Bearded Dragon Brumation

Brumation is almost like hibernation, but the bearded dragon’s body does not completely shut down. He/she may sleep for weeks or even months at a time, waking very rarely to eat or drink, before going back to sleep. Brumation usually occurs in the fall or winter months when the temperature drops and light changes. Baby dragons, however, do not brumate at all only young adults and older.

Bearded dragon sleeping


Bearded Dragon Brumation Symptoms


  • Will become less active.
  • Eat less or stop eating altogether.
  • Dragons will hide under objects more often or simply climb in their hides and not come out.
  • Pick up loads of weight just before winter begins.
  • Sometimes do not want to be handled.
  • They will poop less.

Bearded dragons will become less active the colder it gets at the beginning of winter. They will no longer sit up and bask, but rather just lay sleeping under their lights. Exploring will become less or stop completely.

They will, furthermore, eat less or stop eating together in the days before they go to sleep and during the entire brumation period. During this time of almost eating nothing, they will not lose weight as their systems have been slowed down so there is absolutely nothing to worry about as long as they keep their weight.

They also tend to crawl under everything or simply climb into their hides as soon as they start brumation. Since they will be sleeping and do not want to be bothered they tend to hide away from everyone and everything, plus they like to sleep in the dark as the lights bother them.

Bearded dragons will, moreover, start eating more and pick up more weight in the weeks right before the start of winter. They do this, to store up body fat for the time that they will not be eating. It is safe to say that a diet will not be necessary as they will lose some of the weight during brumation and the rest of it as soon as they wake up and need to get rid of all the extra energy.

Sometimes they will get aggressive or stressed out when you hold them, as they do not want to be handled or disturbed during this time. Do not take offense to this; they just do not like to be woken up during their sleep like the rest of us.

Funny as it sounds; bearded dragons will poop less when their brumation starts due to the fact that their systems are slowed down during this period. As long as the poop is normal when it comes, there is nothing to worry about.



Do Bearded Dragons Hibernate?


Bearded dragons do not hibernate which is a constant sleep throughout the winter, instead, they brumate which is similar to hibernation, but differs in some ways. When they brumate they sleep for days on end, only waking up once and a while to eat, drink and poop before getting back to bed.

Sometimes brumation can be mistaken for an illness or vice versa. Always make sure the symptoms fit before making a conclusion, but if it is wintertime or there is a sudden drop in temperature, it is most likely brumation.

However, if symptoms like black bearding, paleness and so forth exist, a vet appointment would be best since it is most likely not brumation then.


What Can I Do?

If you suspect brumation, make sure that your beardie has a good poop before him/her brumates. Leftover food in their stomach could cause parasites. A few warm soaks should help them to pass all the food before they go down to sleep.

Continue to provide veggies, greens, and occasionally protein, just in case they wake up and decide to eat.

Keep the temperatures steady. You should never let them sleep in a cold cage! Temperatures can be slightly lower, but a basking spot should always be available during the day just in case they wake up. Remember, beardies will digest their food with the help of heat; food that was left in their stomach will need to digest.

Make sure that they are hydrated while sleeping. In most instances bearded dragons will not lose much water, however, in some instances, they will. You can check on them each day to make sure that they are hydrated by looking at the skin. If it is wrinkled up, then you will have to wake them for a bath and some water.

Bearded dragons should be healthy when they brumate. Parasites, for instance, will cause severe weight loss during brumation. A general health check at the vet does not cost that much and is recommended if you suspect brumation.

If your bearded dragon loses weight, has dark circles around the eyes, becomes dehydrated, or shows signs of illness during brumation, it would be a good idea to wake him/her up to get treatment.

Do not switch off their lights as they will still need the heat and so forth. It is also recommended to get a heat admitter or a red light to maintain warm temperatures during the night.

It would be best to not wake them unless it is completely necessary during this time as they will sleep longer if their brumation is interrupted.

If you do bath them, make the water as shallow as possible without taking away the bath completely.

When they wake up, it would be best not to get them to be active as their body’s systems are slowed down and not in a state to handle too much activeness like swimming in deep water or running around outside.

When they come out to eat, it would be best not to feed insect that is high in fat or to give ones that are hard to digest like super worms or mealworms.


How About Some Comfort?

Beardies are notorious for loving, soft, cuddly things. Wrapping them in a soft, warm blanket during brumation is not a bad idea and they will sleep like a baby. Be sure that their noses stick out to make breathing easy. You can also insert a pillow in the cage or any other way to give them comfort.


Bearded dragon sleeping


Next Article:  Bearded Dragon Shedding

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