When the autumn months begin to edge closer to those cold winter months it is time to begin thinking about making sure your bearded dragon stays warm and comfortable. Since bearded dragons are from the hot, dry areas of Australia they are not accustom to the cold winters of North America and Europe.
Here are a few bearded dragon care tips for winter so your pet stays healthy and comfortable during those bitter cold days.
Keep a Check on Temperatures
Even if you keep your home at a toasty temperature it is still important to keep a close eye on terrarium temperatures.
Make sure you have a thermometer mounted on each end of the terrarium – at the basking end and the cooler end. Place the thermometer at a height that is equal to the bearded dragon’s basking perch.
Digital thermometers work very well and make it a snap to get a quick reading.
Monitor temperatures throughout the day and pay close attention to overnight temperatures.
If you are unsure of the temperature requirements for your bearded dragon please read – The Proper Temperatures for a Bearded Dragon.
Place Terrarium In a Warm Spot
Your home can be a drafty place sometimes during those windy winter storms. That’s why it is important to place your bearded dragon terrarium in a warm area of the home.
Avoid placing the terrarium near any outer doors or windows to prevent a chilly draft from creating a cool environment for your bearded dragon. Try to avoid placing the terrarium under or over any vents, and never keep your bearded dragon in an unheated basement or garage.
Ideally, you want to place the terrarium in an extra room where you can add a small space heater, if needed.
Adjust Light Cycles
In most parts of the Northern Hemisphere the amount of daylight is much less in winter months than summer months.
This means you may need to adjust daily light cycles. In the summer you want the lighting to be on for about 14 hours per day. During winter you want there to be about 10 hours of lighting on per day to mimic winter daylight.
The best way to control lighting is to use a quality timer. Using a timer allows you to set the daylight times and “set it and forget it”.
There is one exception to this rule and that is if you want to prevent your bearded dragon from brumating.
Brumation is the word used with bearded dragons to mean hibernation. When temperatures begin to drop and days begin to get shorter, your bearded dragon may begin to hibernate.
This is a natural reaction to the changing season. You can help do some things to reduce the chances of your bearded dragon from brumating, such as:
- Keep the daily light cycles at 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night
- Keep basking temperatures at the optimal range
- Continue to feed your bearded dragon as normal
The biggest thing to remember about keeping a bearded dragon during the winter is to maintain proper temperatures and lighting.
Follow that easy formula and those cold winter months will be no big deal.