Why You Shouldn’t Use Heat Mats for Bearded Dragons

Vivarium heating is a very important part of any bearded dragon setup.Vivarium Heat Mat

Bearded dragons come from the hot Australian desert so heating is essential for recreating their natural living environment. After all, they need it to aid their digestion and stay healthy.

But overheating can be extremely dangerous and potentially fatal and there’s one type of heating you should never use for this type of reptile. Read on to find out why you should never use heat mats for bearded dragons.


Why can’t you use heat mats for bearded dragons?

Heat mats are dangerous for bearded dragons because they can’t feel heat through their stomachs. This means it’s very easy for them to burn themselves on a heat mat.

And even though they may be used to the searing temperatures of the Australian desert, heat should always come from above, not below.

This means heat rocks should also be avoided – they’ll also heat your bearded dragon from below and if its tummy starts to burn, it won’t be able to feel it.


Safe ways to heat your bearded dragon vivarium

While you should always be careful your bearded dragon doesn’t overheat, there are plenty of safe ways to heat a bearded dragon vivarium without using a heat mat.

Basking lamps

Bearded dragons need around 10-12 hours of heat a day and a basking lamp is a safe way to provide this heat. Set it to between 40.5 and 43.5℃ and remember that should never exceed 45℃ (113℉).Bearded Dragon Vivariums

Ceramic lamps

Bearded dragons don’t generally need heat at nighttime as it allows the tank to cool off overnight. But if your house is particularly cold (below 18℃), a ceramic lamp like this is a good way to provide some extra warmth.

They don’t provide any light (only heat) and they’ll keep your bearded dragon warm without disturbing its sleep.

Put thermometers at each end of the tank

Monitoring the temperature of your bearded dragon tank is very important. Since bearded dragons require a thermal gradient (a hot end and a cool end), we’d recommend installing a thermometer (preferably a digital one like this) at each end of the vivarium so you can easily keep an eye on it.

Install a thermostat

A thermostat like this can also come in very handy. Much like a thermostat you’d have in your home, this will stop your bearded dragon vivarium exceeding a certain temperature.

Simply attach the thermostat to your basking lamp and place the thermostat’s sensor at the cool end of the vivarium. Set it to 25℃. Whenever this temperature is reached at the cool end, the basking bulb will dim slightly to keep the temperature at the cool end consistent.


Final thoughts…

Now you know all about how to safely heat your bearded dragon’s tank and why you should never use a heat mat, stay on Vivarium World to find out about other important aspects of bearded dragon care: