Most pet owners regulate their ambient temperature for their pets around a single point. But that’s not the case with bearded dragon dens. Vivariums need to have a graded heating system for bearded dragons to thrive. It should have a warm spot, a cool location, and a medium heat area. And there’s different bearded dragon basking temp requirements for babies, juveniles and adults.
In the next sections, we’ll get into more detail about bearded dragon basking temp, and how to set up an awesome habitat to keep it healthy and happy.
Cold Blooded Animals
Bearded dragons belong to a category of mammals commonly known as cold-blooded animals. This name often gives people the idea that lizards, snakes, and other reptiles must be terribly cold on the inside. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Science was a bit more accurate in describing cold-blood animals, and they are aptly referred to as ectothermic animals. They can’t use food for energy, so they reverse the process. They get heat energy from their environment, and they use it to digest food, move, and stay alive.
In contrast, we have warm-blooded or endothermic animals, like cats and dogs. These guys eat the food and get loads of energy out of it. They use it to keep themselves warm, and for all their living activities. And if they feel hot, they just sweat it off.
Ectothermic animals could become too hot. If they bask in the sun longer than they should, then they’d need to lower their temperature. But they can’t sweat or pant to cool off, so they have to physically move to the shade.
At night, most animals need a cool temperature to unwind and sleep. Bearded dragons seek a place far away from the heat to do that. By sunrise the next day, it would be so cold that it would rush off to its favorite basking spot and soak up the heat.
The Ultimate Bearded Dragon Guide for Beginners
Are you thinking about having a pet beardie? This guide will teach you everything you need to know about how to care for a Bearded Dragon.
Bearded Dragon Basking Temp
Bearded dragons spend the best part of the day basking in the sun. While some people assumed that they’re just being lazy, we already know that’s not the case at all.
Basking in the sun has an essential biological function for these lizards. The surroundings of the bearded dragon should reach a certain temperature for its metabolism to work properly. Otherwise, it would be lethargic and cranky.
Interestingly, baby and juvenile bearded dragons favour a different basking temperature than the adults. They need a slightly higher temperature to feel good.
Here’s a more detailed listing of the preferred temperatures for young and older bearded dragons. Including the basking spot, the warm side, and the cool side temperatures.
|Temperatures are in degrees Fahrenheit||Baby Bearded Dragons|
(below 4 months)
|Juvenile Bearded Dragons|
|Adult Bearded Dragons|
(above 12 months)
|Basking Spot||105 -110||100 – 105||95 – 100|
|Warm Side||95 – 100||95||90 – 95|
|Cool Side||85||80 – 85||75 – 80|
The basking lamp is one of the most important components of the bearded dragon’s vivarium. It should imitate the sunny, bright, hot, and dry desert that lizards prefer. Several types of lamps could be used to recreate this climate.
The most important thing is to get their power right. A small terrarium needs a heat bulb of around 50 watts, while a large one could use a 150 watts bulb.
These lamps should provide UVA and UVB, which are two distinct types of ultraviolet light. And some of them come with internal reflectors to focus the basking heat on a specific spot.
Incandescent Light Bulbs
These are versatile light bulbs that come in various shapes, with a broad range of powers. They are often used as basking lamps, and so they’re mounted on a fixture on one end of the terrarium.
If you have a higher basking ground in the terrarium, you should measure the bearded dragon basking temp on that spot, and make sure it’s not too high for your pet. The spots closer to the lamp are usually hotter than the ones further away.
It’s best to install them without a mesh, as this would filter out the UVA necessary for bearded dragon growth and wellbeing.
Halogen Light Bulbs
These lamps use less electricity than incandescent lamps. At the same time, they’re capable of emitting more heat. This higher tech often comes at a higher price, but many people still favor them as they last for a long time.
Ceramic Heat Emitters
These emitters look a lot like a flattened light bulb. They use a similar technology as the basking lamps to emit heat, but without the light.
Ceramic heat emitters are used mainly as a source of heat during the night. To make sure that the temperature wouldn’t drop below 65 degrees.
Mercury Vapour Globes and Heat Mats
Mercury vapour lamps are highly efficient, and they produce plenty of light and heat. That’s why it’s preferable to place them in larger terrariums than smaller ones. Also, make sure to measure the temperature around it. Overheating any zone isn’t good for the bearded dragon.
Heat mats are used to warm up the substrate part of the terrarium. They’re often taped to the bottom, on one side only.
Daytime vs. Nighttime Temperature
By day, a bearded dragon wants to soak up heat to sort of recharge his batteries. This is how he gets the necessary energy to digest its food, move about, and play. When the day is done and it needs to unwind, then the heat should be disposed of.
That’s why bearded dragons head to a cool place of about 75 degrees. But what if your house is colder than that? Below 65 degrees a bearded dragon could go into a hibernation state called brumation. It could even get sick.
That’s why it’s essential to provide extra heating for the vivarium in the cold season. And it shouldn’t be done by using a hot light. As that would interrupt the bearded dragon’s sleep cycle. It could be set up by using a ceramic heater.
Bearded dragons aren’t finicky eaters, but they are quite picky when it comes to their optimal ambient temperatures.
They need a graded heat profile that starts from the hot zone, which is the basking spot. Moving on to a warm area, then eventually a cool zone. Lizards are incapable of regulating their own temperatures. So they count on nature, or us, to provide a temperature gradient.
Clearly, the temperature in various parts of the vivarium needs to be accurately regulated. This requires a dependable setup of lamps, heaters, and thermometers. It’s also best to provide high ground near the basking lamp and a few shaded hiding places.
Bearded lizards are quite sensitive to heat changes. If their basking lamp becomes ineffective or stops working they’ll be negatively affected until a new one is installed. That’s why it’s best to have a standby lamp in stock.
An accurate thermometer would let you ensure that the right bearded dragon basking temp is delivered. Actually, you’d need several of them to monitor the various heat zones. And you can vary the power of a lamp to suit the material and size of the vivarium.
As a final note, make sure to also monitor and regulate the humidity of the habitat. Keeping a bearded dragon happy isn’t hard at all. Just a few fixtures to setup a nice bearded dragon basking temp, and it’ll blissfully bask in its vivarium.