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What Happens If A Bearded Dragon Gets Too Cold? (+ Symptoms)

Are you a fan of bearded dragons?

These lovable pets are known for their love of warmth, but did you know that they can become sluggish and even suffer from health issues if they get too cold? It’s important to create a cozy habitat that provides the right temperature for your bearded dragon.

So, whether you are unsure if your bearded dragon’s enclosure is the right temperature, or are wondering whether to go without the heat lamp at night or not, here’s everything you need to know!

Bearded dragons, being reptiles, are cold-blooded, which means an external heat source is vital to their survival.

Understanding they need an external heat source, like a heat lamp, you might wonder:

What happens If A Bearded Dragon Gets Too Cold?

If a bearded dragon gets too cold for too long, it will not perform everyday tasks for survival, from moving to hunting and other bodily functions.

One of the most severe dangers of your bearded dragon getting too cold is being unable to digest their food.

All of these issues can lead to long-term damage or be fatal to your bearded dragon.

Join us as we explore the chilling truth about the impact of cold temperatures on these amazing creatures. Let’s make sure our bearded dragon pals stay happy and healthy!

what happens if a bearded dragon gets too cold

Side Effects Of Being Too Cold

Since bearded dragons are reptiles, they rely on an external heat source for their bodies to function correctly.

Without a heat source, or if their enclosure is not at a high enough temperature, you might see your bearded dragon start to slow down in its movements.

In addition to slow movements, bodily functions like going to the bathroom will be hindered.

One of the most dangerous side effects of being too cold for too long is the inability to digest their food.

If they cannot digest their food, it will begin to rot in their stomachs, which is deadly for your bearded dragon.

If the temperature is low enough, your bearded dragon might not wake up, continuing to sleep.

bearded dragon sleeping

It will be your choice to take your beardie to the vet if they have been without heat for an extended period.

A few hours without heat shouldn’t be hazardous to your beardie, but more than 24 hours, and there could be severe health problems.

Watch your beardie to see how they act and use your best judgment when deciding if they need to see a vet. Check out this article on how to tell if your bearded dragon is sick for more signs and symptoms.

What Are The Proper Temperatures For Bearded Dragons?

Your bearded dragon needs the proper temperature in its tank to not only survive but to thrive.

checking bearded dragon enclosure temperature

These temperatures will vary as your bearded dragon grows from a baby to a full-grown adult.

For a baby beardy, newborn to five months, the temperature in their tank should be between 95° degrees Fahrenheit and 110° degrees Fahrenheit (35° – 43° C) in the basking area, and 80° degrees Fahrenheit – 90° degrees Fahrenheit (27° – 32° C) in the cooler section.

Juvenile bearded dragons, 6 to 18 months, require a hot section between 95° degrees Fahrenheit and 100° degrees Fahrenheit (35° – 38° C) and a cool-down area between 80° degrees Fahrenheit and 90° degrees Fahrenheit (27° – 32° C).

Once your beardy has reached adulthood, their enclosure should be at an ideal temperature in the basking area of 90° degrees Fahrenheit to 93° degrees Fahrenheit (32° – 34° C).

The cool-down area for an adult beardy should fall between 80° degrees Fahrenheit – 90° degrees Fahrenheit (27° – 32° C).

These ranges are all for beardies during the daytime.

We have a guide going into greater detail on bearded dragon tank temperature and how to maintain the best settings we recommend you check out.

Temperatures At Night

Temperatures at night should be lower than during the day for your bearded dragon.

The temperature should fall between 72° degrees Fahrenheit and 80° degrees Fahrenheit (22° – 27° C) at night.

This drop in temperature is in line with their original habitat in Australia and is what your pet prefers.

It is essential not to have a bright light on at night to disturb your reptile’s sleeping pattern.

You might find the enclosure gets too cold if you turn off the heat lamp during the night, and if it falls below 72° degrees Fahrenheit (22° C), you are likely to run into some of the symptoms we discussed before.

If this is the case, consider adding heating devices that do not produce a bright light, like a heat mat or installing a ceramic heat emitter.

These heat sources work similarly to a heat lamp you would use during the day but don’t give any light, only heat.

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What Do You Do If You Can’t Get A Heat Source Right Away?

Let’s say the light bulb in your heat lamp has gone out, and you can’t get to a new bulb for several hours.

There are a few ways to keep your pet warm until you can get a new bulb.

Heat mats are always a great way to keep your beardy warm, so if you have one in another reptile’s tank, move it for your bearded dragon for a few hours.

Another option to consider, if you don’t have access to a heat lamp, would be to use a grain pillow.

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These are pillows filled with a grain like rice, buckwheat, or corn, instead of the fluffier versions of stuffing you’re used to.

The great thing about these pillows is they hold heat for extended lengths of time without using a cord.

Microwave one of these bags in 30-second intervals until it reaches safe heat for your pet.

You should always be careful not to overheat the bags as too high of temperature could burn your animal.

If you don’t have a grain pillow, water bottles full of warm water are another great alternative, but again be careful the temperature is not high enough to burn your beardy.

Warm baths are an option as well, but rub your pet fully dry afterward, or you could run the risk of lowering its body temperature even more, defeating the whole purpose.

We have a guide on how long bearded dragons can go without heat for more detailed information.


Maintaining a proper temperature is vital for the survival of your bearded dragon.

Because they are cold-blooded, they rely on external temperatures to perform everyday bodily functions like moving and eating.

Without a heat source, a bearded dragon and its bodily processes will slow down dramatically.

This can lead to illness or even be fatal to your pet.

While we can’t prepare for everything, it’s best to have a backup plan when it comes to heat sources for your beardy to keep your pet thriving.

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