If you are keen on keeping a bearded dragon, it is important to recognize that this species has quite specific needs, and you must meet all of them in order for it to thrive in your care.
Bearded dragons are not particularly easy to look after, and if you live in a cool environment, they become even more challenging, as they are native to Australia and are usually found in arid or semi-arid places.
They are sun-loving creatures and are often seen basking on rocks and luxuriating in the warmth.
That might lead you to wonder “how long can a bearded dragon go without heat?” It’s easy for things to go wrong with your heat lamp, and if you can’t rush out to a store immediately, you might be wondering how long your bearded dragon will cope with a colder tank.
Alternatively, if you’re going on vacation and you want to take your pet along, you may be wondering if it can manage for a few days without a heat lamp being plugged in.
It’s crucial to always meet your bearded dragon’s needs, and to ensure that you have a backup plan for when things go wrong, or you might risk the death of your pet.
Be organized and aware of how important warmth is to these creatures, and don’t assume that your bearded dragon will be fine without a heat lamp – because it won’t. A cold bearded dragon will quickly start to develop health problems.
How Long Can A Bearded Dragon Go Without Heat?
Although it depends to some extent on your environment, a bearded dragon will usually only last for about twenty-four hours without some source of warmth, and although it will not die immediately after that, the cold will begin to damage its organs, and it may become sick.
If the temperature drops below 65 degrees F, it will become sick in even less than twenty-four hours, so it’s really important to keep it as warm as possible at all times.
The bearded dragon’s enclosure should be at around 90 degrees F at all times, with a basking zone directly below your heat lamp, at around 105 degrees F (for adult bearded dragons).
Keeping your bearded dragon warm is crucial, so if something has gone wrong with your heat lamp, you will need to prioritize dealing with this as soon as possible; waiting even a day could result in disaster.
Your bearded dragon will also be uncomfortable in the cold, even if it doesn’t suffer any damage from it, so it’s best to get it sorted as quickly as possible.
If you cannot immediately sort the issue out, don’t panic, because you have got twenty-four hours.
However, the longer you leave it, the greater the risk to your bearded dragon becomes, so it’s best to have a backup plan and other solutions for ensuring your bearded dragon doesn’t freeze if the heat lamp is no longer an option.
How Can I Keep My Bearded Dragon Warm Without A Heat Lamp?
Sometimes, if your heat lamp is no longer working or if there is a power outage in your area that prevents you from using it, you will need to keep your dragon warm in other ways.
Firstly, you should cover the bearded dragon’s enclosure with a thick blanket or a towel to try and trap the remaining heat inside; keep this blanket in place as much as possible, and avoid moving it except to check on the tank’s thermometer.
If you can, find another source of heat, such as a hot water bottle, a heat mat, a heated blanket, hand warmers, or anything else that you may have available.
You can place these things in or near to the tank, although you must make sure that your bearded dragon is not going to burn itself on any of them, and that it can move away from them if it chooses.
Keeping the room warm will also help, so light a fire or place the bearded dragon’s tank close to (but not on) a radiator or other heater.
In really extreme circumstances, you may wish to put the bearded dragon inside your shirt so that it can get heat from your own body, but be aware that this may stress the bearded dragon out, so it should be a last resort. If possible, keep it warm and keep it in its tank.
What Happens If A Bearded Dragon Gets Too Cold?
A bearded dragon that has got too cold will often go into a state called brumation, which is sort of an equivalent to hibernation, although it does not involve such a deep sleep.
The bearded dragon’s body processes will slow down, and you may find that its breathing and heartbeat are both reduced, to the point that it does not look like it is breathing at all.
The bearded dragon will not move much, and it’s unlikely to show any interest in food, water, or toileting needs.
This period of dormancy allows it to focus all of its resources on simply surviving, and it’s an important mechanism for the species to cope in the wild if the temperature unexpectedly drops.
However, it isn’t good to let your bearded dragon enter brumation frequently, as this could cause long term health issues.
Although bearded dragons in captivity will often still enter a period of brumation during the winter, it’s important to avoid this occurring at other times of the year, or as a result of the environment getting too cold.
It is not very good for the bearded dragon, and prevents it from digesting its food.
The answer to “how long can a bearded dragon go without heat?” is around twenty-four hours before it starts to suffer from health problems. This is assuming that the temperature remains above 65 degrees F; below that could be very damaging to the bearded dragon’s body. If your bearded dragon gets cold, it may enter a state of brumation, where it becomes dormant and tries to wait out the chill by shutting down its bodily functions.