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Keeping a beardie warm in the winter

firoza1021

Bearded Dragon Egg
Messages
10
Location
Georgia, USA
Hi friends! First off apologies if this post might belong in another thread, I’ve just now joined to ask this specific question.

My sister has a happy and healthy 4 year old male beardie. He is in a 40 gallon long with UVA and UVB lights. Loves his veggies and is an overall great guy. I have always told her if she ever needed to rehome to consider me first. That way he can stay in the family and she can see him still.

That time has now come, and before I commit to him I have one major concern. My house is very old and does not have central heat. I live in south east United States and only have a few really cold months, rarely gets below freezing, and we use space heaters in our bedroom/spare room to stay warm. (The spare room would be where the beardie would go.)

But basically I cant rely on the ambient temperatures of the house to keep his enclosure a safe night time temp.

Could I use a ceramic heat source to keep the tank safely warm, especially at night, or insulate the outside of his cage in some way during the winter months? Or should I hold back on getting him/make arrangements for my sister to have him during the winter? (Child visitation lol)

I just don’t want to commit to him if my home won’t be safe!

Thank you for any advice about this, I am excited about the beardie, but would never want to put him in harms way just because of my excitement!
 

Sadie

Bearded Dragon Veteran
1,000+ Post Club
Messages
6,937
Hi friends! First off apologies if this post might belong in another thread, I’ve just now joined to ask this specific question.

My sister has a happy and healthy 4 year old male beardie. He is in a 40 gallon long with UVA and UVB lights. Loves his veggies and is an overall great guy. I have always told her if she ever needed to rehome to consider me first. That way he can stay in the family and she can see him still.

That time has now come, and before I commit to him I have one major concern. My house is very old and does not have central heat. I live in south east United States and only have a few really cold months, rarely gets below freezing, and we use space heaters in our bedroom/spare room to stay warm. (The spare room would be where the beardie would go.)

But basically I cant rely on the ambient temperatures of the house to keep his enclosure a safe night time temp.

Could I use a ceramic heat source to keep the tank safely warm, especially at night, or insulate the outside of his cage in some way during the winter months? Or should I hold back on getting him/make arrangements for my sister to have him during the winter? (Child visitation lol)

I just don’t want to commit to him if my home won’t be safe!

Thank you for any advice about this, I am excited about the beardie, but would never want to put him in harms way just because of my excitement!
First off thanks for keeping the guy in the family---- better that way--- :)
Next put him in the warmest room you have for the winter - but in the other seasons keep him where there is activity they are a social animal and in the winter most will brumate - so if hes sleeping hes going to want temps 65-75 this also goes for night time temps -- no lights or warm temps dragons like it cool and dark - you can use a stick on for ambient temps - surface basking temps you need to take them w/ a digital probe thermometer 95-100 middle of tank 90's and cool side 80's during the day -- your basking bulb should be able to provide those temps if you need another one then get another dome and another lower wattage bulb to get those temps to what they need to be --- a ceramic heat emitter is great for night time temps if they are falling below the 65 degrees -
Room temps are a big factor in keeping temps in the tank - so you can also put a piece of wood on top of the tank to retain heat -- I would only put it on the cool side of the tank leaving the basking side open it should retain the heat as well just make sure your keeping an eye on those temps when doing that -- you need to keep ventilation so also another factor when putting stuff on top of the tank - let me know if you need more help -- the surface basking temps and UVB are the MOST important things in your tank --
 

firoza1021

Bearded Dragon Egg
Messages
10
Location
Georgia, USA
First off thanks for keeping the guy in the family---- better that way--- :)
Next put him in the warmest room you have for the winter - but in the other seasons keep him where there is activity they are a social animal and in the winter most will brumate - so if hes sleeping hes going to want temps 65-75 this also goes for night time temps -- no lights or warm temps dragons like it cool and dark - you can use a stick on for ambient temps - surface basking temps you need to take them w/ a digital probe thermometer 95-100 middle of tank 90's and cool side 80's during the day -- your basking bulb should be able to provide those temps if you need another one then get another dome and another lower wattage bulb to get those temps to what they need to be --- a ceramic heat emitter is great for night time temps if they are falling below the 65 degrees -
Room temps are a big factor in keeping temps in the tank - so you can also put a piece of wood on top of the tank to retain heat -- I would only put it on the cool side of the tank leaving the basking side open it should retain the heat as well just make sure your keeping an eye on those temps when doing that -- you need to keep ventilation so also another factor when putting stuff on top of the tank - let me know if you need more help -- the surface basking temps and UVB are the MOST important things in your tank --
Thank you! Yes even in the spare room he will see us daily. That’s my husbands gaming room so he is there almost all the time. And I work from home so I’ll be able to hang with him as much as he wants! That’s actually why my sister is rehoming him, she and her fiancé both just got new jobs and they will be gone 12hrs a day. They love him but they know he deserves more attention! I have several months before I have to worry about home temp dropping, so I will keep an eye on everything and adjust as needed. I’d love more info about brumation though! Is this something all beardies do? During that time how should I handle feeding and interaction? Do they burrow into a substrate or just lay in one spot? Thanks for your input!!
 

firoza1021

Bearded Dragon Egg
Messages
10
Location
Georgia, USA
First off thanks for keeping the guy in the family---- better that way--- :)
Next put him in the warmest room you have for the winter - but in the other seasons keep him where there is activity they are a social animal and in the winter most will brumate - so if hes sleeping hes going to want temps 65-75 this also goes for night time temps -- no lights or warm temps dragons like it cool and dark - you can use a stick on for ambient temps - surface basking temps you need to take them w/ a digital probe thermometer 95-100 middle of tank 90's and cool side 80's during the day -- your basking bulb should be able to provide those temps if you need another one then get another dome and another lower wattage bulb to get those temps to what they need to be --- a ceramic heat emitter is great for night time temps if they are falling below the 65 degrees -
Room temps are a big factor in keeping temps in the tank - so you can also put a piece of wood on top of the tank to retain heat -- I would only put it on the cool side of the tank leaving the basking side open it should retain the heat as well just make sure your keeping an eye on those temps when doing that -- you need to keep ventilation so also another factor when putting stuff on top of the tank - let me know if you need more help -- the surface basking temps and UVB are the MOST important things in your tank --
Addition, so I did go ahead and do some research on the brumation process. But any personal experience you have with it would be great!
 

Sadie

Bearded Dragon Veteran
1,000+ Post Club
Messages
6,937
Addition, so I did go ahead and do some research on the brumation process. But any personal experience you have with it would be great!
here is a article on it as well
Personal experience
My two dragons have never fully brumated-- only semi brumated - Hiccup is 4 since he was a juvie/ adult he has never fully gone into brumation only semi-- he sleeps for maybe 2 weeks at the longest and then comes out this is usually in Dec / Jan - this last Jan he went into his spring fever mode full of energy and glass surfed his tank for 3 weeks to a month drives me crazy -- I hate letting him out cuz its cold here but I do for 2 hrs only then hes back to his tank - it seems to satisfy him most of the time some days not so much-- Blaze will be 3 in mid July and he has never fully brumated either --- they both have hides to do this in --- during the time of brumation some dragons will go into a deep sleep and sleep for long periods of time - 3 months tops is what you want them to do this - in that time period I would keep your lights on and off as you do now - this gives them a time period of the day - during that time period you want to get them out every 10 days to 2 weeks offering them water and weighing them - start when they have not come out for 10 days or so - weigh on a kitchen food scale in grams keep track - they can lose up to 20 grams during that time period -- if you notice they are losing a lot of weight then there is a issue and if they are sleeping longer than 3 months -- vet visit time --- I keep my lights on normal time period you can shut them off early as well instead of running the 12 hrs on and 12 hrs off -- summer is usually a longer time period as the days are longer -
Please make sure your using a long tube fixture for you UVB --- coils are a hazard and kill many dragons - they do not emit the UVB rays that are required for dragons- some dragons will not show illness and before you know it your dragon is not walking right - have seizures etc --- they need the correct UVB's rays to absorb the calcium - coils do not do that --- long tube fixtures good ones like Zoo Med or Arcadia's are the best on the market - along w/ good bulbs --- they all have expiration dates between T 8's and T 5's -- if you need help w/ this please ask they also have certain distances and placement depending on the screen your using --- very important
 

firoza1021

Bearded Dragon Egg
Messages
10
Location
Georgia, USA
here is a article on it as well
Personal experience
My two dragons have never fully brumated-- only semi brumated - Hiccup is 4 since he was a juvie/ adult he has never fully gone into brumation only semi-- he sleeps for maybe 2 weeks at the longest and then comes out this is usually in Dec / Jan - this last Jan he went into his spring fever mode full of energy and glass surfed his tank for 3 weeks to a month drives me crazy -- I hate letting him out cuz its cold here but I do for 2 hrs only then hes back to his tank - it seems to satisfy him most of the time some days not so much-- Blaze will be 3 in mid July and he has never fully brumated either --- they both have hides to do this in --- during the time of brumation some dragons will go into a deep sleep and sleep for long periods of time - 3 months tops is what you want them to do this - in that time period I would keep your lights on and off as you do now - this gives them a time period of the day - during that time period you want to get them out every 10 days to 2 weeks offering them water and weighing them - start when they have not come out for 10 days or so - weigh on a kitchen food scale in grams keep track - they can lose up to 20 grams during that time period -- if you notice they are losing a lot of weight then there is a issue and if they are sleeping longer than 3 months -- vet visit time --- I keep my lights on normal time period you can shut them off early as well instead of running the 12 hrs on and 12 hrs off -- summer is usually a longer time period as the days are longer -
Please make sure your using a long tube fixture for you UVB --- coils are a hazard and kill many dragons - they do not emit the UVB rays that are required for dragons- some dragons will not show illness and before you know it your dragon is not walking right - have seizures etc --- they need the correct UVB's rays to absorb the calcium - coils do not do that --- long tube fixtures good ones like Zoo Med or Arcadia's are the best on the market - along w/ good bulbs --- they all have expiration dates between T 8's and T 5's -- if you need help w/ this please ask they also have certain distances and placement depending on the screen your using --- very important
So his screen opens on a halfway point, the whole front half opens horizontally, the left side of the tank being his basking area. I don’t have him right now but I did pet sit him so I know his light set up is two bulbs, one UVA and one UVB in the bulb domes. I’m totally willing to do a full lighting re-vamp!
 

firoza1021

Bearded Dragon Egg
Messages
10
Location
Georgia, USA
here is a article on it as well
Personal experience
My two dragons have never fully brumated-- only semi brumated - Hiccup is 4 since he was a juvie/ adult he has never fully gone into brumation only semi-- he sleeps for maybe 2 weeks at the longest and then comes out this is usually in Dec / Jan - this last Jan he went into his spring fever mode full of energy and glass surfed his tank for 3 weeks to a month drives me crazy -- I hate letting him out cuz its cold here but I do for 2 hrs only then hes back to his tank - it seems to satisfy him most of the time some days not so much-- Blaze will be 3 in mid July and he has never fully brumated either --- they both have hides to do this in --- during the time of brumation some dragons will go into a deep sleep and sleep for long periods of time - 3 months tops is what you want them to do this - in that time period I would keep your lights on and off as you do now - this gives them a time period of the day - during that time period you want to get them out every 10 days to 2 weeks offering them water and weighing them - start when they have not come out for 10 days or so - weigh on a kitchen food scale in grams keep track - they can lose up to 20 grams during that time period -- if you notice they are losing a lot of weight then there is a issue and if they are sleeping longer than 3 months -- vet visit time --- I keep my lights on normal time period you can shut them off early as well instead of running the 12 hrs on and 12 hrs off -- summer is usually a longer time period as the days are longer -
Please make sure your using a long tube fixture for you UVB --- coils are a hazard and kill many dragons - they do not emit the UVB rays that are required for dragons- some dragons will not show illness and before you know it your dragon is not walking right - have seizures etc --- they need the correct UVB's rays to absorb the calcium - coils do not do that --- long tube fixtures good ones like Zoo Med or Arcadia's are the best on the market - along w/ good bulbs --- they all have expiration dates between T 8's and T 5's -- if you need help w/ this please ask they also have certain distances and placement depending on the screen your using --- very important
I was also able to find a picture in my messages of his set up. Obviously I believe a lot here should be renovated, and upgraded. He needs hides and more infrastructure, and I will be removing that substrate and subbing for something more safe (paper towels or maybe some sort of safe tile, unless there is something better?)
 

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Sadie

Bearded Dragon Veteran
1,000+ Post Club
Messages
6,937
I was also able to find a picture in my messages of his set up. Obviously I believe a lot here should be renovated, and upgraded. He needs hides and more infrastructure, and I will be removing that substrate and subbing for something more safe (paper towels or maybe some sort of safe tile, unless there is something better?)
Please get him off the floor--- a used dresser w/ drawers works great -- you can keep all his stuff in -- I got one from a used furniture store w/ 4 drawers for $40 --- whats in the black dome? What are you feeding him? You can get some textured NON adhesive shelf liner from Walmart or your local home improvement store --- or if your going to upgrade the tank to a 75-120 gallon you can go w/ that or slated ceramic tile --- needs to be cut by a tile saw to eliminate jagged edges -- we can talk more about that---- Zen Habitats has a black mat people have been using in the tank -- I have the tile in mine --- he needs a hide and more climbing decor pieces --
for reference here is one of my tanks -- we need to talk UVB's this is crucial
 

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firoza1021

Bearded Dragon Egg
Messages
10
Location
Georgia, USA
Please get him off the floor--- a used dresser w/ drawers works great -- you can keep all his stuff in -- I got one from a used furniture store w/ 4 drawers for $40 --- whats in the black dome? What are you feeding him? You can get some textured NON adhesive shelf liner from Walmart or your local home improvement store --- or if your going to upgrade the tank to a 75-120 gallon you can go w/ that or slated ceramic tile --- needs to be cut by a tile saw to eliminate jagged edges -- we can talk more about that---- Zen Habitats has a black mat people have been using in the tank -- I have the tile in mine --- he needs a hide and more climbing decor pieces --
for reference here is one of my tanks -- we need to talk UVB's this is crucial
This isn’t my home, this is where he lives currently, I’m just considering getting him so I wanted to make sure before I got him that I have everything I need! So as of right now none of what you see in the photo is in my control or my doing. He eats collards, kale, cilantro, squash, and occasional bell peppers, carrots, other treat type veggies. And the occasional mealworm/Dubia. I know this since I’ve pet sat him for a week before. I was planning to pick him up this weekend, and go ahead and get anything I need before then!
 

Sadie

Bearded Dragon Veteran
1,000+ Post Club
Messages
6,937
This isn’t my home, this is where he lives currently, I’m just considering getting him so I wanted to make sure before I got him that I have everything I need! So as of right now none of what you see in the photo is in my control or my doing. He eats collards, kale, cilantro, squash, and occasional bell peppers, carrots, other treat type veggies. And the occasional mealworm/Dubia. I know this since I’ve pet sat him for a week before. I was planning to pick him up this weekend, and go ahead and get anything I need before then!
 

Sadie

Bearded Dragon Veteran
1,000+ Post Club
Messages
6,937
Also his greens are dusted with the product you see sitting on top of the enclosure
Ok please get him on a staple insect I recommend dubias easier to keep I can post websites for you - he should have protein 2-3 times per week - super worms meal worms horn worms are treat worms not a staple feeder- silk worms bsfl crickets are all staple besides the dubias and are a better feeder than crickets - I can also help you set up a 10 gallon tank for the dubias- but we need your lighting in check can't stress this enough--- the tank he's in looks too small as well-
 

firoza1021

Bearded Dragon Egg
Messages
10
Location
Georgia, USA
Ok please get him on a staple insect I recommend dubias easier to keep I can post websites for you - he should have protein 2-3 times per week - super worms meal worms horn worms are treat worms not a staple feeder- silk worms bsfl crickets are all staple besides the dubias and are a better feeder than crickets - I can also help you set up a 10 gallon tank for the dubias- but we need your lighting in check can't stress this enough--- the tank he's in looks too small as well-
Everything pictured is just what he comes with, but I can upgrade any of it as needed. I’m not rich but I do make enough for proper animal husbandry so basically as long as I have a list of what I need I can get it! Sorry to pester or stress you with my ignorance, I try my best to research this stuff on my own but obviously I feel the best advice comes from veteran owners.
 

Sadie

Bearded Dragon Veteran
1,000+ Post Club
Messages
6,937
Everything pictured is just what he comes with, but I can upgrade any of it as needed. I’m not rich but I do make enough for proper animal husbandry so basically as long as I have a list of what I need I can get it! Sorry to pester or stress you with my ignorance, I try my best to research this stuff on my own but obviously I feel the best advice comes from veteran owners.
You are not pestering me please believe me you are doing good by checking to see that he has proper husbandry- most people come here after the fact that there dragon is sick not eating lethargic etc ---- here are some links to UVB's
For his tank and a 75-120 gallon tank you will need this
24" Zoo Med this comes w/ a 5.0 bulb you want a Reptisun 10.0 T 5 keep the 5.0 as a spare back up distance and placement will be different from the 10.0
22" https://www.pangeareptile.com/colle...y-vapor/products/zoo-med-reptisun-10-0-uvb-t5
or this one
2 https://www.pangeareptile.com/colle...meters-1/products/zoo-med-digital-thermometer
please let me know when you get this and I will help you place it for your tank it will depend on the screen
 

firoza1021

Bearded Dragon Egg
Messages
10
Location
Georgia, USA
Okay! I’ll be getting him this weekend so it’ll be around then, and I’ll be on the lookout for a bigger cage in the Facebook marketplace (used is always cheaper, but I’ll get a new one if I can’t find a good one in time)
 

Sadie

Bearded Dragon Veteran
1,000+ Post Club
Messages
6,937
Okay! I’ll be getting him this weekend so it’ll be around then, and I’ll be on the lookout for a bigger cage in the Facebook marketplace (used is always cheaper, but I’ll get a new one if I can’t find a good one in time)
Make sure you disinfect it real good w/ some F 10 found on E bay or Amazon its a concentrate and a vet disinfectant or some Zoo Meds Wipe out or Rescue --- keep this stuff on hand for sure - its great to really deep clean the tank which should be done about once a month --- if you need help w/ new ones please ask
 

firoza1021

Bearded Dragon Egg
Messages
10
Location
Georgia, USA
Make sure you disinfect it real good w/ some F 10 found on E bay or Amazon its a concentrate and a vet disinfectant or some Zoo Meds Wipe out or Rescue --- keep this stuff on hand for sure - its great to really deep clean the tank which should be done about once a month --- if you need help w/ new ones please ask
Thanks so much for all your help. I just ordered the hood and bulb from the links you sent, so the lighting situation will be handled very soon. I’ll pick up some better tank enrichment at the store. Tank size will be my next concern!
 

Sadie

Bearded Dragon Veteran
1,000+ Post Club
Messages
6,937
Thanks so much for all your help. I just ordered the hood and bulb from the links you sent, so the lighting situation will be handled very soon. I’ll pick up some better tank enrichment at the store. Tank size will be my next concern!
Ok let me know when you get the uvb and I will help you place it for your tank- your screen will determine where the uvb is placed and distanced
 

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