Bearded dragons originate from the warm, arid regions of Australia. We must try to duplicate those conditions as much as possible when caring for our pet. This will go a long way towards providing a healthy and enriching home for our reptile friend.
A bearded dragon is a cold-blooded animal. A cold-blooded animal does not have the ability to regulate its own body temperature. Therefore, bearded dragons use external heat sources, such as the sun, to help provide body heat.
In the wild, bearded dragons receive heat and UV radiation from the sun. Rocks and wood items also provide some radiant heat after a long day in the sun.
It is important to maintain proper terrarium temperatures when caring for a bearded dragon as a pet. This means we must heat the bearded dragon terrarium similar to their native temperatures.
Here we will discuss the proper temperatures for a bearded dragon at each stage of its life.
Proper Temperatures for a Baby Bearded Dragon
A baby bearded dragon (hatchling to ~6 months old) has slightly different temperature requirements than an adult. Baby bearded dragons grow quickly which means their energy requirements are greater than an adult.
Establish an elevated basking area on one end of the terrarium with temperatures ranging between 95 to 110 degrees F.
On the opposite end of the enclosure, the temperatures should be slightly cooler and range between 80 to 90 degrees F.
A Quick Word On Temperature Gradients
The optimum temperatures within the enclosure should be a gradient featuring basking and cool zones for a bearded dragon. The warmest area being the basking area, and the cooler zone being on the other end of the terrarium. The area between these two areas should be between those temperatures.
A temperature gradient across the span of the terrarium is key. The differences in temperature within the enclosure provides a means for the bearded dragon to self-regulate its body temperature. This is crucial at every life stage – from baby to adult.
|Temperature Areas||Ideal Temperature Range|
|Basking Area||95°F - 110°F|
|Cool-down Area||80°F - 90°F|
Proper Temperatures for a Juvenile Bearded Dragon
Juvenile bearded dragons require similar temperatures as a baby. The basking area can be slightly cooler, ranging from 95 to 105 degrees F.
The cooler area needs to be about 80 to 90 degrees F with juveniles as well.
|Temperature Areas||Ideal Temperature Range|
|Basking Area||95°F - 100°F|
|Cool-down Area||80°F - 90°F|
Proper Temperatures for an Adult Bearded Dragon
Adult bearded dragons can have slightly cooler basking areas than juveniles and babies. The temperature for the basking area should be between 90 to 93 degrees for an adult bearded dragon.
Keep the cooler region of the enclosure at 80 to 90 degrees F, just as with babies and juveniles.
|Temperature Areas||Ideal Temperature Range|
|Basking Area||90°F - 93°F|
|Cool-down Area||80°F - 90°F|
Allow the temperatures within the enclosure to drop anywhere between 70 and 75 degrees F for all stages of bearded dragons. Turn off the basking light once nightfall arrives so the temperatures lower, and the bearded dragon can rest. Repeating this process helps to establish important light cycles of daytime and nighttime for the bearded dragon.
If temperatures in the terrarium fall below 70 degrees F at night, add supplemental heat using heat pads or ceramic heat emitters.
Monitor The Proper Temperatures for a Bearded Dragon
Consistently monitor the temperatures within the terrarium in order to know the proper temperatures for the bearded dragon.
Use quality thermometers to accurately monitor the temperatures in the basking area and the cooler zones. Never guess the temperatures within the enclosure.
We recommend placing a minimum of two thermometers in the terrarium – one in the basking area and one on the opposite end where it is cooler.
In the basking area place the thermometer (or thermometer probe) near where the bearded dragon basks most frequently. This will provide temperature readings right where your bearded dragon hangs out most often.
We recommend the Exo Terra Thermo-Hygro Combo Digital Gauge. This thermometer features an easy-to-read digital screen for easy viewing. It has a long probe cord so you can get pinpoint readings on the temperatures wherever you like. It also measures humidity, which is another crucial reading to determine terrarium conditions.
The Zoo Med ReptiTemp Digital Infrared Thermometer is another handy tool we recommend for making quick snapshot checks of terrarium temperatures.
Simply point the device in the area you want to check, press the button, and it takes a quick reading of the temperature. A very quick way to check the terrarium conditions and to make sure the basking and cooler areas are just right.
Melody Lossman says
I love this site!
My lizard fought fire.
Isy heat lamp too close??
Is the basking area the rock or the inside of the cage?
It is the rock under the basking light
How do I get a bearded dragon that has gotten too cold to warm up safely? I have had her on my chest for over an hour and she is still very cold. Lily is a member of our family and I don’t want to loose her. Thank you in advance!
Put her in her basking area.
Hi I’ve just brought a baby dragon just learning I think it’s to hot in there for her was going over hundred farihight with the tube and basking spot I’ve had to put the heat lamp in side the cage got no hole on the top of the viv should I use a lower wattage bulb got hundred at the moment
Yes depending on what size cage you have a 70 watt would be good for the smaller cages.
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Mandy Bryan says
Ok so I got a bearde today and wanted to make sure that I’m doing what’s right. So for a baby any where from 80 to 110 is ok for basking and 80 and 90 for cool down area and at night from 70 to 80 is ok? And is ok to turn off the basking light and turn on the uv light that’s the light that Is similar to a black light?
Read previous comments. For a baby it needs to be between 95-110 in the basking area and between 80-90 in the cooler area. UVB (NOT black light, it provides important nutrients that they would normally get from the sun) and basking lights should be on 12-14 hours during day and off during the night.
Then how do you heat at night if all lights are off?
Austin Morris says
Use a ceramic heat emitter.
Usually the room temperature is about the temperature required at night, but if your house is cooler than you can get a ceramic bulb that emits heat but no light.
JUAN Camaney says
100 to 105 for basking in no expert but I always like to set it a bit cooler I’m out of the house 13 hours a day I leave room for room temps 105is not to hot or too cold in case the room temp changes 5 degrees up or down
Hey there, I have an adult bearded dragon. Her Basking spot is about 110* F. I recently upgraded to a 150 watt bulb because the 10p watt had the Basking area at about 85*F. Is it OK for it to be so hot? If so any advice on how to cool it down would be appreciated 🙂
It’s usually the rock but it can be any place you make it.
I’ve just gotten a baby bearded dragon but my cage won’t get over 80 is my lil friend gonna be okay for one night due to it being to late to get a bigger one?
Yes as they all can have temperatures drop to 70-75 at night.
So i bought a 40 gallon tank & it came with a 100watt bulb. But my basking area is only 93-94 degrees. I plan to being my baby beardy home today so my question is do i need to get something taller to bask on or do i need a higher watt bulb?
JUAN Camaney says
I got a 36x18x18 I’m picking my dragon this Saturday it all comes down to room temperature I keep mine between 75 and 78 degrees I been experimenting with diferent wattage bulbs a 50 a 100 watt and diferent branches and items ranging from 4 inches to 12 you need to experiment a lot with diferent bulbs i found I can keep temps at 105 to 110 at 6 to 7 inches from the floor I got this 12 inch branch and burl I’m going to test ill be probably to warm but I have a lamp stand I can raise the lamp until I get the right temps,I find with 100 watt bulb it keeps the temps in the tank ok but I might use a 40 world 50 watt che with a thermostat to maintain the cool side to 85,is not as easy as with a snake.
I have a juvenile bearded dragon and not sure what to do. He’s been laying around and doesn’t move much. When he does he looks like he’s dragging. He lays all spread out flat on the ground, kinda looks paralyzed. The heat is at 97 degrees. Please help.
Mary Caroline says
Do you give him calcium? If not than he might have Metabolic bone disease..
What about during the winter. For instance my house tends to get down to between 60-65f at night. Is there a source of heat I can use to keep my dragon from getting to cold.
Try getting a heating rock or reptile friendly heating tape.
NO HEAT ROCKS. They are known for serverley burning your reptile
I use a lower wattage, red heat lamp bulb for night time, the red light does not irritate the beardie when relaxing/sleeping but it is light enough you can still check in on him/her and can keep the enclosure warm enough if you have a colder house or whatever.
hello i just got a bearded dragon 3 days ago and niether side of the tank is going past 80 degrees. i don’t know how to get it warmer and I’m confused as to which bulb is the one I keep on all day and night and which bulb is the one I put above his tree purch and which one I put on the side thats supposed to be cooler. i have tried googling it all but I don’t understand ant of the terms for any of this as i am new to owning a dragon. please help. the 2 bulbs i have one looks like a large light bulb and the other is a kind of blue bulb kind in a swirly shape (if that makes sense) hes awesome and I don’t want anything to happen to him . thanks in advance.
Matthew Abel says
so the bulb that looks like a led light (the very white light) should be on during the day time. the one that gives heat should be on during the day time as well. BUT the light that gives off the cooler heat( not so hot one) should be on at night.
Hi everyone, I’m a new baby bearded dragon owner. I just got my fancy beardie about a week ago, and I have a few questions. I’ll give a quick background and tank info first:
I have a 20 long top opening tank, My basking spot, I have a tree (same one they had in the pet store) and temp reads about 95-105 depending on the height of the tree. The log next to basking spot (middle of tank) reads about 91, and the “cool side” of the tank reads about 82-85 degrees. I have a UVB and a UVA lighting set up with the red night time lamp, and the pet store told me beardie was about 7-8 months old. hes approx. 9in long by eyeballing it.
I stick my hand in the tank daily a few times a day, either for feeding, a quick pet session, pick up (inside the cage) if hell let me, etc. I have “rearranged” to adjust for heating and accessibility to his things, and added new décor about 2x since hes been in the cage.
Now here are my questions and I appreciate the help in advance. I am slowly increasing the amount of crickets I’m feeding 2x a day. Right now (1 week later) hes at about 15 per meal 20 or so usually leaves a few over. Is this too much? Too little? I figure not too much since we have left over crickets that he just picks on here and there when he appears full. Next, the past day or so he seems to be a little stressed out, do you think this could be from the “rearranging” of décor and items in the cage, or me still getting used to what beardie will actually eat, am I trying to pet him too much too soon? etc. I’m doing research every day, and trying to give him the best chance possible to adapt etc. I do go to work during the day, so he’s got plenty of alone time. The petstore did run out of crickets a few days ago so he was fed about half per meal of what he would normally eat for about 2 days. So I’m wondering if this is part of it? Now I buy a bunch of crickets in case this happens again. I’m feeding crickets daily, and have the juvenile bearded dragon food offered in food bowl…Should I offer some fruit yet or wait? etc. Sorry for the long post. I’m just a new owner and want to do things right!! thanks again for reading!
Brian Mathers says
My Credentials: I just had an 11 y/o beardie [ass last weekend after raising her from being a young juvenile.
Excess crickets crawling around the cage, and inevitably crawling on the beardie, is a source of stress. You indicated that there were some crickets left over — get rid of them by the time nightfall comes around.
Passed that, there can absolutely be moving/relocation stress for the beardie. I moved 1.5 months ago and I really believe that played a large part in my beardie’s quick downfall, and the vet agrees (I spent 5 hrs at the emergency vet the night before her passing).
Are you offering her any veggies? I recommend kale and collard greens, for starters – both are incredible for them.
It sounds like you are doing a great job keeping up with the cricket feeding. However, whatever she doesn’t eat, get them out of there (have a 10 g “holding tank” that you can then put them in). Relax a bit, it sounds like you are doing a great job. The important things are:
1. She has adequate food (veggies and crickets/dubias/superworms)
2. Adequate water – whether by misting or soaking. I recommend soaking 3x weekly at this age, to help with shedding and prevent dehydration
3. Temps are in a normal range in the enclosure
4. You have a specific, UVB-emitting bulb. Personally, I am a fan of MVB’s over CFL’s. Having one bulb emmit both heat and UVB’s rocks. Replace every 6-12 months, depending on the bulb’s quality – rather than waiting until the bulb goes out (UVB levels drop while it is still “working”)
Enjoy your new friend!
Hi I have a only.had my bearded dragon for a week now and my temp is at 35 °c I had been turning it off at night and it drops to bellow 8 °c so I’ve now got thermostat that turns it off if hotter than 35°c but having to leave it on at night due to significant temperature drop was advice by shop attendant to get heat mat but everyone I spoke to since says jupiter can end up laying on it too long and burn himself and dehydrate himself resulting in death.. Im kinda lost my lil sis says turn the thermostat to 23 at night so it keep it that temp at night I’m kind of at a loss here
Tatyana S says
I was told by a few people to becarful baby bearded dragons may burn themselves sitting on a rock all the time. Mine basically stirs under the red heat lamp all the time. I’m worried it’s to hot he almost never moves to the other side. The wormer side is like 80-95. I feel like if I turn the white heat lamp and red one that in one bulb holder it will get really hot. And he never goes to the other side. How long should i leave those lights on?
Kaylyn Gonzalez says
You should leave the daylight lamp and the nighttime lamp on during the day, and when it becomes the nighttime turn off the daytime lamp and only leave the nighttime lamp on. I hope this helps also the cool side should be 80-90 degrees.
Kaylyn Gonzalez says
Thanks so much for having this site! My Bearded Dragon Pheonix died a few days ago and my parents said I would be able to get a new one if I researched and wrote a journal about everything I needed to do for a beardie. And no Pheonix’s death wasn’t my fault (He was from PetSmart and lived out the 90-day limit that most PetSmart lizards live too, I couldn’t get him to the vet because my parents said it was to expensive…)I’ve been so hesitant about getting a new one because I didn’t know what to search!Now I have you and I am so so very happy! -Love,Kaylyn Gonzalez
If you cannot afford to give a pet the care it needs then be kind and do not have an animal! It is not fair to the animal. They depend on us as their owners and caregivers. If you can’t afford the care don’t get the animal.
Greg Harris says
The basking information here needs to be updated. 90-93 F is too cool for an adult bearded dragon. Most sources and vets recommend 100-105F for the peak basking spot. If you put your hand under a lamp at 90, it is fairly lukewarm, not nearly hot enough for what they need to bask.
Tee Riddle says
Hi Greg! Thank you for your comment. There is much debate with bearded dragon husbandry, and temperature is no exception. I generally recommend basking temperatures to be around 100-105 degrees F for baby or juvenile bearded dragons. Baby bearded dragons need temperatures in the higher range due to their fast growth rate and high metabolism. As the bearded dragon matures, generally the temperatures may be lowered as the metabolism slows and diet requirements change. With that said, each bearded dragon is different and may react differently to changes in temperature – one bearded dragon may prefer and tolerate higher temperatures, while another may respond better to slightly lower temperatures as it ages. The best advice I can give is to consistently monitor temperatures and the reptile and adjust accordingly to its specific needs. Watch for certain clues, such as excessive gaping. Gaping for long periods of time could be a sign that the temperatures are a bit too high. Experiment with lowering the temperatures and observe how the bearded dragon responds. Observe for gaping, loss of appetite, and time spent in basking. The temperature ranges offered in the article are suggestions, but are not set in stone. Temperatures can vary depending on the habitat, the basking area set-up, and the preferences of the particular bearded dragon.
Again, thanks so much for your comment and have a great day!
Hey everyone. I have a question. My sister was given an about 2 year old bearded dragon from her professor. She wasn’t taking care of Lizzy because she didn’t actually want her so she gave Lizzy to me and my husband (we’ve only been taking care of her for 2days now). The first thing we did was research about the heat because my sister let the lights go out so it wasn’t getting above 72 in her habitat and she was cool to the touch and like blackish gray in color. Next we cleaned everything up and got new bulbs. We were at PetCo for an hour asking a worker a million questions about heating and best substrate and humidity and everything. Now the temperature is getting up to 82 on the cool side (we need to get a thermometer for the basking spot yet), but she’s still acting kinda weird like tired almost I guess you would say. She stayed in the basking area all day today. She rarely ever opens her eyes or moves unless my husband and I take her outside (which we read was okay for them in the right temperature, but if it’s not someone please correct us) Is there anything else I can do to comfort her a bit more or is it more of just an adjusting time for Lizzy? I don’t think she drank or ate anything today. Can someone give me some tips as to how to make her more comfortable and feel better? I’m not sure what else to do.
K Jackson says
Colored bulbs should not be used day or night. They see color like geckos do.
Ceramic bulb is great for night heat when needed, no light emitted.
I use a mercury vapor bulb for day basking area as it emits light, uva & uvb.
I have to use the 160 watt in my 40 gallon.
100watt ceramic for night. Have them on timers. Day time bulb on 12hours & ceramic for night on 12 hours.
I hav basking area built up to about 12 inches from lamp. Bulb on a stand so I can move up or down to regulate the heat properly. Have a double fixture at basking end for both bulbs.
Have a stand with a bulb that only emits light on cool end so terrium has day light all over. It is on timer for 12 hours.
I have done extensive research so hope I’ve ended up w proper info. Just passing on what I believe is good information.