If your heat lamp just burned out you probably get a little bit nervous, because your bearded dragon is without heat. So how long can bearded dragons go without heat?
Bearded dragons should always have access to a heat source during the day. A bearded dragon should not live without heat longer than 24 hours, otherwise health problems might occur.
This was the straight forward answer. However, what is going to happen if you leave your bearded dragon without heat for more then 24 hours? What can you do if you just can´t get a new heat bulb within the next 24 hours?
Continue to read this article to learn how you can help your bearded dragon properly.
Can Bearded Dragons Live Without Heat?
No, bearded dragons can´t live without heat. Bearded dragons and other reptiles are cold-blooded, which means that they need an external heat source to get their body on temperature in order to function properly.
What does that mean? Well, if your bearded dragon does not have access to any heat source, it won´t be able to move properly. That also means that your bearded dragon is not able to hunt and even other body functions are not able to work as they should.
The worst thing is that they are not able to digest their food. If food remains in a bearded dragon´s stomach for too long, it will start to rot and I think I do not need to tell you that this can have lethal consequences.
The colder the ambient temperature is, the worse all the things I have told you above get. In other words, if the ambient temperature in the room where the bearded dragon tank is placed is around 77 °F (25 °C) it is not that bad.
Your bearded dragon will still be able to move, to eat and even to digest. Even though its body will not work as it would if it would have had the chance to heat up under the basking spot.
The lower the temperature in the reptile room is, the less will your bearded dragon´s body be able to work. At a certain (low) temperature your bearded dragon won´t even wake up and just continue to sleep.
That would be like a short brumation.
How Long Can Bearded Dragons Live Without Heat?
As you have learned, you don´t want to leave your bearded dragon without heat for too long, but how long is okay?
I would say that you should not leave your bearded dragon without any heat source for more than 24 hours. As I said above, the food will start to rot in its stomach and that is the worst thing that can happen.
If your bearded dragon is without heat for just a couple of hours, you do not have to be worried. That´s okay. You should make sure that your bearded dragon has a normal diurnal cycle, but if your heat bulb burned out and you need some hours to get a new one, stay relaxed.
What Can You Do If You Can´t Get A New Heat Bulb Quickly?
That´s the worst case obviously, but it can happen. You definitely wanna do something to get your bearded dragon on temperature at least for a couple of hours.
Try to use any heat source you can get to get your bearded dragon on temperature. If you have a heat mat that you are using for other reptiles, you can take that and use it for your bearded dragon a couple of hours.
If you do not have any other reptiles and you don´t have a heat source similar to that, you can also use water bottles with warm water and lay your bearded dragon on it.
Some people even use grain pillows to make sure that their bearded dragon gets warm in such a situation.
You just have to make sure that your bearded dragon doesn´t get burned. Make sure that the pillow is not too hot or that the water bottles are not too hot.
Warm baths can help as well, but I don´t really recommend it. The bearded dragon has to be rubbed dry afterwards, otherwise its body temperature will drop even further.
Do anything to warm up your bearded dragon. Everything that is warm can help.
Just do not, I repeat, do not put your bearded dragon in the microwave or in the oven. That might sound funny now, but I am serious. Some people just don´t think about the consequences and think it is a good idea.
Should You Take Your Bearded Dragon To A Vet Afterwards?
That highly depends on how long your bearded dragon has been without heat. If your bearded dragon was without heat for just a couple of hours, let´s say 5 hours, there is absolutely no need to visit a reptile vet.
If your bearded dragon was without heat for more than 24 hours you have to keep an eye on your bearded dragon.
Is it moving properly? Was it able to defecate? Is it eating and drinking? Any weird behavior could mean that your bearded dragon is not feeling well and that there might be a problem.
After such a long time without heat you should give your bearded dragon time to wake up properly before you start to worry.
Always Use A Time Switch
I think you already know this, but I still want to say it. You should always use a time switch in your bearded dragon tank. You should not switch the lights on and off manually.
Things can happen and some day you might not be able to switch the lights on or off at the right time and your bearded dragon will be without heat. Things like that can happen once, but it should not happen too often as it will irritate your bearded dragon´s biorhythm.
If you need to know what the best heat lamps for bearded dragons are, read this article on bearded dragon heat lamps.
What About Brumation?
During brumation, bearded dragons need no heat at all. Heat would actually disturb them while sleeping. However, this is a whole different topic and if you need some information on that, read my bearded dragon brumation guide.
Your bearded dragon can definitely survive without heat for a couple of hours, but you should make sure that it can get its body on temperature within the next 24 hours otherwise health problems and even death can be the result.
I hope that answers your question, how long can bearded dragons live without heat? – and if you have further questions, just leave a message in the comment section below.