Brumation in Bearded Dragons

No response from the bearded dragon? The bearded dragon is probably in the midst of brumation.

In the wild, bearded dragons will brumate each winter during the chilly season. Due of its habitat’s artificial heating and lighting, brumation is not essential for an animal to survive the winter in captivity. They are nonetheless wired to recognize the signs of coming winter and begin to slow down or go into full hibernation.

Pogona barbata, a species of bearded dragon, has been seen to mate in trees or burrows in the wild (Wotherspoon, 2007). Here’s more information on bearded dragons in the wild.

Some warning signs of impending brumation in bearded dragons include burrowing under furniture or loose substrate, hiding, losing interest in feeding, or becoming unusually lethargic.

What Is Bearded Dragon Brumation?

In order to stay alive during Australia’s colder months, bearded dragons go into brumation, a state of hibernation. The Southern Hemisphere’s winter months of June, July, and August are when bearded dragons often brumate. Once the temperature starts to rise again, animals will often dig a hole and go asleep.

Numerous kinds of reptiles go through a phase that is quite similar to hibernation.

As they both refer to the same thing, brumation and hibernation are frequently used interchangeably. Despite the fact that hibernation is related with warm-blooded species (like mammals) and brumation is associated with cold-blooded animals (like reptiles) (e.g. mammals).

Therefore, as opposed to hibernating, your bearded dragon will brumate.

Due to their inability to control their internal body temperature, bearded dragons brumate. To heat or cool their bodies, they must instead use outside sources. This explains why you could observe beardies basking in the sun on chilly days or looking for cover to avoid the heat on hot ones.

Many animals can endure low temperatures for a day or two at a time, but when the temperature is too low for too long, life becomes challenging, particularly for cold-blooded creatures.

Bearded dragons can endure chilly winters thanks to brumating, something they would not ordinarily be able to.

A bearded dragon will eat a lot of food to restock its nutritional stores before beginning to brumate. They will then survive on this surplus when they enter brumation.

The ability of an animal to emerge from its profound slumber is the primary distinction between brumation and hibernation. Unlike reptiles that are in brumation, which is easier to awaken than hibernating mammals.

Even though winter has not yet ended, a brumating dragon will awaken if their internal temperature increases. In the event that the weather is warm enough, certain bearded dragons may be able to emerge from their burrows throughout the winter.

As you observe your Beardie, keep this in mind. For several months at a time, it’s conceivable that kids won’t fall asleep deeply. Instead, they’ll start to sleep more and become less active and hungry. However, they may not be dozing off all night.

How long will my Bearded dragon brumate for?

It is challenging to determine precisely how long a reptile will brumate because there are several variables that might affect brumination among species and even within individuals of the same species.

The species can give you a basic indication of how long your pet will live, but age, gender, environmental factors, and place of origin also matter.

Although they can be tough to anticipate when it comes to brumation, bearded dragons often don’t begin brumating until they are at least ten months to one year old. They may brumate one year but not the next or they may bruminate every year.

Keep in mind that not all bearded dragons will brumate if your bearded dragon doesn’t appear to exhibit any of the aforementioned symptoms.

Depending on the individual and environmental variables, bearded dragons can brumate for a short while or throughout the duration of the winter.

At what age do Bearded Dragons brumate?

Perhaps you’ve heard that bearded dragons don’t brumate until they’re one year old. The contrary is true.

A person of any age might feel the impulse to brumate. Internal issues are the cause. their DNA has it imprinted. All of our bearded dragons possess a basic survival instinct. Once more, even a few decades of captive breeding won’t modify this behavior after millions of years of it.

Exotic veterinarians and seasoned caretakers brought the one-year-old creature in. due to the possibility that a dragon that is only a year old lacks the nutritional reserves necessary to help it survive the operation.

Unsurprisingly, the size and weight of each dragon vary.

Therefore, if your bearded dragon is younger than a year old, the best course of action is to bring it in for a checkup at local exotics veterinarian. When weighing the dragon and examining its fat and nutrient pad, they may decide if it is safe to allow it to undergo brumation (after a clear faecal test, as mentioned below).

A dragon that I had entered brumation around the age of eight. It was considered safe to do so in consultation with my vet at the time. Before and after the process, everything was good.

Do Bearded Dragons have to Brumate?

Some bearded dragon owners say their pets have never gone through brumation. It is challenging to tell since brumation is not necessarily a full-fledged winter shutdown. Some people will still experience small changes, such a slowing down of their eating and possibly less movement but not actually sleeping.

Brumation is known to be required for reproduction in several reptiles. Bearded dragons are an exception to this rule. They don’t require any assistance at all and are prolific breeders.

Although there is no hard evidence to support it, it is believed that brumation is linked to a longer lifespan when not reproducing.

Bearded dragons don’t need to brumate, but whether it’s desirable to encourage natural behavior is another matter.

Where Does a Bearded Dragon Brumate?

Naturally inclined to brumate underground or high up on a tree, bearded dragons do so. In their terrarium, they most likely don’t have access to any of those things, which is OK. By adding a blackout house to your dragon’s cage, you can aid in its progress. Instead of worrying about being continuously startled by lights in your house, your dragon may curl up and go asleep.

Why do Bearded Dragons Brumate in Captivity?

While a competent owner will make sure their bearded dragon has access to adequate food, heat, and light to stay healthy all year long, this does not mean you can just alter their nature.

It’s critical to recognize that bearded dragons have evolved to accept brumation as a natural part of their existence, despite the resources humans offer.

Some dragons may even be so in sync with their instincts that, despite living in the Northern Hemisphere, they enter brumation in the spring or summer.

Given that they would brumate during this time in their home Australia, which experiences Winter and Fall throughout the Northern Hemisphere’s Spring and Summer, it only goes to show how perceptive these tiny creatures really are.

Symptoms and Common Signs

Your bearded dragon will sleep considerably more than usual while it is brumating. By doing this, they are able to use less energy. They will sleep in a hide for the most of the daytime instead of being awake.

A reduction in activity is also seen along with the longer amount of time spent sleeping. Even if your dragon is awake, brumation will cause them to be less active.

A diminished appetite is another typical symptom.

To withstand brumation, bearded dragons use their fat stores. They don’t need to consume as much as they normally would as a result. A lack of feces will then occur as a result of this lack of eating.

Many brumation symptoms might also be indicators of health problems. During this period, you must keep a tight check on your Beardie.

The weight of a healthy adult ranges from 300 to 500 grams. During brumation, they shouldn’t shed more than 50 grams of body weight. Check for parasites or other health issues if they are losing a lot of weight or start to seem weak and undernourished.

Is It Bad For Them?

If brumation is detrimental for bearded dragons kept in captivity, that is a frequent query we receive. No, is the swift response.

It won’t worry you, even though you will need to slightly modify your care instructions. They differ from other pets in that they do not experience the negative health effects of hibernation.

Brumation is often not recommended if your bearded dragon is a baby (or less than a year old). It may delay their development, possibly increase their size, shorten their longevity, and possibly worsen their health in the future.

Since brumation in infants is so rare, you probably won’t need to worry about it. However, if your baby tries to enter brumation, we advise getting in touch with your veterinarian to see whether you should make an effort to pull them out of it.

They’ll probably examine their fat pads to determine their nutritional status at a basic level. They could advise you to let the procedure take its course if everything appears to be in order.

However, if they don’t like what they see, they can ask you to attempt to get them out (and perhaps assist you in doing so).

They won’t push you to go too far. Instead, they will initially attempt some of the less intrusive techniques to see whether they can stop the process (you can find them in a later section).

You could be recommended to let them finish the procedure and cross your fingers if that doesn’t work. A young beardie going through brumation does not always mean they will be unwell.

So what do I need to do if my Bearded dragon starts to brumate?

If your bearded dragon begins to brumate, it is typically best to just let them alone. The most important thing to do is to make sure they always have access to fresh water as usual and maintain a clean cage, which is a bit simpler at this time as they produce less waste.

Additionally, you should cut back on the existing amount of sunshine and basking temps. In order to imitate the shorter days and colder temperatures that wild Bearded dragons would face, let’s say that you now supply 10–12 hours of UV and heat. You might lessen this by shutting it off two hours sooner.

The light and heat can then be gradually decreased over the next days and weeks until they are turned off entirely.

Although there are no specific guidelines for caring for your beardie during brumation, one guideline to follow is to minimize disturbances.

How to stop a bearded dragon from brumation?

If your bearded dragon is frail or ill, brumation could occasionally have a bad or even harmful impact on it. Typically, bearded dragons that are ill or weak shouldn’t brumate at all. During brumation, sick dragons may lose weight or possibly pass away.

It’s not quite that easy, though, as some bearded dragons will enter brumation even when the temperature or time of day changes.

However, by keeping the lights on for 12–14 hours each day and maintaining the right temperatures, you can try to shorten or prevent brumation. Additionally, you may halt brumation by handling your bearded dragon every day.

But only if your dragon is really unwell, has parasites, or is extremely skinny. Your bearded dragon will become stressed if you try to avoid brumation.

In this situation, you can allow your dragon to brumate for a few weeks with little daylight before returning things to normal to awaken it.

Do I need to leave on the heating and UV during brumation?

Simply put, no. A healthy dragon won’t be harmed in the slightest by turning down the heat and UVB. In reality, it would occur just as it would in a burrow under natural circumstances.

The burrow protected them from the colder surface temperatures. Additionally, bearded dragons fill the entryway with soil. This protects them from any predators, but it also means that it is always quite dark.

For example, digestion processing and energy production both require heat and UVB. Of course, none of this is necessary for sleeping. due to lack of food and activity.

During this procedure, some persons will still be exposed to UVB and some type of heat. and accomplish this with success. However, there is really no necessity. I’ve been asked before if they’ll have metabolic bone disease, but they won’t.

Using the method I outlined, we are effectively simulating a natural burrow.
The glass of the vivarium/tank will simply be covered with paper or a blanket as additional measures. It’s therefore cozy and dark for them. And I’ll check in on them every day.

How do You Know When Brumation is Ending ?

There are warning signals that your bearded dragon is about to enter brumation. Your dragon’s awakening is rather clear.

She could merely walk out of her hiding place and start crawling about her terrarium in search of food when you check on her, or you might notice her looking back at you with wide eyes. In any case, it’s not too difficult to distinguish between your dragon truly waking up and it just walking outside for a drowsy sip.

Remember that it can take your dragon a few days to go back into his usual pattern. Restore his illumination gradually, provide him usual food, and just be patient while he awakens. He’ll return to his routine quite quickly. Contact your veterinarian if you ever have any concerns or observe anything out of the ordinary.