Bearded dragons do brumate, according to Exotic Direct, which is a period of dormancy or reduced activity that occurs in many reptiles during the year’s colder months. During brumation, bearded dragons may sleep more, eat less, and reduce their overall activity level. This period of decreased activity allows the bearded dragon’s body to conserve energy and undergo necessary physiological changes.
Brumation in Bearded Dragons
Bearded dragons can start to brumate at any age, but the onset of brumation may be more common in adult dragons (over a year old) than younger dragons.
However, it’s essential to remember that not all bearded dragons will brumate, and even those who do may not do so yearly. The timing and duration of brumation can also vary from one individual to another.
If your bearded dragon is brumating, several signs indicate reduced activity and a slower metabolism. Here are some common signs of bearded dragon brumation:
- Reduced appetite: During brumation, bearded dragons often eat less or may stop eating altogether. This is because their metabolism slows down, and they don’t need as much food to maintain their body weight.
- Increased sleeping: Bearded brumating dragons may spend much more time sleeping or resting than usual because their bodies are conserving energy during this period of reduced activity.
- Reduced activity level: During brumation, bearded dragons may be less active than usual. They may move less, spend more time basking or resting, and generally appear less interested in their surroundings.
- Color changes: Bearded dragons may change color during brumation, with some becoming darker or paler than usual.
- Changes in bowel movements: Bearded dragons may have reduced or infrequent bowel movements during brumation, a normal process.
The frequency of bearded dragon brumation can vary from individual to individual. For example, in the wild, bearded dragons may brumate once a year, typically during winter, when temperatures are colder, and food is scarce.
In captivity, the frequency of brumation may be influenced by various factors, such as the age of the bearded dragon, the temperature and light cycle of their enclosure, and their overall health and nutritional status. Some bearded dragons may brumate every year, while others may only brumate periodically or not at all.
Things to Know When Bearded Dragon Brumate
Heating and UV
During brumation, bearded dragons typically reduce their activity levels, sleep more, and eat less. This means they require less heat and light than when they are active and eating regularly.
While you may want to reduce the heating and light in your bearded dragon’s enclosure during brumation, ensuring they still have access to appropriate temperatures and light to maintain their health and well-being is essential.
Although you may reduce the amount of UVB lighting during brumation, providing some exposure to UVB light is still essential. This helps ensure your bearded dragon has adequate vitamin D3 for its overall health.
It’s important to note that feeding a bearded dragon during brumation is generally not recommended as they may not properly digest their food, which can lead to health problems.
While ensuring your bearded dragon is hydrated during brumation is essential, providing food is unnecessary. However, you can still offer water to your bearded dragon by misting its enclosure or providing a shallow water dish.
Bearded dragons can experience weight loss during brumation, which is a natural process of reduced activity and metabolism. During this time, they will typically eat very little or stop eating altogether, which can cause them to lose weight.
You must monitor your bearded dragon’s weight during brumation and consult a reptile veterinarian if you have any concerns. They can help you determine whether your bearded dragon is losing weight at a healthy rate and provide guidance on caring for your pet during this period of reduced activity.
Providing a suitable environment for your bearded dragon to go through brumation is essential in captivity. This can include providing a more relaxed area to rest, reducing the amount of light in their enclosure, and monitoring their food and water intake.
You can create a suitable brumation environment for your bearded dragon by:
- Providing a more relaxed area: Create an excellent area in your bearded dragon’s enclosure where they can rest. This can be achieved by lowering the temperature in a separate enclosure or providing an excellent hide.
- Reducing the amount of light: During brumation, you should reduce the amount of light your bearded dragon is exposed to. This can be achieved by reducing the duration of daylight or by providing a darker hiding spot.
- Monitoring food and water intake: Bearded dragons may eat very little or stop eating altogether during brumation. Monitoring your bearded dragon’s food and water intake ensures they get what they need to stay healthy.
In general, preventing or ending a bearded dragon’s brumation process is not recommended. Brumation is a natural process that allows bearded dragons to conserve energy during reduced food availability or unfavorable environmental conditions. Therefore, it is essential for their overall health and well-being.
However, you should consult a reptile veterinarian if you have concerns about your bearded dragon’s health or well-being during brumation. They can help you determine whether your bearded dragon is healthy enough to go through brumation and provide guidance on caring for your pet during this period of reduced activity.
If you suspect your bearded dragon is sick or has underlying health issues impacting their ability to go through brumation, you should seek veterinary care immediately. Some signs of illness during brumation include lethargy, lack of appetite, weight loss, or abnormal behavior.