Can I take my bearded dragon outside?

Can I take my bearded dragon outside, a question we hear often. Yes you can, but here’s some important tips to keep them safe

Can I Take My Bearded Dragon Outside

4 Things To Bear In Mind To Keep Them Safe

Can I Take My Bearded Dragon Outside?

A common question we hear is ‘can I take my bearded dragon outside and is it safe to do so’? The answer to both these questions is yes, you can take your bearded dragon outside. It’s generally safe to do so, although much will depend on where you live and the time of year.

It’s good to take your bearded dragon outside as this will give your dragon some natural UV rays from the sun. Taking your bearded dragon outside will also provide them with additional stimulation and exercise.

Before taking your bearded dragon outside, there are two important factors which need consideration. First is the Climate where you live and the daily temperature. Second is the Environment. The same considerations applies for any other lizard or snake you may have.

Bearded Dragons Outside Dinner Party
Our rescued Bearded Dragon Billy and Ruby Having an Outside Dinner Party
image: copyright 2023

Climate and Outside Temperature

The climate in which you live should be the biggest factor when deciding on taking your bearded dragon outside or not. For the colder, wetter climates temperatures often will not get warm enough to take your bearded dragon outside. However, the arid, desert and tropical regions will not have a problem with temperatures being warm enough. Although it can become too hot, so you will need to provide shade for them to retreat to or move them somewhere cooler.

For those who live in a temperate climate where the weather is extremely changeable and have distinct seasons. The winter months will generally be too cold but late spring through to early autumn will reach some good temperatures even in the UK on occasions.

Its important to have an outside thermometer so you can keep an eye of of the temperature for where your bearded dragon is this is because of Micro-climates. Micro climates are small areas in which the temperature is greater than the surrounding area. For example an enclosed or sheltered area can become a sun trap generating temperatures up to 11f / 6 degrees higher than the surrounding area.

Where ever you live you should be guided by the temperatures on the day.


First you will need to make the environment safe for your bearded dragon or other reptile. You don’t just open the door and let your bearded dragon wander off outside and hope thy come back when they are hungry!

So what can you do to make the outside environment safe and secure for your bearded dragon?

You will want to make the environment as safe as practically possible. Make sure the area that your bearded dragon will be in is free from debris and rubbish, including sharp objects, broken glass, exposed nails etc. Check that there are no holes or burrows that they could get stuck in or they can use as an escape route.

You will also need to provide them with somewhere to hide as they may feel vulnerable and threatened when outside. The hide can also provide them somewhere to keep cool if its too hot. Just the same as what you provide them in their vivarium.

The same principles will apply to other reptiles you have, for example iguanas and monitors.

Not all bearded dragons enjoy going outside, it can be a stressful event for some so it is important to spot the sign of stress. For example, we have a bearded dragon who freezes when he goes outside. His head and tail stays down and his beard goes black. He hates it! But as soon as we take him back inside hes instantly a different dragon. Hes up on all fours, tail is high, head is high, his bearded is no longer black and he’s no longer stressed. Hes running around, interested in his surroundings and showing us who’s boss (who he thinks is boss) with a cheeky head bob.

The threat of predators can also stress your bearded dragon…


When it comes to predators a lot will depend on where you live. Many countries will have wild snakes other reptiles and predatory mammals and they will not think twice about feasting on your beardie. Even domesticated cats and dogs will pose a threat, not to mention predatory birds flying over head. If predators are a worry don’t leave them unattended not even for a short time. Use a covered or enclosed outdoor run with a lid, as this will minimize predator attacks.

Parasites and Ticks

Another thing to be aware of are ticks and parasites. Taking your bearded dragon outside increases the risk of exposure to parasites. This is mainly because bearded dragons check out their environment with their tongues. Increasing the risk of ingesting something they shouldn’t. Do not let this deter you from taking your beaded dragon outside. If you are worried a fecal check will help to identify any issues with parasite. Deworming may be required.

Ticks and mites can be picked up from outside, they are easily transferred from one bearded dragon to another. Ticks and mites can be seen moving between the scales and fold of skin. Treatment will require anti parasitic medication either applied to the skin or orally – be advised by your vet. After treatment the vivarium will also require a thorough disinfection to prevent re-infestation.

Poisonous Plants And Insects

It’s difficult to predict which plants or indeed insects your bearded dragon may come across and actually eat whilst enjoying their time outside. The vast majority of them will be completely harmless to them. But some are toxic to bearded dragons and can lead to significant discomfort, harm or even death.

So before asking if you can take your bearded dragon outside, it may be worth considering what you can I do if he/she eats something poisonous?

Firstly, make sure you have your exotic vet’s number available and handy. Whilst the internet is a fantastic resource for finding information it doesn’t always come back with the correct results. So when trying to find out whether that bug your beardie just ate is harmless or not, a Vet will always be a more reliable source for this.

If you think your beardie has eaten something that may be toxic to them, you should give them the recommended dose of Activated Charcoal as soon as possible. Activated charcoal is given to humans in cases of poisoning to help absorb the poisons and slow down the effects. The activated charcoal may buy you enough time to find out if that bug is poisonous and get to veterinary help if you need it.

You can buy activated charcoal from who also go into detail about the dosage required.

Reptile Leads, Leashes and Harnesses

Leads and harnesses have for a while now been used to securely take out the larger lizards such as the monitors and iguanas. Harnesses are now becoming a popular choice among bearded dragons owners.

Old Man With Bearded Dragons Outside On A Leash
Bearded Dragons on harness and leads
Picture: Open Source

Theses are good if you have an open space and want to walk or sit with your bearded dragon, allowing them freedom to roam around without them running off or hiding away.

They are relatively inexpensive. Leads for bearded dragons are available in various colors and designs some even come with wings! Harnesses come in a range of sizes too so you will need to roughly measure your reptile before ordering.

The harnesses are simple in design yet effective. Made up from a small piece of material with two holes cut out. This is placed on the underside of the reptile and the front leg put through the holes. It is secured on the back with a drawstring fastening bead. The lead can be attached to the back fastening loop if it hasn’t already been prefixed.

Leads leashes and harnesses for you bearded dragons are sold on Amazon, eBay, and pet stores.

If you don’t think that a lead is a good option for you and your beardie, or you are worried about opportunist predators. An outdoor enclosure of some kind might be worth considering……….

Outdoor Enclosures Suitable For a Bearded Dragon

When it comes to outdoor enclosure you have two options….Buy one or make your own.


What should you buy as an outdoor enclosure for your bearded dragon?

Have you found when doing an internet search for outdoors reptile enclosures the options are limited? Often the results you get are suited to tortoises which aren’t ideal for bearded dragons or any other larger lizard you may want an outdoor enclosure for.

Our best tip is when buying its a good idea to think laterally or outside the box, not only will this give you more options but most importantly save you money!!


As mentioned enclosures for bearded dragons (or any lizard) are limited in choice. So our advice is to search instead for a more conventional pets outdoor run. Do a search for small animal run or outdoor enclosure and your options will widen. Rabbit, guinea pig or rat runs for example are all ideal for bearded dragons and there is plenty of choice in design and style. And because rabbits and guinea pigs are main stream pets accessories are often much cheaper.


If you like the idea of recycling and you don’t mind using something that has been pre-loved. Buying a used enclosure will save you money or may even be free. Again search for small animal runs, rabbit or guinea pig runs/enclosures, chicken coops etc.

When buying used and pre-owned the condition will vary as will the price. Before buying used items give them a good check over making sure that the run will be fit for purpose.

What to look for

  • Check the gaps both vertical and horizontally are small enough so your lizard cannot escape through the gaps.
  • Check for holes or rotten areas, any broken wires or rusty areas.
  • If you find that it has defects that need fixing before use; only buy if your sure you can fix them. You will be wasting your hard earned cash on something not fit for purpose!

Another alternative for use as an outdoor reptile enclosure are animal play pens. Many can be collapsed for easy storage when not in use. Also available in various size aimed for a variety of animals from rabbits to large dogs. Most pens are made from either galvanized steel or polypropylene (which is a durable, rigid plastic).

Animal play pens

Standard style metal play pen

Play Pen
Folding Pet Enclosure

Pros: These are portable, much cheaper and simpler in design than than the runs. They are durable, made up of galvanized steel railings and crossbars. They fold down flat when not in use.

Cons: The fact that they are available in a variety of sizes can prove problematic. It is extremely important to check the distance of the railings and crossbar gaps. They will need to be narrow enough to not allow your bearded dragon to escape. They don’t always come with a lid or top cover which will be needed if predators are a concern or if your bearded dragon loves to climb. This is easily remedied by fixing some netting over the top some pens are available with a top cover.

For purchasing options, try folding pet enclosure at Amazon.

Verdict: I personally would not choose to this option I feel the animal play pen would provide more problems than it would solve.

Polypropylene Interlocking Animal Play Pen

Pros: Portable and adjustable, These are great and can be added to and built to your needs. Due to the sides being smooth your lizard will be unable to climb out.

Cons: The only concern I would have if its made too small the material could turn your dragons play pen in to a sweat box. Again there is no top protection, you could always use some of the panels to make a partial roof and the rest cover as necessary with netting. See interlocking play system at Amazon for some purchasing options and pricing.

Verdict: I think these are a better alternative that the metal play pen, mainly because of the escape issue. These are easy and fun to put together. The larger sizes would be preferable this would allow better air circulation, although the bigger sizes would be more expensive. You can save on panels by not using them as a floor base.

These locking systems are also available as wire squares which work in exactly the same way but will allow for much better ventilation.

Outdoor Enclosure / Run

There are many options available to you especially if you do a search for small animal runs such as rabbit, guinea pig, chinchilla and even chicken runs!

Example of styles available:

Collapsible/ Foldable

These are great for several reasons, They are space saving – and can be folded down and stored away when not being used.

The ability to fold makes it portable. Easy to use inside and well as outside and great if you like to take your little buddy on vacation. Fold it up and away you go!!

It has a top cover.

Single level

There are many different styles and sizes available to buy. The picture shows an enclosure for intended use as a chicken coop but is in fact ideal for out door use for a bearded dragon or similar sized reptiles.

Multi Level

Verdict: I think that any of theses outdoor runs intended for smaller animals are great, they are available in different style and sizes and multi level. To buy new prices can vary considerably. There is definitely something for every budget. The important thing to remember the gaps between the wires are small enough to keep beardie in and predators out!

Smaller Enclosures / Cages

If you live somewhere that doesn’t have a lot of outside space or the space you have is not safe enough (for example you live in a flat / apartment with a balcony) then it may not be practical use the other options mentioned. Don’t let that put you off taking your bearded dragon outside. There is an alternative….

This is where the smaller options come in, although your bearded dragon wont have the space to explore they will however get the benefits of being outside in the natural sunlight.

Again as for the other enclosures don’t search reptiles instead search small animals. In particular indoor rabbit hutch, hamster, rat, guinea pig or gerbil cage.

A smaller cage like these also have other benefits and uses. These work well if you bearded dragon is afraid of being outside. They are portable and have a deep bottom and a wire top. The bottom of these cages can be used to bathe your lizard in. They make excellent transport vessels if you need to take your scaly buddy to the vet for example or somewhere safe to keep them while your cleaning out the vivarium.

Bearded Dragon Outside
Our Bearded Dragon Outside in a Hamster Cage

Make your own Bearded Dragon Outdoor Enclosure

If you are DIY inclined , enjoy a project and / or (the best bit) want to save money then make your own.

Making your own enclosure is not necessarily the cheapest option especially if you need to buy all the tools and materials. If you already have the tools and materials making your own outdoor lizard run / enclosure will only cost you your time.

Things to consider before construction.

  • Decide what type, shape and length of run you want
  • Decide if you want fixed or collapsible/ foldable
  • If predators are a concern you will need to make a lid. Having a lid will also prevent your bearded dragon from climbing out.

What will I need to make an outdoor run for my bearded dragon?

  • Wooden panels
  • Beading optional
  • Chicken wire or similar
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Wood tacks
  • Hinges optional
  • Hammer
  • Saw and tape measure if wood not already pre-cut

How to custom make your own bearded dragon outdoor enclosure video coming soon………

Can bearded dragons go outside video

In the meantime, here’s a short little video of our Bearded Dragons Rubin and Billy having a wander outside – though they’re not in enclosure since we’re sitting out with them enjoying the sun.

Rubin and Billy enjoy some summer sun outside