing activity. At this point, the chances are that the beardie has become weak due to its body’s inability to absorb essential nutrients. 

Typically, you should note that it is normal for reptiles to go into brumation in captivity as they do in the wild. These reptiles usually undergo a deep sleep period to cope with prolonged cold environments.

So be sure to check out for unresponsive behavior after raising the vivarium temperature. And if you note this trait, seek emergency vet attention.

2. Skin Color Changes

The skin color of your beardie is another strong indicator of whether the pet needs more heat. A cold bearded dragon will have a darker coat than usual.

You might have noted this trait in the early mornings, and if not yet, you can check to confirm. Contact a vet if you have raised the cage warmth to comfortable temperatures and the beardie is still dark.  

Also, note that your pet can change color due to other health complications. You can learn more reasons why bearded dragons change color from this University of Melbourne study report. (4)

3. Food Digestion Issues

Heat is crucial for the bearded dragon’s digestion process; without it, the food taken will only cause problems. This is because it will stay in the tummy and be regurgitated as undigested food or worse, rot, which is fatal.

Be on the lookout for reduced appetite since the beardie will not feel like eating. If so, seek help from a local herp.

How to Keep Bearded Dragon Warm Without a Heat Lamp?  

There exist various ways to keep your beardie warm in case of the absence of a heat lamp. They include

Take Them Outside

Taking your beardie out on a sunny day can help as they are guaranteed to absorb heat and Vitamin D.

Alix Danielle Bearded Dragon (3)
Credit: Alix Danielle

However, take caution not to let your beardie roam free since it can eat contaminated insects and plants or even become prey.

Use Heated Water Bottles

This handy warming method is guaranteed to revive your beardie’s temperature effortlessly. However, use a cloth or towel to cover the bottle to avoid direct contact with your pet’s underside, preventing burns.

Holding the Beardie/Cuddling

If your beardie is used to human touch and you are also comfortable handling the pet, cuddle with it. Typically, wrap the animal in a towel and hold them close to your body.

You will share your body’s warmth in the process as you enhance your bond. Moreover, handle the dragon well to avoid tail breakages and wash your hands with fresh water afterward to avoid contracting zoonotic diseases. (5)

Use Blankets

Get a couple of blankets and wrap your beardie to help them absorb warmth. Also, ensure not to overuse the blankets since this can cause suffocation.

And if you choose to wrap the enclosure, check that the temperature does not fall below 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Moreover, ensure to remove the blankets when the power outage ends to prevent fire issues.

FAQs 

How Long Can I Have My Bearded Dragon Out?

bearded dragon outside

The period of time you can have with your dragon out of its cage depends on the dragon. Typically, two hours are enough to handle the pet outside its terrarium; however, ensure proper handling and keep the animal warm. 

How Long Can Bearded Dragons Survive Without UVB Lights?

A beardie can survive without UVB lights for up to two days. This is, however, not recommendable since the lizard will become malnourished and might develop bone issues like Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD).
Check our complete guide on how long can bearded dragon go without UVB.

Which Temperatures Can Kill a Bearded Dragon?

petting a bearded dragon

The lowest temperature with the potential to kill your dragon averages below 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat is crucial for the survival of the Pogona Vitticeps, and this temperature had adverse health effects and, worse, death.

Do Bearded Dragons Need Heat During Brumation?

No, beardies do not need heat during brumation as they undergo a deep sleep at this time. Normally, beardies undergo brumation upon reaching adulthood and do not need heating.

Do baby bearded dragons need heat at night?

two beardies facing each other

Baby beardies need more heat than adults. So if necessary, use a ceramic heat emitter to keep the temperature in the 70-75 degrees Farenheight range.

Conclusion 

There you have it, pet lizard owners: a guide on how long can a bearded dragon go without heat. You should not go into panic mode anymore when the power goes off.

I hope that you found this article helpful and all your bearded dragon heating questions are now answered. It is now up to you to share this knowledge with fellow beardie owners.

bearded dragon without heat in the environment

References:

  • 1. bearded-dragons-feeding | VCA Animal Hospital [Internet]. Vca. [cited 2022 Jul 14]. Available from: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/bearded-dragons-feeding#:~:text=Generally%2C%20veterinarians%20recommend%20that%202
  • 2. Emporium DN-FVV. Help! My beardies have bone diseases, New Farm Vet. [Internet]. Fortitude Valley Vet – Pet Shop New Farm Teneriffe Newstead Bowen Hills Brisbane. [cited 2022 Jul 14]. Available from: http://www.fortitudevalleyvet.com.au/2017/01/bone-disease-beardie-teneriffe-vet.html
  • 3. Khan JJ, Richardson JML, Tattersall GJ. Thermoregulation and aggregation in neonatal bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps). Physiology & Behavior. 2010;100:180–6.
  • 4. Bearded dragons change color on different body parts for social signals and temperature regulation [Internet]. ScienceDaily. Available from: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160608112943.htm
  • 5. CDC. CDC: Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Pet Bearded Dragons [Internet]. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2022 [cited 2022 Jul 14]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/uganda-01-22/index.html#:~:text=Bearded%20dragons%20can%20carry%20Salmonella%20germs%20in%20their%20droppings%20even
Alina Hartley
Alina Hartley

Alina Hartley is a small-town girl with a ginormous love of bearded dragons. It all started with Winchester, a baby bearded who was abandoned at the shelter by his former owners because of a birth defect that caused one front leg to be shorter than the other. Alina originally went to the shelter looking for a guinea pig, but one look at Winchester and it was love at first sight. From that day on, Alina has dedicated her life to learning everything she can about bearded dragons. She loves helping new beardie parents start their incredible journey with these magnificent reptiles.
Follow her on:
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Learn more about her HERE.

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