The Bearded dragons’ natural habitat includes the necessities they require to survive; light, heat, and space are plentiful for a beardie’s health and anywhere else with a slightly different mode of operation can seriously affect them. Without heat, your dragon will simply be unable to metabolize consumed food or stay immune from regular or rather rare diseases which could lead to death if prolonged.
The maximum expectation of a bearded dragon’s life without heat is one week. The beardie can exceed this number or simply not get to it. This depends on the individual itself; how healthy the bearded dragon is, its age, and its size.
In this article, we’ll be answering the rather mind-boggling question of how long bearded dragons can live without heat. Let’s go!
Why Do Bearded Dragons Need Heat?
Bearded dragons are ectothermic creatures. Meaning, they rely on external heat to regulate their body temperature and keep them healthy. Despite being cold-blooded, they still need heat daily to stay alive. Here are the reasons why beardies need heat:
To Metabolize Food
Bearded dragons need heat to activate the enzymes needed for digestion and metabolism. Without heat, your beardie will be unable to digest its consumed food which can lead to impaction and malnutrition.
To Regulate Body Temperature
Beardies require heat from the sun to maintain a particular body temperature. Since they can’t do this themselves, bearded dragons need certain periods of heat from the sun (or other sources) for temperature regulation.
To Stay Active
Lack of heat directly leads to lethargy as your bearded dragon relies on heat to stay active. During brumation, one of the main tell-tale signs of the commencement of the season is environmental heat reduction due to the change of climate. This simply means that heat is necessary for your beardie’s activity daily.
To Boost Immunity
Your bearded dragon relies on heat to conserve a particular temperature that protects its body from diseases. If the temperature is too low, your pet will be exposed to illnesses due to the decline of its immune system.
To Protect Itself From Respiratory Diseases
Bearded dragons are also liable to contracting respiratory illnesses from a decrease in temperature. One common illness is pneumonia, which forms as a result of bacteria multiplying in the respiratory tract and the lungs. This leads to inflammation and the buildup of fluid causing further problems and later death.
What Happens When Your Bearded Dragon’s Heat Source Is Cut Off?
When your bearded dragon suddenly has no access to heat, its health progressively and rapidly deteriorates until it dies. The exact duration cannot be determined as it will depend on individual factors. Baby beardies and senior dragons may survive most of the day without heat, while adult beardies may last a week. It will also depend on the health of the beardie; the healthier it is, the more likely it is to survive before heat is restored.
For the first three days without heat, the bearded dragon’s metabolism drastically declines, almost coming to a halt. This suppresses the dragon’s appetite for food as well as its digestion. During this period, the bearded dragon is acutely lethargic and inactive. It will be unusually unresponsive to touch or sound, and be more willing to lie in one place. By the third day, it may have contracted a respiratory disease from the weakened immune system and constant exposure to cold temperatures.
Going forward from this, the bearded dragon will either die from a respiratory disease or organ failure from the lack of heat or nutrition. Also, disorientation may be observed from the absence of nutrients sent to the brain, including possible vision impairment.
Towards the end of the week without heat (or perhaps even exceeding this duration) the unfortunate bearded dragon is hanging on for dear life or waiting for its demise.
Can A Bearded Dragon Recover From The Detriments Of Lack Of Heat?
A bearded dragon can recover from a lack of necessary heat depending on the severity of the situation, and the individual dragon. A day or two without heat may lead to a bad respiratory disease, which may be reversed with proper professional care.
However, exceeding this number of days, the problem takes a nasty turn. When metabolism is deeply affected, major organs like the liver, kidney, and brain are injured causing permanent damage to the beardie.
The permanent damage caused by lack of heat can manifest itself as the following:
- Breathing difficulties
- Regular indigestion
- Motor problems
- Growth retardation
- Weakened bones
How Can I Tell If My Bearded Dragon Is Cold?
The optimum body temperature for a bearded dragon is 97° Fahrenheit. Anything less than this is a determinant that your beardie’s body temperature is abnormally low. Asides from this, 5 signs help to indicate your pet is too cold for comfort and needs immediate care.
Lethargy is a common indicator of several health problems in bearded dragons, but it’s also a sign that your pet is too cold. Beardies get some of their energy from heat, and without it, their activity levels weaken leading to lethargy.
2. Lack Of Appetite
During the lack of necessary heat, your bearded dragon’s system will attempt to slow down its metabolism and reduce the risks of indigestion. This will represent a lack of appetite. If you notice your pet eating less and less, it’s probably not content with the heat it’s receiving.
Bearded dragons suffering from a decrease in temperature tend to hide more in an attempt to preserve their body warmth or seek out warm spots in the enclosure. If you find your dragon hiding more than usual, it’s probably cold.
Heat is required by bearded dragons to digest food properly. Without proper digestion, your pet is liable to impaction. Impaction occurs due to undigested food blocking the intestinal tract in a way that the dragon is unable to excrete. This is highly dangerous and could lead to further abdominal complications.
5. Stress Signs
When bearded dragons are uncomfortable, they display signs of stress like darkening of the beards and streaking under the belly. The streaks resemble dark strokes or spots randomly placed in odd areas where they previously haven’t been. If you notice dark spots or lines on your bearded dragon, it could be stressed from the temperature change.
The Correct Heat Requirement For Your Bearded Dragon
For your pet lizard to stay healthy and happy, you must provide the proper temperature for its survival. The temperature in the enclosure should not exceed 104° to 107° Fahrenheit in hot areas and 71° to 73° Fahrenheit in shaded areas. It’s highly crucial to maintain this temperature as your pet’s life depends on it.
Ensure that there is constantly a stick-on thermometer in the tank (view on Amazon) to determine the total temperature of your beardie’s surroundings. You must also have a hand thermometer (view on Amazon) to take precise measurements of the basking spot. Sometimes, the basking bulb (view on Amazon) required to provide your pet with the necessary heat may die off before due time, and you may not indicate this quickly since the general temperature remains stable.
Bearded dragons need heat to survive. It’s more than a health requirement since the lack of heat can cause your beardie’s demise. Ensure that the temperature in your pet’s tank is correct at all times so that it does not suffer the consequences of neglect. If your pet is showing signs related to a drop in temperature, quickly confirm with your veterinary doctor and then proceed to fix the temperature setting. Good luck!