As a bearded dragon parent, you wouldn’t want your beardie to be unsettled in his habitat and dissatisfied with his home because he is too cold. You begin to wonder whether the temperature is just right, is he warm enough, cozy?
And if not, could a heat pad help to reach the right temperatures?
Do bearded dragons need a heat pad? Yes, a bearded dragon would need a heat pad when it’s too cold. Winter months are grueling; there may be instances in which your heat lamps and ceramic heat emitters are not sufficient. You can boost the heat supply in your beardie’s habitat by adding a heat pad. A heat pad should never be the only heat source in a bearded dragon tank.
Bearded dragons are cold-blooded reptiles who require heat. Please keep reading to understand why they need heat and what owners can do to mimic their natural environment. There are different options to consider before a final decision is settled upon!
Why Does My Bearded Dragon Need A Heat Pad?
Bearded dragons originate from the deserts in Australia and thus need heat to mimic their natural environment in the wild. Your bearded dragon might not be satisfied with the amount of heat being generated by heat lamps within and surrounding his habitat.
You may well find parts of your bearded dragon’s habitat to be slightly nippy for him, and perhaps adding a heat pad could be an ideal solution.
An increase in appetite and improved digestion is experienced by your beardie when his belly is kept warm. A heat pad is an excellent accessory that can be used to provide warmth to your beardie’s belly.
If you notice low temperatures within your bearded dragon’s habitat, heat pads allow for constant warmth to be provided across the habitat.
Heat pads also include a thermostat that regulates the warmth of the habitat. And it is easily attached to the underside of your tank with the adhesive part of the heating pad.
Heating Required Within the Habitat
In this section, we will review the heating required as well as the methods of heating within the habitat.
Bearded dragons regulate their body temperature by obtaining heat externally from their environment, being that they are cold-blooded creatures.
Therefore, their natural desert environment should be mimicked within their habitat. Thermoregulation methods should be adopted to provide for both a “cool” and “warm” area within your beardie’s habitat at a particular temperature grade.
So, for twelve hours per day, you’d like the temperature to measure between 78 °F and 89 °F at the cool area within the habitat. The closer it gets to the basking lamp, the warmer the area will be, of course.
Bearded dragons require a basking lamp in the habitat where the temperature measures between 90 °F and 105 °F. Aiming for the middle at a temperature of 100 °F should be good.
Short Example When To Use A Heat Pad Vs When To Upgrade The Basking Lamp
The temperature within the “cool” section of the habitat could be preserved by using a heat pad that equates to a third of the tank’s surface.
You only would need to do that if the temperature on the cool side is too low but the other temperatures are fine. For example, if the basking spot also shows too low temperatures, this could be a sign for a too weak basking lamp.
In that case, I’d recommend getting a basking lamp that is stronger first before you get a heat pad.
The heat pad should be accompanied with a thermostat and a precise thermometer for accurate monitoring.
A basking spot bulb housed in ceramic can be used for the basking area within the habitat. The temperature in the basking area can be monitored with a precise thermometer and dimming thermostat.
Further, two heat pads could be used for additional heating requirements in both the basking and cooler area. Heat pads are not very effective, where substrate in the habitat is quite thick.
Please also check out my article here for more information on how to get your temperature right.
Bearded Dragon Too Cold? Know the signs
Bearded dragons are unique reptiles, and each may have some different needs which should be met. As a beardie parent, you always need to monitor and regularly observe their behavior to ensure that you have a happy, healthy beardie.
Your beardie will definitely let you know if improvements are required, and you can appropriately make the necessary adjustments.
If your beardie is basking in the same spot every single day all day long, this could be an indication that he is not comfortable. Your beardie is probably trying to warm himself up but to no avail.
Also, note that the converse applies. He could be desperately scratching the glass on the side of the tank, where the temperature is a bit cooler if he is feeling too hot.
These behaviors might be considered quite normal for some and may only happen every now and then. If the behavior starts to occur incessantly and comes along with any signs of illness, then you probably have to be concerned!
Heating Pads: Their Potential Dangers
While you may think that your beardie requires more heat and a heat pad is the only solution, you need to also consider the potential risks that come along with heating pads.
It is definitely a notable issue.
Terribly fatal and potentially life-threatening to your beardie, the risk of overheating is scary, and while heating pads were recommended by some, it is discouraged by other beardie parents.
It is very easy for beardies to burn themselves on heat mats, as bearded dragons aren’t able to gauge hot temperatures through their stomachs. Thus, they will not feel any pain if their stomachs started burning.
Heat is recommended to radiate from above the habitat and not below.
Safer Alternatives to Heat Pads for The Beardie’s Habitat
These alternative methods of heating the habitat below are considered safer than using heat pads!
Lamps for Basking
Around ten to twelve hours of heat is required per day for your bearded dragon during the spring and summer seasons, while eight hours of heat is required during fall and winter. A basking lamp is a safer alternative for providing this heat to your beardie.
Besides that, bearded dragons associate light with heat and heat that comes from above is more natural than heat that comes from the ground.
Further, bearded dragons like to burrow themselves into sand if they feel too hot. So a heat pad under the tank could lead to a bearded dragon getting to hot.
Ceramic lamps allow for some additional warmth at night when your house is terribly cold at temperatures below 64 °F. Bearded dragons do not require heat at night though. This allows the habitat to cool down overnight.
Beardie parents need to remember that temperature should always be monitored. Installing thermometers at the hot and cool ends of the habitat should make monitoring the temperature an easy task.
Installing a thermostat will help to control the temperature in your beardie’s habitat by preventing it from exceeding a certain temperature.
A thermostat should be placed on the basking lamp while a sensor is placed at the cool section of the habitat. The thermostat should be set at 77 °F, and whenever the cool end reaches this temperature, the basking bulb should dull to maintain a consistent temperature at the cool end.
Bearded dragons require heat to sustain themselves in their habitats provided to them by their beardie parents. It is necessary to mimic their natural environment.
Beardie parents must understand the risks involved with a heating pad before considering purchasing one. Are potential thermal burns suffered by your beardie worth the risk?
Although bearded dragons may need a heat pad, you should exhaust the safer alternatives before installing a heat pad. You won’t be happy when you find your beardie friend overheating in his habitat.
Even though heat pads may be considered an excellent way to increase the temperature in your beardie’s habitat, heat lamps, and ceramic heat emitters actually already provide most of the heat your bearded dragon requires!