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Bearded dragons typically brumate for about four weeks during the winter. However, there is no standard length to how long they will brumate. Each dragon is unique and has its own unique needs. As such the duration can vary from a few weeks to up to 4 months.
Bearded dragon brumation is perhaps the most puzzling and intriguing of all the natural behaviors of the dragons. When the temperature starts to drop within the fall, bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps) begin to slow down their activity and their demeanor. As the temperature continues dropping, your beardie may become more lethargic, including spending more of his time in his enclosure’s hiding areas, less likely to accept food, can start refusing to drink water, and may even appear dead.
These are all indications that your dragon is starting brumation – or reptile hibernation – which is the natural behavior for most species of reptiles during the winter months. It’s a way for reptiles to conserve energy and reduce their metabolic rate to a minimum while still being able to survive.
However, if you are a new bearded dragon owner, this natural brumation process may surprise you. You may be mystified and even a little scared as to why your bearded dragon is spending so much time in his hideout and not moving around much.
Well, understanding your concerns, below we will discuss everything you need to know about bearded dragon brumation, how long do bearded dragons brumate and how to make sure your pet gets the most out of it.
Bearded Dragon Brumation – What It Is?
Brumation is a natural process that occurs in reptiles, during which they slow down their metabolic rate, enter a state of dormancy, and even enter a state of suspended animation in preparation for winter. In the wild, this is when reptiles go into brumation to conserve energy and reduce the risk of dying of starvation or exposure.
However, in captive environments, where food is readily available year-round, this natural process of brumation may be disrupted. Because of this, many keepers will artificially induce brumation in their reptiles to help them maintain the natural cycle of rest and recuperation.
Bearded Dragon Brumation - How Do I Know If My Bearded Dragon Is Brumating?
The best way to determine if your bearded dragon is brumating is to monitor his behavior. If he’s been sleeping more, eating less, and spending more or less time in his hiding spot, he’s probably entering brumation.
At this point, it’s important to be patient and wait for him to wake up from his hibernation. If you handle him too early, you may cause him to wake up before he’s ready, which can lead to lethargy and reduced appetite, and as a result, degraded health.
At What Age Do Bearded Dragons Brumate?
It is a widely held misconception that bearded dragons under 1-year of age do not brumate. Believe science and data, not myth and hearsay, because the urge to brumate is genetically predetermined and not linked to age.
It’s just like how an infant does not cry all the time. It’s just that they have yet to learn how to communicate their needs effectively. The same goes for a bearded dragon.
The need for brumation is linked to genetics and can also be linked to the natural instinct to protect and conserve energy to counter the harshest of the winter environments. In essence, bearded dragons can brumate at any age, and in fact, most adult bearded dragons do. But, as with all things in life, there are exceptions.
If your beardie is young and still maturing, or has been under captivity since hatching, then chances are he or she will not be ready to brumate just yet. But don’t fret because, with the right care and attention, your pet will be ready to make the transition come the winter months.
For the best outcome, consider visiting the exotics vet clinic for bearded dragon care and advice on the best time to transition your pet to brumation. They will check your bearded dragon for fat and nutrition levels and be able to give you advice on the best ways to prepare your pet for winter.
From there, you can work towards slowly introducing your dragon to the temperature changes that are part of the brumation process and ensure that your pet gets to experience the best out of his/her winter rest.
What Happens When a Bearded Dragon Is in Brumate State?
When your bearded dragon is brumating, there is a lot going on in its body. Its metabolism is reduced, and body temperature is lowered – two factors that help your pet conserve energy. It may also be shedding its skin and reducing its water intake.
All of these signs indicate that your bearded friend is conserving energy and getting in the best condition to make it through the winter. But through it all, your beardie is still alert and awake. It’s just saving energy, and that’s why it sleeps so much!
How Long Do Bearded Dragons Brumate?
Brumation is a natural process, and there is no exact answer for how long do bearded dragons brumate. It can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months (~4), depending on the size and age of the dragon. Once your bearded dragon brumation has begun, he will likely stay in that state for the duration of winter. But this isn’t always the case, and some reptiles may wake up from their brumation before winter ends. If this happens, be sure to monitor your bearded dragon closely and be ready to make any adjustments to his enclosure and lighting to ensure he stays warm and is able to get back into brumation if necessary.
Should You Provide Water to Your Bearded Dragon While It's Brumating
Yes, you should offer your bearded dragon water while it’s brumating. The best way to do so is to place a small bowl of water inside its sleeping cage. Be sure that the bowl is heavy enough that it won’t tip over if your bearded dragon bumps into it during its sleep cycle. You may also want to use reptile-safe rocks or smooth pebbles in your container so that your pet can take steps down toward water if it feels thirsty.
Feeding Your Bearded Dragon After Brumation
At first, your bearded dragon may not want to eat at all after brumation. This is perfectly normal and is because your pet isn’t digesting food as fast as usual. To get him to eat, offer him small amounts of his usual diet. Once he starts eating, you can gradually increase the portions until it reaches the usual levels.
For optimal recovery, professionals recommend ZooMed canned foods after brumation because they’re specially formulated to meet the nutritional needs of reptiles, are easy to digest and provide the energy needed to gain strength and weight.
In conclusion, bearded dragons will naturally go into brumation to survive winter. By understanding the signs and taking steps to help your pet prepare for winter, you can help ensure that he gets the best out of his brumation. And best of all, you’ll have a happier, healthier pet who will be more active and playful throughout your time together.