Are Bearded Dragons Nocturnal? – Irregular Sleeping Patterns & Illnesses
There are many reptiles that come alive at night, but are bearded dragons nocturnal. Bearded dragons are actually an exception to this rule. They’re a diurnal reptile, which means they roam and hunt during the day, and prefer to sleep at night.
For this reason bearded dragons have become a favourite choice for reptile lovers all over the world. Their day time hours should range between 10-13 hours of day light per day. This gives the owner plenty of time to admire their reptile throughout the day.
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During the night time hours, bearded dragons will sleep and rest in caves and crevasses and sometime even bury themselves beneath the sand to make them feel a little safer throughout the night. Being diurnal means bearded dragons are exposed to the dangers of the night. Many reptiles will hunt at night, as sleeping diurnal animals are easy pickings when sleeping. So finding a safe environment to sleep is critical to their safety.
That said, bearded dragons are most commonly prey for other diurnal animals such as Goannas, Dingoes and Birds of prey. Being fully alert through the day time hours mean they can not really relax until the sun goes down. Unfortunately for bearded dragons, unlike most other lizards, they can not detach their tails when they need to escape from preditors.
In the mornings they like to drink the dew droplets from plants and vegetation as a means to hydrate. Once hydrated they will seek the perfect basking spot. They need to warm themselves from the cold night to reach optimal hunting temperature. They can not self regulate their body temperature, so they have to rely on the heat of the day to warm thoroughly.
Males are extremely territorial. Throughout the day, when they are not basking or hunting for food, they will spend their time defending their territory. Male bearded dragons are fierce and will rarely back down to an opposing male. You may see the kind of behaviour in your enclosure if you have two males living together. If so, then it’s best you split them into two different enclosures.
The Correct Set-up For Your Nocturnal Enclosure
One of the main aspects new bearded dragon owner forget about is day light time. What I mean by this is, the number of day light hours each day inside the enclosure. Many people assume it’s alright to switch their bearded dragons lights off when they go to bed, and on again when they wake up.
Well, it’s not!
Bearded dragon owners should always have their enclosure lighting on a timer, which will then automatically turn them on and off at certain times. Many owners may feel that it’s more expense, and that turning them on and off manually will be fine. But this really isn’t the case.
Sometimes unexpected factors can arise from day to day. For example, what if it’s your day off and you’d like a lay in. Those extra two hours means your bearded dragon will be awake when it’s still dark. Or you want to stay out a little longer for an extra drink with friends. When you come home, you find your bearded dragon is asleep with the light on.
All these little factors can cause your bearded dragon a lot of stress and discomfort. Being awake when the lights are off means they are unable to raise their body temperatures. Bearded dragon can not self regulate their body temperatures like humans can, and rely on heat sources to be able to function. Being cold means they will become less active and can cause a lack or loss of appetite.
Stress is the number one reason pet bearded dragon become unwell. Stress can be caused by a number of factors which can al lead to illnesses and sometimes even death.
Hour Many Hours Should a Bearded Dragon Sleep?
Are bearded dragons nocturnal? Night time hours should vary from 10-11 hours throughout the summer periods. Compared to the winter periods when night time hours should range between 13-14 hours.
Replicating this for a pet bearded dragon will give them a natural living pattern. Bearded dragons brumate through the winter period, so these longer nights will activate their natural instincts to start the brumation process.
From about September time, every month you can change the timer to switch on 15 minutes later and turn off 15 minutes earlier. This should last up until February time, where you should have no more than 10 hours of light a day inside the enclosure.
From the end of February you can start to reverse this pattern. Turning the lights on 15 minutes earlier and turning them off 15 minutes later. This can be continued up until June, where at this point you should have 13-14 hours of day light inside the enclosure. From this stage the timer can stay the same until September, where you’ll start to reduce the day time light hours once again.
What If Your Bearded Dragon Is Sleeping During The Day?
This is a question we hear time and time again, so let me try and clear this one up for you. Bearded dragons are commonly very active. Both in the wild and as captive pets. People sometimes think that bearded dragons are lazy because all they do is bask all day. Well this isn’t actually true.
If your bearded dragon seems to be sleeping, or basking all day, with a lack of energy, it can be for a number of different reasons. Behaviour like this is very unnatural and could be affected by factors such as; Temperature, Lighting and Diet.
If the temperature inside the enclosure is too cold then your bearded dragon will become very docile. Like I have said before, bearded dragons can not self regulate their body temperatures. This means they need to warm their bodies in the morning before going about their daily business. If you find the temperature inside the enclosure isn’t as high as it should be, then this could well be the reason for your dragons lack of energy. Heat lamps don’t last for ever. Sometimes it can be a simple change in lamp that will fix the problem, so check this every month to make sure it’s still in working use. The light make still be on, but the heat might not be coming through.
Bearded dragons need UVB throughout the day. I would recommend getting a UVB light from a reptile store specifically. Many commercial UVB lights don’t actually give off as much UVB as they say they do. So commonly they do not have a strong enough output for a bearded dragon. The UVB light should be located centrally inside the enclosure so it’s emitting equally through the whole enclosure.
If you feel that both the above factors are fine, and at optimal levels then the problem could stem from their diet. You may be feeding your bearded dragon incorrectly. Or the incorrect ratio between protein prey and vegetables and plantations.
Feeding a bearded dragon will seem easy. However there are many factors which will cause your dragon to become lethargic. Factors such as over feeding your dragon and using the wrong supplements can result in bloating. This discomfort will massively reduce your dragons energetic mentality causing them too slow.
This ratio should be followed for a healthy diet.
Because of a juveniles growth rate, it is thought that a ratio of 60% insect protein, and 40% vegetables for a peak balance in diet. Once adulthood is reached after 2 years, you can increase this to 80% insect protein, and 20% vegetables.
If all of these factors have been considered and thoroughly looked into and your bearded dragon still doesn’t seem to be moving much, they may have an illness. At this stage I would recommend speaking to a reptile specialist, or taking a trip to your local veterinarian for professional advise.
So To Conclude, Are Bearded Dragons Nocturnal?
Are bearded dragons nocturnal.. No, bearded dragons are not nocturnal and they love the light. Without it, bearded dragon would not be able to survive and is critical to their wellbeing. Correct enclosure set up must be implemented before introducing your new pet bearded dragon into its new home.
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