Are you wondering when your bearded dragon might decide to hit the snooze button and go into brumation? Don’t worry; it’s not because they’re feeling lazy! In fact, this natural process is a crucial part of their survival. So, when do bearded dragons brumate? Let’s dive into the fascinating world of these sleepy reptiles and find out!
Bearded dragons are ectothermic; they derive their heat from the environment. When days are short with low light levels, bearded dragons lack the heat required for proper food digestion. Bearded dragons brumate to preserve energy until spring.
Reptiles brumate during winter, unlike mammals who hibernate. This article will examine brumating bearded dragons, signs of brumation, and how to care for a bearded dragon.
When Do Bearded Dragons Brumate?
Bearded dragons usually start to brumate in late fall or early winter, when the temperatures begin to drop. The specific timing can vary depending on the individual dragon and the conditions in their environment.
Some may start brumating as early as October, while others may not until December or January. It’s important to closely monitor your dragon’s behavior and adjust its care as needed during this rest period.
What Is The Difference Between Brumation And Hibernation?
Brumation and hibernation are both states of reduced activity and metabolism that help animals survive unfavorable environmental conditions, but they are different processes that occur in different types of animals.
Hibernation is a process that occurs in some mammals, such as bears and groundhogs, during winter when food is scarce, and temperatures are low. During hibernation, the animal’s body temperature drops significantly, and its metabolic rate slows down, allowing it to conserve energy. The animal may sleep for long periods without eating or drinking, relying on stored fat reserves to survive until spring.
Brumation, on the other hand, is a process that occurs in some reptiles, such as bearded dragons and turtles, during periods of unfavorable environmental conditions, such as cold temperatures or drought. During brumation, the animal’s metabolic rate slows, and it may sleep for long periods, but its body temperature remains relatively stable. The animal may also reduce food intake or stop eating altogether, relying on stored energy reserves to survive until conditions improve.
In summary, hibernation is a process that occurs in some mammals during winter when food is scarce and temperatures are low. At the same time, brumation is a process that occurs in some reptiles during periods of unfavorable environmental conditions, such as cold temperatures or drought.
What Are the Commons Signs of Brumation?
Most pet and wild bearded dragons show similar brumation signs. However, do not confuse brumation with the usual pet illnesses. For example, a slowdown in action for your pet should be taken as a red flag.
Brumation for dragons helps them survive the extreme cold season. Here are obvious signs that show your bearded dragon is in brumation.
Signs of Brumation vs. Signs of Illness
This table could show the differences between the signs of brumation and the signs of illness in bearded dragons.
|Signs of Brumation||Signs of Illness|
|Reduced reaction to stimuli||Lethargy or weakness|
|Avoiding direct light||Limp or weak limbs|
|Loss of appetite||Diarrhea or constipation|
|Feeling colder to the touch||Visible signs of injury or pain|
|Less active||Labored breathing or wheezing|
Reduced Reaction to Stimuli
The bearded dragon will react less to your attention. In most cases, it will not respond at all. Most experts will advise people to give a brumating dragon some privacy. Help it relax and feel secure by leaving it alone. You can provide water and food without touching it or interrupting its sleep.
Avoiding Direct Light
Bearded dragons spend less time in direct light during brumation. Special hideouts give it some sense of security and privacy. Most of them dislike snooping during brumation. So, they prefer a safe and hidden place to sleep.
Temperature and Lighting Guidelines for Bearded Dragons During Brumation
This chart could show the recommended temperature and lighting levels for bearded dragons during brumation.
|Daytime: 68-75°F||12 hours of low-wattage white light|
|Nighttime: 60-65°F||No UVB light|
Loss of Appetite
A bearded dragon develops a loss of appetite when brumating. Before brumation, they consume a lot of food. Hence, reserved nutrients and fat keep them going until the end of the cold period.
There is also a reduced intake of water while in a hideout. Any healthy bearded dragon of adult age can last a few weeks without drinking water. Brumation is stressful and long for most reptiles; hence, they refuse to consume anything.
Feeling Colder to Touch
Your bearded dragon will look sick and cold on its surface. The temperatures drop during the night; hence, brumating dragons will feel cold most mornings.
The bearded dragon will feel lazy. Most people reduce their activities during low temperatures, and so do reptiles and animals. Therefore, it is regular for dragons to go slow when they lack proper heat.
It is okay for them to spend a lot of time sleeping. Instead of being active during daylight, dragons will sleep to conserve energy to last the brumation period. The sleep can last for weeks or even four months in their favorite hideout spot.
Mammals hibernate, while reptiles brumate. Bearded dragons show similar symptoms to bears during hibernation; they reduce their body functions and slow movements. Brumation helps to preserve adequate energy for survival during prolonged cold weather.
Caring for a Brumating Bearded Dragon
Start preparing the perfect site after noticing the above standard symptoms as a pet owner.
However, ensure it is fall or winter before acting on different conditions but with a similar reaction.
The following are healthy and proper guidelines for caring for your pet during this demanding period.
Visit a Veterinary
Take your reptile to an experienced veterinary doctor to clear any pests or test fecal matter. During brumation, most bearded dragon deaths can occur because of bloodsuckers.
Some of the above warning signs are signs of parasites in your dragon.
Besides that, most brumating signs in bearded dragons are signs of illness.
Give the Reptile Space
Allow the reptile to go through this natural process without hindering it. Some people will temper their room temperature and lighting.
However, bearded dragons must experience this process, which is essential to their lives.
The bearded dragon must release its waste to relieve tummy stress and other discomforts. Hence, do not feed it a week before this period.
Their brumate timing may arrive because of different poop patterns in animals, yet your pet still has stored food.
The slowdown may cause food to rot in the pet’s stomach, developing into other health complications. Most bearded dragons do not like disturbance while on hideout missions.
Provide Safety and Privacy
Within a home setting, provide a safe and warm homemade place. Dragons like privacy during brumation, ensuring there is no disturbance around the site.
Tips For Setting Up The Ideal Environment For a Brumating Bearded Dragon
Here are some tips for setting up the ideal environment for bearded dragons to brumate:
- Create a cool and dark environment: Bearded dragons require a cool and dark environment to trigger the brumation process. To do this, gradually decrease the temperature and lighting in their enclosure over several weeks.
- Maintain proper hydration: Although bearded dragons drink less water during brumation, it’s important to keep them hydrated by providing fresh water in a shallow dish.
- Keep the enclosure clean: Bearded dragons tend to become inactive during brumation, which can lead to bacterial infections if their enclosure is not kept clean. Make sure to clean the enclosure regularly and remove any feces or uneaten food.
- Provide a hiding place: Bearded dragons prefer to hide during brumation, so provide a suitable hiding place such as a cave or a wooden box. This will help them feel secure and comfortable.
- Ensure proper ventilation: Adequate ventilation is essential to prevent the buildup of harmful gases in the enclosure. Make sure the enclosure has proper ventilation to allow for air exchange.
- Monitor their weight: Keep track of your bearded dragon’s weight during brumation to ensure they are not losing too much weight. If they are losing weight rapidly, consult a veterinarian.
- Avoid disturbances: Bearded dragons must remain undisturbed during brumation to ensure success. Avoid handling or disturbing them unless it is necessary for their health.
- Provide a safe and peaceful environment: Bearded dragons are sensitive to stress and can become agitated if exposed to loud noises or other disturbances. Ensure that their environment is peaceful and free from stressors.
- Consult a veterinarian: If you are unsure how to set up the ideal environment for your bearded dragon to brumate, consult a veterinarian specializing in reptile care. They can provide you with additional guidance and support.
Keep your vet’s contacts within reach in case of an emergency.
Also, it is ideal for checking on your bearded dragon often to arrest any dangers.
Apart from physical signs that confirm sickness, their poop smell or reduced weight indicates an infection.
Therefore, consult a medic as soon as you realize something different from the usual.
Provide the Basics
Keep some fresh water and food aside in their cage. Most dragons are omnivorous; hence, they feed on different things.
For example, they can alternate and eat insects, leafy greens, and vegetables. Further, a few fruits like raspberries or blueberries would be ideal.
Some dragons may decide to break shortly to eat or drink. Also, keep the lights on to provide the necessary best heat and lightning.
There is a need to provide an external source for domestic reptiles. The dragon may want to bask before sliding back to its secret spot.
To help you offer the required light and heat, use a basking bulb and not the UV lights. Daytime lighting should be 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, the best nighttime lightning is 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Overall, most bearded dragons dislike disturbance while asleep during the hiding period. So, reduce your trips in and out of the spot to increase or decrease the brumation duration.
What Happens During Bearded Dragons Brumation?
Most bearded dragons make holes in the ground as a hideout. They remain there for most of the winter parts. But, they come out when they feel it is time to either soften their skin, find some dew, or grab any water source.
These ectotherms do not fall into deep slumber during brumation like mammals during hibernation.
They alternate between staying awake and sleeping, although with reduced movements to save energy. Thus, if you keep a bearded dragon, provide them with adequate water during this period.
How Long Do Bearded Dragons Brumate?
Not only need to know when do bearded dragons brumate, but we also need to know how long. In most cases, brumation lasts between a few weeks and four months. However, captured dragons spend less time since home setup temperatures are warmer than wild.
The brumation duration may last, equal to the winter period. However, the best time in Australia is from early June to September.
So, be on the lookout for any behavioral change during these months. Besides that, they can brumate before winter, around October and November.
Some become inactive for four months, while others last only three weeks. Others will brumate every 2-3 years, whereas some will be yearly.
So, it is difficult to identify early symptoms, but when you are around them, give them full support.
Average Brumation Period by Age and Gender
This table could show the average length of brumation periods for bearded dragons’ different age groups and genders.
|Juvenile||4 weeks||3 weeks|
|Subadult||6 weeks||4 weeks|
|Adult||8 weeks||6 weeks|
Which Places Are Suitable for Bearded Dragons to Brumate?
Like other mammals, bearded dragons love to feel the warmth of Mother Nature. However, they resort to shelter beneath the ground since the surface is chilly. Here are the best places they use as their hideouts while in the wild.
- Underneath the ground
- Tree holes
- Rock hollows
- Shaded grasslands
- Under logs
Also, bearded dragons in captivity need great places to brumate. Offer your pet a correct and secure hideout facility for those in homes. These include:
- Commercial stuff like rocks, boxes, or caves
- Plastic pipes
- Wooden boxes
- Plastic bowl with an entry hole
- Clay pots
- Cardboard boxes
Factors to Consider for a Suitable Brumation Place
Identifying the best enclosure for your brumating dragon is challenging for most pet lovers. However, there are several conditions to consider before preparing the housing. Here are a few tips.
Size and Age of the Dragon
For the most comfort, provide a sizable facility considering its age. Do not make the place too small or too large.
Air circulation is essential for any pet in captivity. Keeping them outdoors will allow them to access natural lighting, temperature, and air.
The place should be far away from the water source to prevent the buildup of humidity conditions. Therefore, keeping your pet safe, clean, warm, and free from cold-related discomforts.
The housing material should be of natural habitat to provide the typical atmosphere. Consider getting a waterproof facility to prevent rain and other harsh climate.
Away from Heavy Traffic
The kit should be in a quiet, comfortable, and peaceful location. Help the pet relax and finish its brumation on time. Avoid placing it in places with heavy traffic and noise that cause stress.
Caring For Bearded Dragons That Have Awaken Early From Brumation
After bearded dragons come out of brumation, it’s important to reintroduce them to their regular routine slowly. Here are some tips on how to care for them during this time:
- Gradual Temperature Increase: Start by gradually increasing the temperature in their enclosure to their regular range over the course of a few days. You don’t want to simultaneously shock their system by exposing them to high temperatures.
- Gradual Light Exposure: Similarly, slowly increase their exposure to light over a few days. This will help them adjust to longer daylight hours and prevent eye damage from sudden bright light.
- Hydration: Bearded dragons can dehydrate during brumation, so always providing fresh water is important. Consider offering electrolyte solutions to help them rehydrate.
- Dietary Requirements: After brumation, bearded dragons will be hungry and may eat a lot of food. Offer a variety of vegetables and fruits and a source of protein such as crickets or worms. Gradually reintroduce calcium and vitamin supplements to their diet.
- Observation: Monitor your bearded dragon closely for any signs of illness or abnormal behavior. If you notice anything unusual, consult a veterinarian with experience treating reptiles.
By following these tips, you can help your bearded dragon smoothly transition back to its regular routine after brumation.
Why You Should Not Stop a Bearded Dragon from Brumating
Most bearded dragon owners find it confusing and may want to prevent this natural occurrence or speed it up.
However, even water, food, and warm temperatures cannot stop brumation when nature comes calling.
The reptiles’ bodies feel the urge to brumate since it is an inborn habit. It is prudent to note; not every dragon will brumate.
Brumation is a healthy process that aids survival; you should let it run. It only takes a short while, and given the right environment, your pet will come out fine in the end.
However, if you want to try and prevent brumation, you can shield your dragon from winter-like conditions.
As the cold season gets near, increase the room temperature to above 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Even so, this move may not guarantee your wish.
Let’s take a look at the above Bearded Dragon Setup in a closer view of the video below. I made this vivarium 13 years ago. Check out the areas that are designed to allow places for the dragons to brumate. Can you spot them all?
How do Bearded Dragons In The Wild Brumate?
In the wild, bearded dragons typically choose their brumation site based on factors such as temperature, humidity, and availability of food and water. They may burrow into the ground, seek shelter in rock crevices or tree hollows, or simply rest in a shady spot.
When emerging from brumation, bearded dragons may be sluggish at first and may take some time to adjust to warmer temperatures and longer daylight hours. They may bask in the sun to warm up and regain energy and gradually increase their activity levels as their metabolism returns to normal.
After waking up, bearded dragons may interact with other animals in their environment, including potential mates, rivals, and predators. They may engage in territorial displays and vocalizations to establish dominance and protect their territory. Overall, the behavior of wild bearded dragons during and after brumation depends on various factors, including their age, health, and environment.
If brumation is already happening, allow your bearded dragon to go through it normally without interference.
FAQs on When Do Bearded Dragons Brumate
Conclusion for When Bearded Dragons Brumate
It must be brumating when spotting a bearded dragon with the primary signs mentioned. Therefore, do not interfere with this unique process during wintertime.
These animals hide to survive the winter by sleeping or being inactive for most of the period. Try not to be too alarmed when your pet starts slowing down for the winter; brumation is a necessary process for bearded dragons.
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