What are heat rocks for bearded dragons? Nowadays, many reptile rock manufacturers have been marketing different designs of heat rocks, but most keepers have no idea what heat rocks are.
We all know that heat rocks mainly rely on heat for several bodily functions, including regulation metabolism, shedding, and digesting. Having said that, we need to provide heat sources for our bearded dragons, such as heat pads, heat rocks, and specialized lamps. However, the most controversial item among these products is heat rock.
Over the years, many bearded dragon owners have purchased a heat rock for their pets. Unfortunately, it caused burns to some reptiles and became too hot to touch, making it dangerous for bearded dragons whenever they contact this heat source.
While many improvements and upgrades have been made, heat rocks are still not the safest and most recommended artificial heat source for our bearded dragons. Although heat rocks can supply proper heat to our little pets’ enclosures, the risk of getting burned is extremely dangerous.
For today’s topic, we will primarily focus on heat rocks for bearded dragons, how long they last, and some pros and cons of the said item.
What Are Heat Rocks?
Since bearded dragons’ native habitat is Australia’s semi-arid grasslands and desert, we should remember that these cute little reptiles are ectothermic, meaning they mostly rely on the sun for body heat. Nevertheless, they also need to move somewhere cooler to regulate their body heat when it gets too hot. It is essential to provide our bearded dragons with the proper heat gradients in their enclosures in captivity. This way, these reptiles will know which part is warm or which part is cool.
So, if you have a bearded dragon, make sure to understand all artificial heat sources to know which one is the safest for your pet. Remember all it takes to nail the best bearded dragon’s tank with the correct light and heat to make your beardie happy and comfortable with his new house.
Now, what is a heat rock? A heated rock is specifically designed for cold-blooded animals like bearded dragons to help regulate their body temperature. Because of its constant heat, many dragons love resting near it. But keep in mind that this heat source can get extremely hot and cause severe burns among its users.
If you want to mimic a bearded dragon’s habitat, you must ensure that the tank has a heat gradient with full-spectrum (UVA and UVB). Ideally, your light source should illuminate the entire enclosure.
Are Heat Rocks for Bearded Dragons Safe?
As mentioned earlier, bearded dragons can thrive in a desert-like environment. Therefore they need warmer shelters than other animals. Generally, your little pet will need a basking lamp where he or she can increase the body temperature. Based on our research, the recommended temperature for basking is at least 95 degrees Fahrenheit for adults and 100 degrees Fahrenheit for juveniles.
So, if you plan to add heat sources to your little reptile’s tank, you may be thinking – are heat rocks safe? Well, we encourage bearded dragon owners to avoid using heat rocks because they can easily burn. Instead, we recommend other alternatives, such as:
- Ceramic light
- Reptile basking lamp
- Household light bulb
Besides that, you need to monitor the enclosure’s temperature from time to time. Hence, you will need an accurate thermometer to ensure that your bearded dragon’s tank is not too hot or cold. If you have some extra bucks, you can place two thermometers in one tank – one for the cooler part and the other for the warmer part.
Even if you place a heat rock in your pet’s enclosure, it will still not be sufficient for him. So, we highly recommend you install heat lamps instead to create a thermal gradient. Besides that, it can allow your cute pet to have a cooler area to go in the enclosure.
If you don’t know yet, heat rocks are one of the worst heat sources for bearded dragons because many lizards get burned bellies and legs. Some of them experienced severe and even led to death. Another bad thing is its temperature is not specifically regulated for bearded dragons, meaning it can reach very hot temperatures.
If you want to supply heat underneath the terrarium, we suggest using an under-tank heat pad instead. This product is proven safe to use because our bearded dragons do not have direct contact with it.
Use Appropriate and Safe Heat Lamps for Bearded Dragons
Supplying safe and high-quality heat is crucial for a bearded dragon’s health. Thus, we need to make sure that we are using the correct heat lights and watts for the size of our pets’ terrarium. Obviously, it would be best not to use a 150-watt heat lamp for a 20-gallon terrarium. That’s too much because the heat lamp is very strong for the tank’s size.
Pro Tip: If you look for beardie furniture, look at this hide hole for bearded dragon.
Also, the bulbs will be very close to the bearded dragons, which can cause mild burns. If you have no idea which bulb size best fits your bearded dragons’ tank, you can consult your veterinarian.
In installing any heat lights, make sure to inspect and look for any faulty wiring. With so many electrical devices needed to keep bearded dragons happy and healthy, we understand that shorted wire can happen anytime. So, please make sure that all heat lights are working properly without defects before using them. If you don’t know, shorted writes can easily burn and shock you and your bearded dragon.
Never use defective or damaged heating equipment. Instead, repair or replace the defective parts first before installing. We can guarantee that you can build a safer environment for yourself and your pet with these tricks.
Pro Tip: Best daytime light here.
5 Pros and Cons of Heat Rocks for Bearded Dragons
We have received tons of queries and concerns regarding using heat rocks for reptiles like bearded dragons. Well, using heat rocks requires too much attention because it cannot regulate its temperature. Since these products are rising again, we decided to give you all the pros and cons of heat rocks for bearded dragons.
- Helps in digestion and regulation of metabolism levels
- Increases daytime and nighttime temperatures
- Acts as a strong heat source in extremely cold environments
- Allows reptiles to move on and off the heat source conveniently
- Provides a warm resting spot
- Tends to overheat in small enclosures
- Difficult to regulate the temperature
- Has an extreme hot spot on the heat rock itself
- Hazardous for bearded dragons that require lower body heat
- Can cause dehydration, open sores, burns, and even death
Although the desert environment has heat rocks, they are not safe for bearded dragons to bask in. It is not the best alternative to basking lights, too. Although heat rocks can help metabolism, indigestion, and absorption of vitamins, their extreme heat can be hazardous to your pet’s life.
We understand that bearded dragons would not be happy in an empty tank, so getting some accessories like rocks and branches can be an excellent idea. However, using a heat rock for bearded dragons is not worth the risk. If you insist on using it, then cut the cord off and use it as a basking rock under a ceramic light. Please do not use heat rocks even at night to keep your beardie safe from any injuries.