Interesting Facts About The Bearded Dragon Brumation

If you have a bearded dragon as a pet, you have noticed some changes in its behavior as winter comes. Some reptile owners are unaware of this behavior of their pets. They might consider if their pet is sick. But it is not that, your pet suffers from a condition named “brumation.” What bearded dragon brumation is and why your bearded dragon is suffering from this condition?

In this post, we will learn about everything related to bearded dragons’ brumation. From understanding the signs that your bearded dragon is preparing for brumation to tips on how to support them through this period, we have got you covered.

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What is Brumation?

Brumation is a natural process we can observe in reptiles, including bearded dragons. This is observed especially in colder months. Like hibernation but not as deep, brumation is a period of reduced activity and metabolism in bearded dragons.

It is like a long nap where reptiles save energy to survive the winter. During brumation, bearded dragons’ heartbeat drops, eat less, sleep more, and become less active.

Their body temperature drops slightly, and they seek out warmer spots to rest. The normal body temperature of a bearded dragon is 35-39C, which drops in this condition. While it seems alarming, brumation is a normal behavior for many reptiles and is crucial for their survival in the wild.

Why Do Bearded Dragons Brumate?

Bearded dragons brumate primarily as a survival strategy to cope with the colder temperatures and for different reasons.

Following are the reasons why bearded dragons brumate in short points:

  1. Survival: Brumation helps them conserve energy during colder months when food is scarce.
  2. Temperature Regulation: It allows them to adjust their metabolism to cope with lower temperatures.
  3. Avoiding Predators: Reduced activity helps them avoid predators when they’re less active and vulnerable.
  4. Reproductive Regulation: Brumation plays a role in regulating hormones and preparing for mating in the spring.
  5. Natural Adaptation: Brumation is a natural behavior that evolved to help bearded dragons survive and thrive in their environment.

How Often Does Bearded Dragon Brumation Occur?

Bearded dragons typically brumate once a year, usually during the colder months when temperatures drop.

The frequency and duration of brumation vary depending on factors like

  • Age
  • Health
  • Environment
  • Individual differences

Adult bearded dragons are more likely to brumate than juveniles or hatchlings.

Younger dragons do not brumate in their first year or have shorter brumation periods. As they mature, they tend to exhibit more regular brumation patterns.

At What Age Do Bearded Dragons Brumate?

Most bearded dragons start to show signs of brumation as they reach adulthood, typically around 1 to 2 years old. This can vary among individuals, and some dragons start brumating earlier or later.

It is important to monitor your dragon’s behavior and provide appropriate care and support during brumation to ensure they remain healthy and safe throughout the process.

What are the Signs Of Bearded Dragon Brumation?

To know if your bearded dragon is brumating you have to look for the following signs.

1. Decreased Appetite

One of the earliest signs of brumation is a significant decrease in appetite. Your bearded dragon eats less or refuses food altogether.

2. Reduced Activity

As they prepare for brumation, bearded dragons become increasingly lethargic and less active than usual. They spend more time resting and sleeping.

3. Seeking Warmth

Bearded dragons might seek out warmer spots in their enclosure, such as basking areas or heat sources, as they attempt to regulate their body temperature.

4. Changes in Color

Some dragons exhibit changes in coloration, appearing duller or darker than usual. This is often accompanied by a decrease in skin shedding.

5. Digging Behavior

Before entering brumation, bearded dragons exhibit digging behavior, trying to burrow themselves into the substrate or find a comfortable spot to rest.

6. Altered Sleep Patterns

You might notice changes in your dragon’s sleep patterns, with longer periods of rest or increased time spent sleeping during the day.

7. Weight Loss

Due to reduced food intake and metabolic slowdown, bearded dragons experience some weight loss during brumation.

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How to Care For A Beardie Going Into Brumation?

Caring for a bearded dragon going into, during, and coming out of brumation is essential to ensure their health and well-being. Here’s a guide to each stage:

1. Starting Brumation

Monitor Behavior: Keep an eye out for signs of brumation, such as decreased appetite, reduced activity, and seeking warmth. These indicate your dragon is preparing to enter brumation.

Provide a Suitable Environment: Ensure your dragon’s enclosure is set up with appropriate temperatures and lighting to support their natural behaviors during brumation. Provide a suitable lifestyle for your pet.

Offer Last Meal: Before brumation, offer a final meal rich in nutrients to help sustain them during the dormant period. Give them wholesome food to meet their nutrient needs. For this, you need to have a complete diet chart showing which food is best for your pet.

2. During Brumation

Maintain Temperature: Keep the ambient temperature in the enclosure stable to prevent fluctuations that could disrupt their brumation.

Provide Water: Although they do not drink much, ensure fresh water is always available to prevent dehydration.

Minimize Disturbances: Avoid handling or disturbing your dragon as much as possible to allow them to rest undisturbed.

Monitor Health: Regularly check on your dragon’s condition, ensuring they maintain a healthy weight and appearance.

3. Ending Brumation

Gradual Warming: As signs of brumation end, gradually increase temperatures in the enclosure to simulate the return of spring.

Offer Food: Introduce small, easily digestible meals to your dragon as they becomes more active and interested in eating.

Provide UVB Lighting: Resume normal lighting cycles, including UVB exposure, to support their digestion and overall health.

4. After Brumation

Observation: Monitor your dragon closely for any signs of illness or abnormal behavior as they transition back to their normal routine.

Resume Normal Care: Go back to your dragon’s usual eating, handling, and cleaning, so it would complete its recovery from brumation.

Vet Check-Up: Try making an appointment for a routine visit with a reptile veterinarian in order to doctor your dragon and address any problems that have occurred post-brumation.

These tips should be followed for your bearded dragon to get through brumation securely and calmly. It is also possible to handle their brumation with special lights.

Where Does a Bearded Dragon Brumate?

Bearded dragons select different locations to brumate in which will be based on the environment and available options.

In Wild

In the wild, they would try to find covered burrows, rock crevices, or sheltered areas to brumate.

In Captivity

In captivity, they often look for places like caves, tunnels, or vegetative bushes to hide in. These are the amenities a captive animal might choose. Some can dig and burrow into the sand or soil substrates, whereas others prefer higher platforms or hides.

You should supply several hiding places and substrate options to make the environment for them as close as possible to a natural one and allow them to pick the preferred brumation area on their own. Ensure that these areas are safe, clean, and insulated to have stable temperature zones for the whole period of brumation. Check on your dragon frequently to make sure that they are brumating properly and try to provide them conditions that will help them brumate.

How Long Does Brumation Last?

The duration of brumation also differs between individual bearded dragons and it depends on their characteristics and influences of other factors, such as age, health, and environmental conditions. Normally, brumation could be 2 – 3 weeks or even several months.

Some bearded dragons experience shorter brumation durations, for instance, juveniles or those going through their first hibernation period, taking about several weeks. During this time, hibernation is not always the same for all age groups, particularly females who get ready for breeding. Generally, females usually brumate for several months during the cold season, which is winter.

Attentively monitor your baby’s activity and health as brumating sets in. It could be a more typical situation for them to be less active and eat less at this time. However significant weight loss, persistent lethargy, etc. might indicate some health concerns. If you are unsure about the period or intensity in which your bearded dragon brumated, seek assistance from a reptile veterinarian who can give you advice that befits the unique circumstances of your dragon.

Is My Bearded Dragon Dead or Brumating?

The bearded dragon is dead or brumating is perplexing due to the similarities in behavior between the two states. To know the situation, carefully observe several indicators.

  1. Firstly, check for signs of breathing by observing the chest area for any movement; the absence of breathing could suggest death. During brumation, breathing slows down significantly but should still be noticeable.
  2. Secondly, consider the temperature of the environment; if it’s cooler than usual, brumation is more likely.
  3. Thirdly, assess the activity level; while bearded dragons are typically inactive during brumation, they should still respond to stimuli. A lack of response could indicate a problem.,

Note any changes in color, as bearded dragons become paler during brumation. Lastly, consider the duration of inactivity; if it has been several weeks to a few months and other signs align with brumation, it’s probable. If uncertain, seeking guidance from a reptile veterinarian is advisable for a professional assessment and appropriate action.

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Do I need to leave on the heating and UV during brumation?

Yes, to maintain stable temperatures and provide UVB lighting during brumation to support your bearded dragon’s health.

Can I feed my dragon during brumation?

Some of the dragons have really low feeding rates during the process of hibernation, but it’s still better to avoid giving them any food to prevent some digestive problems.

Should my bearded dragon lose weight when brumating?

A little weight loss is often normal for bearded dragons during brumation because they tend to become less active and hence their metabolism goes down.

Can I force my bearded dragon to go into brumation?

No, it is not right to artificially force brumation on your bearded dragon as the natural process is initiated by the cues from the environment.

Will my bearded dragon hibernate?

Bearded dragons do not go through the hibernation cycle as some other animals do; rather they are a brumation type where the dragons experience a period of decreased activity.

The Bottom Line

If you’ve noticed your bearded dragon showing the signs of brumation, don’t panic! Instead, you choose to use the mentioned guidelines to help them through a part of life that is natural. Achieve this by keeping stable temperatures, offering suitable hiding places, and moving the food and water source often during this time.

Are you considering including some multilevel options in the dragon’s habitat? Share your reptile stories with other reptile fans! Thereby, all the dragons differ so much from the others, meaning the individual approach with the best way to each of them is such a must.

Olivia Eva

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