Brumation is a process that your bearded dragon undergoes once in a while. And, during this period he becomes inactive, sleeping more and eating less. This is a natural process for most reptiles and bearded dragons are not excluded. Therefore, when your beardie suddenly becomes lethargic and slow maybe you should not panic as he may be undergoing his periodic brumation.
The bearded dragon brumation is a process you need to understand so that you can treat your pet rightly during this period. As a result, we are going to share in this page, everything you need to know about your bearded dragon’s brumation and practical advice on what to do.
The Bearded Dragon Brumation
In the wild, during the cold seasons of winter and fall, bearded dragons are most likely to undergo a kind of hibernation. You can call this hibernation mode brumation. Meanwhile, some animals such as bear go through hibernation where they completely shut down. However, brumation in bearded dragons involves dormancy which is different from hibernation.
For most bearded dragons, brumation process differs. That is to say, while some beardies might wake up at intervals, some sleep through the period of brumation. Brumation is a natural survival process for bearded dragons in the wild. They do this to pass through cold seasons of less food and no sunlight for basking. The bearded dragons will burrow into the soil and sleep in wait for the warm season. Moreover, during this deep sleep, they will be living off their bodies nutritional build up.
Although you may worry for the first time you experience your bearded dragon in brumation. However, you should know that it is doing so because it is inborn.
The Symptoms Of Brumation In Bearded Dragons
Before your bearded dragon drifts into brumation, there are symptoms which you should look out for. These symptoms include refusing to eat food or eating much less, sleeping earlier than usual and more often, less activity, and hiding under a shade. That is to say, when you see your bearded dragon behaving in a similar manner then just maybe it is about to go into brumation. On the other hand, it is advisable to take your bearded dragon to the vet because these symptoms could as well be for various other diseases. Therefore, when you notice these symptoms be sure that your bearded dragon is about to brumate. And, take it to the vet before any other thing.
When To Expect Brumation From Your Bearded Dragon
There is no particular time for your beardie to brumate. However, when the season becomes colder there is a high probability that your beardie might go into brumation. This is so because they are found in the wild undergoing brumation mostly during cold seasons of winter and fall.
What To Do To Help Your Bearded Dragon Brumate
When your bearded dragon shows symptoms of brumation, you can help it pass through this process easily. That is to say, you can do certain things to help make the process comfortable for your beardie. Moreover, while you are helping your bearded dragon, you are also helping yourself. As a result, take these steps to help your bearded dragon out during brumation:
- Step 1
Take Your Beardie To See A Vet
After you notice symptoms of brumation in your bearded dragon, the first thing is to visit a vet for a checkup. Also, collect samples of your bearded dragon’s feces for a fecal test. Consequently, if the result shows an infection, it is treated before your beardie slips into the deep sleep.
- Step 2
Gradually Reduce The Amount Of Food Served
When the vet affirms that your beardie is ready for brumation, it is good to start offering him less food. Moreover, your bearded dragon will naturally eat less during this period. Therefore, serving him lesser food over the time will help your beardie with his brumation.
- Step 3
Gradually Reduce The Temperature Of The Habitat
As you provide your bearded dragon with less food, simultaneously reduce the temperature he gets. To do this, you can get a low watt bulb or adjust your thermostat if he is using the room temperature. Subsequently, keep reducing the temperature over the weeks until he finally enters deep sleep.
- Step 4
Keep An Eye Out For Faeces
Before your beardie goes finally into the deep sleep, make sure he defecates for the last time. This is to avoid the rotting of food in his stomach. Moreover, it can be toxic to your beardie if food rotten in his stomach.
- Step 5
Turn Off The Lighting And Heating
Once your beardie defecates you can now finally turn off all the lights and sources of heat. And, let your beardie sleep.
- Step 6
Avoid Disturbing Your Beardie During The Sleep
It is advisable to just let your bearded dragon as simple as that. Most importantly, never wake him up for any reason at all. However, at intervals, some bearded dragons will wake by themselves and go back to sleep. Others sleep at a stretch and never wakes till the end of the brumation period.
Note: It is best to always ask a vet about the things to do to help your beardie during brumation. However, the process treated here is a basic care routine which will definitely help you as a bearded dragon owner. Just follow it for a successful brumation and consult a vet during complications.
The Lighting Needs Of Your Beardie During Brumation
Your bearded dragon does not necessarily need the UV lights and heating lights on during brumation. Certainly, the bearded dragons in the wild will normally burrow in the ground during brumation and cover the entrance to avoid predators. Consequently, they are in absolute darkness in the burrow.
As a result, turning off all the lights and heat is creating a natural environment for your bearded dragon to brumate. Your beardie does not need the lights. In addition, you can cover the glass screens of his tank during brumation to make it darker.
On the other hand, some bearded dragon owners may report a successful brumation period with the lights on. It is not necessary, the lights are better off actually.
Note: Your bearded dragon requires the UV light and the heating system to help in converting energy and aids digestion. But, none of these activities take place while he is asleep. Therefore, the lights are better switched off because they truly do not serve a purpose. Moreover, you should be saving energy in your home.
The Length Of Your Bearded Dragon’s Brumation
How long your beardie stays in brumation differs and can range from weeks to months. As a result, some bearded dragons can sleep for more than 3 months. While others can sleep for about 3 weeks. Remember that no matter how long your bearded dragon sleeps never interrupt him for anything, even to feed him.
Note: If your bearded dragon stays inactive for only a few days, then he is not in brumation. Therefore, take him to the vet, chances are he may be ill. All you need to do is clarify with your vet.
Keep Your Bearded Dragon Hydrated Through The Brumation Period
There is a need to provide water for your beardie in brumation. As a result, you could keep a bowl of water for your beardie and keep an eye on him to make sure he drinks from it. However, you should already know if your beardie drinks from a bowl before. If he does, then keeping a bowl of water is the best option. Moreover, you are leaving him with a choice of drinking or not drinking.
On the other hand, if your bearded dragon does not drink from a bowl of water, then consider placing him in a bath of clean water. However, make sure he is a little bit awake before this. And, since he might still be feeling very sleepy, you should support his head. Make sure he drinks from his mouth. In addition, do not use this method quite often because your beardie needs to be left alone. Once a week is already enough for him to stay hydrated.
Also, you can still choose to mist your bearded dragon with water during brumation. Whatever method works best for you and your beardie, just use it to keep him hydrated.
The Reasons For Bearded Dragon Brumation
We know that brumation is a survival process for bearded dragons in the wild. And, it is mainly to survive the seasons of less food. In addition to this, it is found that bearded dragons get a balance in their hormonal changes. That is to say, the male produces optimal sperm for reproduction and female tends to ovulate favorably as they wake up during warmer conditions.
The Wake-Up Process
Your Bearded dragon does not have any particular wake up routine. Therefore, you are likely to just check up on your beardie and see him fully awake and active. At this point, you should restore everything as they were.
Switch the UV lights and the heating system back on. You may want to gradually restore things back to normal or just put them back on at once. Whichever, your bearded dragon can always find a comfortable exposure within his tank.
Take your bearded dragon for a bath and let him drink water in the process. Also, try to feed your beardie at this point. However, it is likely that he may not eat much or in some cases may not eat at all. As a result, do not panic or worry as such is normal.
After a few days, the normal routine will before the brumation will eventually resume. And, Your beardie will become active once again as if nothing happened. Then you should know that the period of brumation has ended.
Feed Your Bearded Dragon Satisfactorily
While it is normal for your beardie not to start eating as usual immediately after waking up. Also, it is normal that after a few days he may start eating voraciously. But, this is not a criterion for overfeeding your bearded dragon. Always feed him accordingly, that is to say, not too much and not too less.
Feed your bearded dragon both greens and insects. If you cannot get live insects at this point, you may use the ZooMed canned foods. There are crickets, hoppers and other varieties. However, start providing real live foods once you get it.
The whole feeding process will get back to normal over a couple of days.
The Normal Age For Your Bearded Dragon To Brumate
There is no particular age before your bearded starts to brumate. This is because brumation is purely natural and survival instinct in both young and old bearded dragons. Therefore, your beardie can go through his first brumation when they are a couple of months old to a year or more. The most important thing is to take him to a vet when he shows symptoms of brumation. And, the vet will decide whether he is ready in terms of health and nutrition for a brumation process.
Bearded dragon brumation is important for your pet. That is to say, when your bearded dragon shows symptoms of brumation, you should help him go through the process effortlessly. However, due to illness or low food reservations, you may want to stop your beardie’s brumation process. You can do this by handling your beardie more often and providing a warm temperature for him. But, never decide this on your own. Only stop your bearded dragon’s brumation if advised so by the vet. Otherwise, just help him with the process and apply the steps explained on this page.
This article takes a general look at the whole process of brumation in bearded dragon and advises on what you should do during the process. On the other hand, the opinions shared here are on a general note. That is to say, your beardie may need extra attention during this period. Therefore, always follow the advice of your vet at any time. And, care for your bearded dragon effectively.