Understanding Bearded Dragon Brumation

March 4, 2013 by  
Filed under Bearded Dragon Info

babybeardieSome first time owners of bearded dragons have surely experienced being scared due to their pets’ excessive sleeping- so much that you thought they were dead. Aside from the fact that you always see them resting a lot, they also stop eating and have an infrequent bowel movement. In short, they are lethargic.

Stop worrying because it is just normal; in fact, it’s a part of their life cycle. In this case, your pet is undergoing a bearded dragon brumation.

Bearded dragon brumation refers to the semi-hibernation state that these reptile pets undergo during the winter months, that is common among reptiles. During the winter season, the reptiles adapt to the changing temperature by being dormant for thermoregulation. These animals usually find places for them to insulate and adjust to the temperature that is called hibernaculums. Rocks, burrows and even the water are examples of hibernaculum found in nature.

All reptiles may not have exactly the same way of brumation. Some factors that may affect them are its specie, nature (whether captive or not), existence (number of years living) and gender among many others. But there are also patterns that are observed commonly among them like reptiles’ brumation starts when temperature starts changing and dropping (start of fall) and ends when temperature starts to rise again. Most of them have lessened activity and have lesser consumption of food and water. They may also have the changing of skin. The length of brumation cannot also be generalized as it also varies from one reptile to another.

Your bearded dragon is a reptile, therefore, it undergoes brumation. But, contradict to some beliefs, some bearded dragon do not undertake brumation.

Bearded dragon brumation usually starts when your bearded dragon turns one year old, and in its second winter. You will notice that it start to have a decrease in appetite, sleeps more and prefers to stay on their hiding places. Just because it is normal, this doesn’t mean that you have nothing to do but wait for its process to end. Remember that reptiles stay alive by relying on their stored fats (glycogen) in their body, so their fasting is understood. But it should be put in mind that they still need water, so always make sure that their water container is existent.

Misting their noses and letting them lick it is another option. Since their brumation has something to do with the temperature, try to mimic the temperature of what they were used to by adjusting the lighting around them. Let them sleep or hibernate as much as they want, but also make it to a point to gradually check you pets every now and then.

Owners should understand brumation and their bearded dragons because their brumation can also be controlled by “starving them” or decreasing the food intake, setting their lighting temperature and mimic imitate the nature of bromating. But this process is discouraged when it comes to sick pets. For more information, consult your veterinarians to clarify the things to want to know.


17 Comments on "Understanding Bearded Dragon Brumation"

  1. glenfox on Thu, 10th Dec 2009 5:49 pm 

    Good Afternoon!!! bearded-dragon.org is one of the best innovative websites of its kind. I take advantage of reading it every day. Keep it that way.

  2. Stephen Nolan on Thu, 26th Jan 2012 11:13 am 

    my bearded dragon has been brumating for the past 3 months its now the end of jan when will he wake up and should i wake him up at some stage ??

  3. Emma Lawless on Sat, 11th Feb 2012 4:45 pm 

    Hey, I see you seem to know alot about beardies and I’m wondering if you can help me. Hope this dont disturb you to much… I got a 6week old bearded dragon female, she is tiny, only about the size of a baby finger… She is only eating about 2 – 3 crickets a day, and doesnt seem to have much energy at all… Is it normal for her to only eat about that a day? And do you have any good advice on how to keep her well? Also she seems to be sleeping alot and shedding her skin, which i find weird as she is very young to shed… Thanks for you help, Emma

  4. colin jenkins on Sun, 25th Mar 2012 10:23 am 

    our breadie have brumating sins the end of December and has just come out 22 march stayed out for two days and now has decided to go back is this right

  5. Drew on Thu, 10th May 2012 5:53 pm 

    Hello. Yesterday, my dragon was extremely lethargic, and showed all of the symptoms of brumation. I honestly thought something was wrong, so I took her to the animal medical center in NYC. She was on life support for hours, they gave her oxygen, they gave her fluids, food, extreme heat and anything you can do, they know every technique, these people are the best in the business. The nurse came in and diplomatically told me she had passed away. I was really upset, so she brought my dragon in, for me to say goodbye. It wasn’t until I got home much later I discovered brumation. She was in fact 1 years old, it was cold out, and she was eating less. I thought for a second she might still be alive when I got home, but I’m pretty sure some body parts still have to function to be able to brumate properly. They found no vital signs, heart rate was extremely low, and she eventually succumbed to her unknown illness and died. So maybe someone can tell me if she was brumation or passed away? I’m pretty sure she passed away, because if she was brumation, Dr. Quesenbery would have said it was. We still don’t know what it was, so I decided to authorize them to do a necropsy, which is where they dissect her to find out what really happened. I did everything right, repticarpet, dusted crickets, big 40g tank, and it still saddens me that we don’t know what happened. RIP Rocky, you will be missed. ;(

  6. sarah on Fri, 29th Mar 2013 5:09 am 

    hi can you please tell me how i can tell it my bearded dragon is dead or its in brumation. as its under the heat light with its eyes half open but look dead so can you plz help thank u x

  7. Jeannie on Sat, 26th Oct 2013 5:30 pm 

    hi, we have a now 10 month old Bearded Dragon that began the brumating process about 3 1/2 months ago, we have taken him to the vet and the vet even ran blood work to ensure everything was ok. Everywhere I have read they say the average brumation timeframe is normally anywhere from 1 week to 1 month, have you every heard of a beardie brumating for this long of a period? Thanks! Jeannie

  8. Christie on Tue, 14th Jan 2014 3:20 am 

    Thank you for this information. My ‘baby’ dragon (2yrs old) has gone into brumation for the last two months. I have only seen him wake up to eat once in this time. I understand from this article that I am to continue turning his light on?(is that correct), and I would like to know if I should wake him to be getting him to eat/drink?
    Thank you for your reply

  9. Mike on Sun, 26th Jan 2014 10:32 pm 

    My beardie Hasent went bathroom in a 3 weeks and he seems week and is always tired can u help??!!

  10. Amanda on Thu, 16th Oct 2014 11:04 pm 

    I was worried when my beardie wouldn’t eat, have a bowel movement or run around the house. I consulted with the experienced beardie owners and was guided to a website similar to this one about brumation. I was and still am so grateful for all of the information! Thank you.
    Amanda & beardie-Xerxes πŸ™‚

  11. Emily on Tue, 9th Dec 2014 3:58 pm 

    Hi you have a picture of a bearded dragon attached to this article. I was wondering if anyone knows what breed it is. We have recently rescued one identical to this guy and would love to know what breed he is

  12. Gladys on Mon, 16th Feb 2015 10:26 pm 

    So my bearded dragon is acting the same ( not eating, not active, motionless) but how do I know for sure that she’s not sick? Are they suppose to drag their bodies on the ground? She just looks so weak. And arΓ© they suppose to look thinner? she doesn’t drink ANY water at all. ( I have given her baths and she usually drinks in there) can someone please reassure me that she’s okay?

  13. Angel on Sun, 15th Nov 2015 9:55 pm 

    My bearded dragon is under a year old and I’m not sure what’s happened. It’s doing everything that happens during this period but he seemsto be hydrated. The eyes are sunken in. I’m scared I’m not sure if he’s sick or not and he’s so young help?

  14. Vasily on Fri, 1st Jan 2016 3:34 pm 

    Is it possible for 3 months old to brumate ? And two of them. Bum mine are energetick, they eat, they run when are free. But they have or just one of them have like some small line on the eyelids thas is something between gray and blue. And the big problem is that in my country we don’t have lizard vets

  15. Vasily on Fri, 1st Jan 2016 3:36 pm 

    http://bearded-dragon.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/bearded20dragon.jpg something like this one

  16. Vasily on Fri, 1st Jan 2016 3:38 pm 

    Oh, and it’s to the side to the eye not bellow

  17. admin on Fri, 14th Oct 2016 3:15 pm 

    So sad to hear this, Drew πŸ™
    The site has been dormant for a while, so I only got your message now. I hope all is well for you now.
    Do you currently have any Bearded Dragons?

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