Why Do Bearded Dragons Brumate?


Picture of Bearded Dragon brumating on a tree log

Living creatures react differently towards unfavorable conditions. Brumation is a natural and essential behavior for reptiles. They become inactive during extended cold temperatures and brumate as a survival mechanism. 

Bearded dragons are poikilothermic; 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 look into brumating bearded dragons, signs of brumation, and how to care for a brumating bearded dragon.

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.

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 the 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.

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. During the night, the temperatures drop; hence, brumating dragons will feel cold on most mornings.

Less Active

The bearded dragon will feel lazy. Most people reduce their activities during low temperatures, 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. The bearded dragons show similar symptoms to bears during their hibernation; they reduce their body functions and slow movements. Brumation helps to preserve adequate energy for survival during prolonged cold weather.

Less Active

The bearded dragon will feel lazy. Most people reduce their activities during low temperatures, 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. The bearded dragons show similar symptoms to bears during their hibernation; they reduce their body functions and slow movements. Brumation helps to preserve adequate energy for survival during prolonged cold weather.

Im off to bumate pinterest image

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 to care for your pet during this demanding period.

Visit a Veterinary

Take your reptile to an experienced veterinary doctor to clear any pests or test its 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 with their room temperature and lighting. However, bearded dragons need to experience this process, as it is an essential part of their lives.

Regulate Feeding

The bearded dragon needs to 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, hence, 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.

Be Prepared

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 desire to bask for a while 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. Also, do not pet, touch, or play with it to avoid prolonging the process.  

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.

During brumation, these ectotherms do not fall into deep slumber 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 fresh, adequate water during this period.

How Long Do Bearded Dragons Brumate?

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 timing 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 yearly. So, it is difficult to identify early symptoms, but when you are around them, give them full support.

Which Places Are Suitable for Bearded Dragons to Brumate?

Like other mammals, bearded dragons love to feel the warmth of Mother Nature. However, since the surface is chilly, they resort to shelter beneath the ground. Here are the best places they use as their hideouts while in the wild.

  • Burrows
  • Underneath the ground
  • Tree holes
  • Caves
  • Rock hollows
  • Shaded grasslands
  • Branches
  • 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.

Good Ventilation

Air circulation is essential for any pet in captivity. Keeping them outdoors will allow them to access natural lighting, temperature, and air.

Non-humid Area

The place should be far away from the water source to prevent buildup humidity conditions. Therefore, keeping your pet safe, clean, warm, and free from cold-related discomforts.

Proper Material

The housing material should be of natural habitat to provide the typical atmosphere. Consider getting a waterproof facility to prevent rain and another 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.

Dragons-Basking-in-my-viv

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, and you should let it run its course. 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. 

If brumation is already happening, allow your bearded dragon to go through it the usual way without interference.

Conclusion  

It must be brumating when you spot 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 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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