how to keep a bearded dragon warm without a heat lamp?

How To Keep A Bearded Dragon Warm Without A Heat Lamp?

Bearded dragons require heat to regulate their body temperature, and a heat lamp is typically used to provide this heat. However, there may be situations where a heat lamp is not available, such as during a power outage or if the lamp burns out.

Here are some ways to keep a bearded dragon warm without a heat lamp:

  1. Cover the tank with blankets: This can help trap in heat and keep the temperature inside the tank warmer.
  2. Use covered hot water bottles or grain pillows: These can be placed inside the tank to provide warmth.
  3. Wrap your bearded dragon gently against your body for warmth: This can help transfer your body heat to your dragon and keep them warm.
  4. Provide a bath: A warm bath can help raise your dragon’s body temperature.

Understanding Bearded Dragon’s Temperature Needs

Image Source:

The Natural Habitat and Temperature Range of Bearded Dragons in the Wild

Bearded dragons are native to the arid regions of Australia, where temperatures can range from 80-100°F during the day and drop down to 65-75°F at night.

They are adapted to survive in these hot and dry conditions, where they spend most of their time basking on rocks or branches in the sun. When it gets too hot, they retreat to burrows or shady areas to cool off.

How Bearded Dragons Regulate Their Body Temperature Through Basking and Thermoregulation?

Bearded dragons are thermoregulating animals, which means they regulate their body temperature by basking in a warm area and then moving to a cool area to cool down. The ideal internal body temperature for a bearded dragon lizard is 35 degrees centigrade.

They can change their back color from light yellow to dark brown to regulate their body temperature. Interestingly, the chest and beard do not change color in response to temperature, but change dramatically from cream to jet black during social interactions, accompanied by head-bobs and push-ups.

Bearded dragons use thermoregulation to maintain their body temperature, and they are experts in it. They select appropriate temperatures for their habitat and use their body temperature as a guide for behavior.

Adult and neonatal bearded dragons were placed in a thermal gradient and allowed to voluntarily select temperatures for up to 8 hours to observe the presence and development of a thermoregulatory orientation preference.

Both adult and neonatal bearded dragons were found to have a thermoregulatory orientation preference. Neonates were also more likely to select cooler temperatures when facing a heat source but required more experience before this orientation behavior emerged. These results demonstrate the importance of orientation to behavioral thermoregulation in multiple life stages of bearded dragons.

Alternative Heating Methods for Bearded Dragons

Image Source:

A heat lamp is often the go-to choice for reptile owners when it comes to providing warmth and light for their pets.

However, there are alternative heating methods that can be used to keep your bearded dragon warm without a heat lamp.

Ceramic Heat Emitter (CHE)

A ceramic heat emitter is a device that produces infrared heat without emitting any light. It works by using an insulated ceramic element that heats up and emits heat waves into the enclosure.

The device can be screwed into a porcelain fixture, which can then be mounted inside the enclosure.

The CHE is an excellent alternative to a traditional heat lamp because it provides warmth without disrupting the natural day/night cycle of your bearded dragon.

Additionally, it doesn’t emit any visible light, which can be beneficial for those who need to provide their pet with warmth at night.

Under Tank Heating Pad (UTH)

An under-tank heating pad is another option for providing warmth to your bearded dragon without a heat lamp.

As its name suggests, this device is placed underneath the enclosure and provides consistent bottom heating for your pet.

UTHs work by using heating elements located inside the pad to radiate warmth upwards through the bottom of the tank.

They are typically low-wattage devices and are much safer than other forms of heating because they don’t emit much radiant energy or require high temperatures.

One benefit of this method is that it can help create a temperature gradient within your pet’s enclosure, ensuring that they have access to different temperature zones within their living space.

This helps mimic their natural habitat and allows them to regulate their body temperature as needed.

Hot Water Bottle or Heating Pad

If you find yourself in need of a temporary solution for keeping your bearded dragon warm without a heat lamp, you can use a hot water bottle or heating pad.

These methods can be used alongside other alternative heating methods to maintain warmth in your pet’s enclosure, especially during power outages.

For the hot water bottle method, fill a soft bottle with warm (not hot) water and place it in the enclosure. For the heating pad method, wrap a heating pad in a towel and place it under one side of the enclosure.

It’s important to note that these methods are not meant to replace long-term solutions such as UTHs or CHEs. They should only be used as temporary measures until permanent solutions are available.

Other Tips for Keeping Your Bearded Dragon Warm Without a Heat Lamp

Image Source:

Proper Enclosure Setup

A bearded dragon’s enclosure setup is crucial to ensure they stay warm without relying on heat lamps.

The enclosure should be large enough to allow the dragon to move around freely, but not too large that it becomes difficult to maintain a consistent temperature.

The enclosure should also be placed in a room with stable and warm ambient temperature, away from drafts and air conditioning vents.

Additionally, adding coverings such as blankets or towels to the outside of the enclosure can help retain warmth.

Provide Adequate Lighting

Apart from warmth, proper lighting is essential for the health of your bearded dragon. Ensure that there is adequate UVB lighting in their environment as this helps them produce Vitamin D3 which is vital for their bone health and immune system.

Also, ensure that there is ample basking light as this will help regulate their body temperature.

Dietary Considerations

Diet plays an important role in keeping your bearded dragon healthy and warm. A well-balanced diet consisting of greens, vegetables, and appropriate protein sources ensures optimal metabolism which leads to efficient thermoregulation.


While heat lamps are effective means for warming up your pet dragons’ enclosure, understanding how to keep them warm without one provides alternative solutions if you encounter issues with your lamp or if you prefer a different heating method altogether.

Providing alternative heating methods such as ceramic heat emitters or under-tank heaters alongside other tips like proper enclosure setup and dietary considerations can help maintain ideal temperatures for your pet without putting any undue stress on them.

It’s important to remember to always research thoroughly before implementing alternative heating methods and consult with professionals when necessary.