Maintaining the proper temperatures in your bearded dragon’s terrarium is very important for its survival and health. A lack of adequate temperatures and improper basking zones for a bearded dragon enclosure may lead to detrimental conditions.
The bearded dragon may lose appetite, become lethargic, and ill.
Here are some tactics for creating proper basking zones for a bearded dragon.
Basking Zones for a Bearded Dragon
The most important area for bearded dragon heating is a basking zone. The temperatures in the basking zone should be between 90 to 110 degrees F, depending on the age of your bearded dragon.
These temperatures are obtained by using a special heat lamp bulb, ceramic heat emitter, or heating pads. There may be circumstances when a you will need to supplement terrarium heat. Use a combination of these devices in order to establish the proper basking zone.
If you add items from outdoors as a perch for your bearded dragon, make sure it is chemical, mold, mildew and insect free. It is best to sterilize these items before adding them to the enclosure. You can sterilize them by using boiling water or baking in the oven.
Never place stones or rocks in the oven! Water build-up in the stone could explode. It is best to boil stones or rocks in water for about 10 minutes to sanitize.
Establishing Cool Zones
The end opposite side of the basking zone should be somewhat cooler to create a cool zone. The cool zone should be about 80 to 90 degrees F.
Cool zones are important so the bearded dragon can thermoregulate its temperature. If the bearded dragon becomes too warm while basking it can easily hop of the perch and cool off a bit on the other side of the terrarium.
Establishing a Temperature Gradient
The ideal environment when heating a bearded dragon habitat is one with varying temperatures throughout the enclosure. Ideally, you want the warmest temperatures to be in the basking zone, while slightly cooler just outside the basking zone.
The temperatures should gradually get cooler until you reach the opposite end of the tank at the cooler zone, which again should be 80 to 85 degrees F.
Creating a temperature gradient ensures the bearded dragon has an environment which best resembles their natural environment in the wild.
Monitoring Temperatures Within The Enclosure
In order to make sure you are achieving the desired temperatures in each zone, use a high quality mercury, or digital thermometer.
The best thermometers are ones that have a probe on one end with the read-out on the other. The probe can be placed inside the enclosure while the read-out is outside. A thermometer should be placed on both ends of the enclosure in order to gather readings from both the basking zone and the cool zone.