They are nocturnal creatures that are accustomed to rising before the sun and going to bed after it sets in their natural environment.
Bearded dragons like to sleep in cozy spots, and they frequently enjoy wrapping themselves in blankets or, more unexpectedly, sand when they are dozing off.
In this post, we’ll talk about how bearded dragons often sleep, what kinds of bedding they prefer, how to make a cozy bed for them, and some frequent pitfalls to watch out for.
Natural Sleeping Habits of Bearded Dragons
Bearded dragons are native to the arid regions of Australia, where they have adapted to a life in the desert. In their natural habitat, they usually sleep on the ground, hidden under rocks or in burrows to escape the extreme daytime heat and the cold nighttime temperatures.
Bearded dragons are primarily diurnal creatures, meaning they are active during the day and sleep at night. Their sleeping patterns typically follow a 12-hour cycle, with their internal clocks adjusting to the light and dark periods in their environment.
In the wild, bearded dragons go through a period of brumation, which is similar to hibernation in mammals. During this time, they will sleep for extended periods and reduce their activity levels, food intake, and metabolic rate. It is essential to be aware of this behavior and prepare for it accordingly.
Ideal Bedding Materials for Bearded Dragons
Selecting the right bedding material is crucial for ensuring a comfortable and safe sleeping environment for your bearded dragon. Here are some of the best options:
1. Reptile Carpet
Reptile carpet is a popular choice for bearded dragons because it is soft, easy to clean, and reduces the risk of impaction. Impaction occurs when a bearded dragon accidentally ingests substrate material, causing intestinal blockages.
2. Newspaper or Paper Towels
These materials are inexpensive, easy to replace, and create a low-impact sleeping surface for your bearded dragon. They may not be the most aesthetically pleasing option but are practical and safe.
3. Tile or Slate
Tile or slate can mimic the natural desert environment and provide a firm, smooth surface for your bearded dragon to sleep on. They also retain heat well, providing a warm sleeping area. Be sure to choose tiles with a smooth surface to avoid injury.
4. Non-adhesive Shelf Liner
Non-adhesive shelf liner is another suitable option for bedding, as it is soft, easy to clean, and provides some cushioning for your bearded dragon.
Creating a Comfortable Sleeping Environment
Here are some essential factors to consider when creating the perfect sleeping environment for your bearded dragon:
Maintaining a suitable temperature gradient is critical for bearded dragons, with a basking spot at around 95-105°F (35-40°C) during the day and a nighttime temperature of 65-75°F (18-24°C). This gradient allows them to regulate their body temperature effectively.
Bearded dragons need exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light to synthesize vitamin D3, which is crucial for calcium absorption. Ensure that your pet has access to a UVB light source during the day, and turn off all lights at night to mimic their natural environment.
3. Hiding Spots
Providing hiding spots, such as caves or rock formations, can help your bearded dragon feel secure and protected while they sleep. These areas should be placed on the cooler side of the enclosure, allowing your bearded dragon to choose their preferred sleeping temperature.
4. Proper Enclosure Size
Adequate space is essential for your bearded dragon’s overall well-being. A minimum enclosure size of 40 gallons (150 liters) is recommended for an adult bearded dragon, with larger enclosures being even better. This space allows them to move around comfortably and choose their preferred sleeping spot.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
To ensure your bearded dragon’s health and happiness, be mindful of these common mistakes:
1. Using Loose Substrate
Loose substrates, such as sand, wood shavings, or walnut shells, can pose a risk of impaction if ingested by your bearded dragon. Stick to safer bedding options, as mentioned earlier.
2. Inadequate Temperature Control
Maintaining proper temperature gradients is crucial for your bearded dragon’s health. Regularly monitor temperatures using digital thermometers and adjust as needed.
3. Ignoring Brumation
Brumation is a natural process for bearded dragons, and it’s essential to recognize and accommodate this behavior. Consult with a veterinarian to ensure your pet is healthy and properly prepared for brumation.
4. Inadequate UVB Lighting
Make sure your bearded dragon has access to a high-quality UVB light source to prevent metabolic bone disease, which results from a lack of calcium absorption.
The health and happiness of your bearded dragon depend on your familiarity with their sleeping preferences and your ability to provide a secure, comfortable environment for them. With the right bedding, the right temperature, and the right lighting, you can give your bearded dragon a good night’s sleep and keep it healthy.