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  • Writer's pictureIan Bromham

Left in the DARK....

Updated: Mar 31, 2023

Bearded dragons are active during the day and require their lights and heat turned off at night in captivity.
Bearded Dragon at Night

What to do with your Beardie after dark?

One of the most common questions I get asked or that see people asking on social media forums is, “what kind of lighting do I give my Beardie at night?”

Unfortunately, there is a lot of old information being passed around these days about using red lights for heat at night.

Red lights are dangerous.... Don't use them for your Beardie.

I tell all my customers to mimic our day/night cycle. When it gets dark outside, the lights in your beardies enclosures should be off.

Unless you live in the Arctic Circle where it’s the land of the midnight sun, please turn off all lights at night.

Adult Bearded Dragons.

For my adult Beardies I give them a 12night and 12 hour day cycle.

Leading into winter I slowly reduce the daylight hours of my adults to prepare them for their brumation cycle.

Babies and Juveniles.

As I want the growth of my Baby Beardies to be accelerated, I give them 14 hour days and 10 hour nights.

This gives them more time to bask and soak up the GOODNESS that is UVB. As it extends their day, their opportunities to eat are also increased.

I provide all my babies some night heat in the way of a warm house. If your house or the room where your beardies enclosure is cold, they would benefit from a ceramic heat emitter.

The first few months of development is crucial for a healthy and robust dragon, so keeping your babies heated in the low 20’s at night will encourage a quicker feeding response in the morning.

Think about it.....

If your baby beardie cools down to 10-15 degrees Celsius at night, they need to heat up to 38-40 degrees to drive their appetite the next morning. The extra 10 degrees of warmth at night will shorten the time you need to wait to feed them.

Follow this link for Bearded Dragon Care sheets.

Bearded Dragon at Night
Bearded Dragon at Night

The scorching desert extremes.

Daytime in the desert brings scorching temperatures along with the blinding sunlight, the contrast to this is the chilling nights.

As bearded dragons are cold blooded, they thrive in the daytime heat and exploit open spaces to soak up the UVB.

They are often seen basking on a rocky outcrop, a tree stump and even fence posts.

As I discuss in my earlier blog “is sand KILLING my Beardie”, bearded dragons are known to burrow underground to lay their eggs and they also escape the cold weather and predators to brumate underground.

I discuss this further in my YouTube video "is sand KILING my Beardie?"

This is because the first 10-20cm of soil retains a great deal of heat from throughout the day.

Yeah by why does that matter, we are talking about beardies in captivity?

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard the argument for tinted lights that replicate the moons glow or that the desert is cold therefor a beardie doesn’t need night heat.

To put it simply..... there is no moonlight underground and the chill of a desert night doesn’t affect a dragon’s burrow.

Red lights.

There is research to show that red lights in particular are damaging to a bearded dragon’s eyes.

As I’ve already stated above, there is no need for any night light no matter the colour.

Even if this is just an old urban myth to scare us....... good enough for me!!

Final thoughts.

Please make sure your bearded dragons lights are off at night.

If you love your A/C cranking at night when you go to bed, I would recommend a ceramic heat emitter for night warmth.

Adult Bearded dragons don't need any heat at all at night, but we will discuss this topic in further detail later in the series.

Finally, when the lights are off in the Beardies enclosure, leave them alone. Now is not the time for cuddles.

Now is the time to be left in the dark.

Please feel free to send us some feedback below.


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