My bearded dragons keep going to the cool end of the enclosure and stay there for hours, when I move them to the warm

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Customer: my bearded dragons keep going to the cool end of the enclosure and stay there for hours, when I move them to the warm end in worry for their health their stone cold and inactive. Why do they do this?
Answered by Jav917 in 3 mins 10 years ago
Pet Specialist

27,324 satisfied customers

Specialities include: Reptile Veterinary, Herp Veterinary, Exotic Animal Medicine, Amphibian Veterinary


Are the Dragons housed together?

How old are the Dragons?
Can you tell me about the set up?
Diet Prey/Veggies?
Heat source and temp?
UVB light? How old? Type coil or tube? Strength?
Basking light?

Temps in the enclosure and how measured?


Yes they are housed together, two of them and both females.
Light coloured sand, a food bowl and a large water bowl both set up by the cool end. There's a climbing root by the warm end for basking and a artificial 'cave' rock by the cool end. A flat piece of wood rest on the rock with artificial leaves hanging over it, the lizards sleep here


We buy crickets and Locusts and add supplements before feeding. We give them carrots and dandelion leaves, also with supplements.

their heat source is a 150W infrared heat lamp set up in a corner, the temp reaches 50'c at the warm end during the day...we are not certain if the thermostat is working right now.

UV light, due to be replaced soon. Tube at 40W.

We measure the temps using a double ended heat sensor, at the cool end it's around 25'C to 30'C during the day.



You have some husbandry issues which can be causing the Dragons the problems you are seeing. The sand can cause some major issues with a Dragon.
This will give you an idea about Sand as a substrate:

I suggest using a solid substrate like tile, cage carpet, slate or paper. Sand can also cause skin problems and corneal ulcers in the eyes.

The basking area should have 105*-110*F and the cool side of the tank in the 85* range. This is important for digestion and passing of stool. If the temps are not

correct, this can also cause a problem.

You need to have 2 lights, a day time basking bulb(not a red light heat bulb) as well as a UVB. I recommend a reptisun 10.0 and UVB lights do not put out heat. The UVB bulb is needed to stop Metabolic Bone Disease. The UVB needs to be changed every 6 months.

The UVB should be a tube type. Coil UVB bulbs can injure the eyes.

Compact UVB problems: This should not be giving off a lot of heat, but UVB rays.

The UVB bulb should not have any plastic between it and the Dragon, it needs to run the length of the tank and be no more than 12" from the Dragon. Both lights should run daily for 12-14 hours a day.

You should be feeding finely chopped Collard greens, mustard greens, dandelion
greens, escarole and curly endives. Butternut squash and various berries are great for a treat. The Veggies should be put in fresh daily, and done about an hour after lights on. They need 80% veggies daily and 20% live prey over a year of age.

The live prey should include crickets, silk worms, roaches, goliath worms and phoenix worms.The canned prey looses the nutritional value and is high in chitin which is the outer shells and can cause a blockage.

Super worms and wax worms are like giving the Dragon candy. All veggies and prey should be dusted with calcium daily 5 days a week and vitamins 2 days a week.

For now we need to give the Dragon a soak in 50/50 warm water and plain Dioralyte to prevent dehydration. Please soak at least 30 mins. You need to get a UVB light replaced as that can also cause what you are seeing. I suggest a Reptisun 10.0 tube.

I do suggest a Herp Vet visit thelp rule out a parasite issue. I am also giving you my care sheet to help with the husbandry. This UK Dragon Vets: and these are Herp Vets:

The Dragons are acting like they want to brumate, but it is early in the season for that, so my concern is they do need to be checked out to see what is going on with blood and a fecal hands on by a Herp Vet.


Bearded Dragon Care Sheet

  • Bearded dragons should be housed alone.

  • Ages of bearded dragons follow these guidelines:

1. 0-3 months- baby
2. 3-12 months-juvenile
3. 12-18
months- sub adult
4. 18 months + -adult

  • Bearded dragons live as much as 10-12 years if well cared for
  • Bearded dragons have a very good temperament as long as they
    are cared for and handled.
  • When you bring your baby home, it may be quite stressful to
    him/her to get use to new home. May not eat well the first 2-3 days. They may
    not need to be handled the first 2-3 days if skittish and nervous.
  • Never use sand or any other type of loose substrate: Loose
    substrates can cause impaction (not being able to go Poop) in all ages of
    bearded dragons- they lick their environment to explore .It is difficult to keep
    germ free and clean. Ceramic tile, newspaper, non adhesive shelf liner and
    reptile carpet is what is most recommended. Use paper towels for the little one
    and as they get bigger you can change to something else.
  • Be sure you keep your beardies home as clean as you can. Clean
    up by spot cleaning when needed. Clean & sanitize entire tank every 10-14
    days. A good cleaning solution is a 20% bleach solution. If you choose to use
    wood climbing branches etc, these should be soaked in the bleach solution and
    rinsed well. Then bake in 250 degree oven for 30 minutes.
  • Need a climbing accessory: to bask and to warm up under basking
    heat light and lower branches or platforms to come down and cool off.
  • A hide of some sort like a cave.
  • A food dish and water dish.
  • Plastic spray bottle
  • Can use artificial plants when they get older- 3 months or so.

  • Digital thermostat and/or temp gun
  • Tank size: Minimal size tank for this age is 20 gallon long

  • Minimal size for older beardie: 4 months of age: 40 gallon
    breeder is the minimal tank size for older dragon. Can divide a 40 gallon
    breeder for a smaller dragon. Must have two lights for your beardie.

1. A UVB light source-best is 10.0 Reptisun that runs the length
of your tank. Your dragon must have this light to metabolize calcium. If not he
will get metabolic bone disease, a serious condition. You can also take your
beardie outside to bask in the sun for 15 minutes each day if your temps are 80
degrees or above outside. You can purchase cages or reptariums from your pet
store. Never leave a beardie outside unattended.
2. A basking type light
that puts out heat and warmth above basking spot. Your beardie must have warmth
to digest food & thrive.

  • Lights should be on for 12-14 hours each day. Follow the
    seasons and light timers are a great luxury if you can get them. 6 dollars at
    Lowe's. No lights or warmth needed at night unless your temperatures get below
    62 degrees. If they do, there are ceramic heat emitters that put out no light,
    only heat. Use these at night if temperatures fall below 62 degrees.

  • Temperatures have to be kept at the following ranges during the

Babies: Warm basking log: 105-125 degrees F
Cool side: 85-90

Adults: Warm basking spot: 110-115
Cool side: 80-85
temperatures with a digital probe type thermometer or a temp gun-these are most
accurate. Stick on thermometers unreliable.

  • Feeding a Beardie: Beardies eat live prey consisting of
    crickets, roaches and/or silkworms. Never feed any size of mice to your beardie.
    Never feed meal worms. They also must be given greens/veggies everyday. The
    younger they are the more live prey they should have. As they grow older the
    live prey decreases and the veggies/greens should be the major part of diet.
    Never feed anything bigger, than the space between your beardie's eyes. This
    includes both live prey and pieces of veggies/greens,
  • A chopper or food processor is a huge help when your beardie is
    small. Always offer greens and veggies: collard greens, turnip greens, mustard
    greens, cabbage, red cabbage, fresh green beans, yellow summer squash, butternut
    squash, sweet potato, cactus pad. Apricots, strawberries, apples, blueberries,
    raspberries, cantaloupe- fruits are treats only.
  • What is live prey? The easiest and less expensive live prey is
    crickets when you have a young or first beardie. The other live preys you can
    feed are silkworms, and special types of roaches. You can learn to raise your
    own live prey. Treats can be wax worms, super worms, and tomato/Goliath worms.
    You may find that ordering live prey from the internet is the way to go.....
    Never leave live prey or greens/veggies in tank overnight. . Crickets can bite
    your beardie when sleeping.
  • Babies should get 80% live prey, and 20 % greens/veggies. But
    since the greens/veggies are a must when they are older, get them eating their
    greens/veggies very early. Give greens/veggies in small pieces everyday. You
    should eventually start decreasing your older dragon's protein intake when they
    are about a year to 15 months old. Their protein intake decreases to 20 % live
    prey and 80% veggies/greens.
  • A baby eat 50-75 crix a day depending on the size of the
    crickets. Never feed crix or veggies bigger than the space between your
    beardie's eyes. Use this guide when buying crix or chopping your greens/veggies.

  • You must provide calcium dust without D3 and multivitamin dust
    for your beardie. You should dust the live prey with calcium one time a day, and
    vitamins 3 times a week. Just collect your live prey into baggie and add enough
    calcium and vitamin to dust them. Then pour a few at a time into your tank. Some
    people feed their beardie in a separate tank so that no crickets can hide. Or
    some take out "furniture" from tank and feed this way. As they get older, 4-5
    months or so dust live prey with calcium 3 times a week.
  • Feed the veggies/ greens 1st thing in morning after lights on
    for one hour at least. Then after 2-3 hours offer crix. Then freshen
    green/veggies. Then give more crix. Make sure after last crix feeding there is
    at least 1-2 hours of lights so that they can digest their food before night

*Beardies over the age of one year old during
the winter months will go into a Brumation like most Reptiles and Herps. It is a
form of Hibernation that is governed by the weather and time of year. The lights
should be on a shorter period at this time. Fresh greens should be available
during this period. Do not feed live prey during Brumation.

Water: Mist your little one with the spray bottle 3-4 times a
day. You can also offer a small dish of water in your enclosure but be sure your
dragon is not too small to drown in it. It is recommended that when your beardie
is 2 months old you can bathe your baby in a small plastic container with warm
water- not hot. It will help them to stay hydrated. As they get older you can
move up to the bathroom sink and then to the bathtub. Very important for bath
enclosure to be thoroughly cleaned and rinsed prior to bath time. Clean between
dragons too if bathing more than one.

If you have any further questions feel free to ask. I like to
start people off with proper husbandry and then see if I can further

fruits and Vegetables

Walnut shell Graphic:

sexing bearded Dragons:

Hi Rebecca, I'm just following up on our conversation about Lizzy. How is everything going? Joan
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