close up of a yellow and orange bearded dragon

What is Brumation in a Bearded Dragon? [& Why They Do It]

Brumation is a natural process that many reptiles (including bearded dragons) go through to conserve energy during the cold winter months. It is a dormant state similar to hibernation in which bearded dragons sleep for extended periods of time.

Bearded dragons enter a hibernation-like state during brumation, becoming less active, eating less, and sleeping more. While brumation can be beneficial to your bearded dragon’s health and well-being, it is critical to understand the signs that your pet is entering this state, how to prepare them for it, and monitor them while they are brumating.

Reasons for Brumation in Bearded Dragons

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  • One of the main reasons is to save energy. Bearded Dragons enter a deep sleep during brumation, and their metabolic rate slows dramatically. This allows them to conserve energy over time and survive the colder months.
  • They can avoid unfavorable environmental conditions such as cold temperatures, a lack of food sources, and high levels of humidity by brumating.
  • Brumation protects them from predators because they are less active and visible during this period.


To Conserve Energy

Brumation is a natural process in bearded dragons that helps them conserve energy during the cold winter months. Bearded dragons typically reduce their activity level and do not eat or drink as much during brumation. This allows them to conserve energy and survive until better conditions arise.

To Avoid Unfavorable Environmental Conditions

Bearded dragons brumate to avoid adverse environmental conditions such as high temperatures, drought, and high humidity. Because they are ectothermic, they rely on their surroundings to regulate their body temperature, and brumation aids in this process.

Bearded dragons will become inactive and slow their metabolic rate during periods of extreme weather. They can avoid the risks associated with living in extreme weather by brumating in these conditions.

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To Prevent Predation

One of the reasons bearded dragons enter brumation is to avoid predation. During brumation, bearded dragons are also less likely to leave their chosen habitat and venture into unfamiliar territory, where they could be preyed upon. Bearded dragons also have the ability to blend into their surroundings while in brumation, allowing them to hide from predators. Brumation is an important survival strategy for bearded dragons, assisting them in avoiding predation.

Signs That a Bearded Dragon Is Brumating

Bearded dragons typically exhibit brumation as the days grow shorter and colder. Look for signs such as lethargy, a drastic change in behavior, and a decrease in appetite. It is important to note that brumation symptoms can also be symptoms of illness, so it is imoprtant to distinguish between the two. If your bearded dragon is ready to brumate, they should be in good health.

How to Prepare a Bearded Dragon for Brumation

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  • To ensure that the bearded dragon is ready for brumation, several key steps must be taken.
  • Changes in nutrition, temperature, and the cessation of all UVB lighting are all important steps to take.


Nutrition Changes

Before a Bearded Dragon enters brumation, it must replenish its nutritional reserves. This is why it is critical to provide them with a healthy and balanced diet prior to brumation.

Provide a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, and insects high in calcium, protein, and other essential vitamins and minerals to your dragon.

During this time, you should also feed your dragon foods high in fat and carbohydrates, such as waxworms and mealworms. This will assist them in maintaining their energy levels during brumation.

Make sure that your dragon has access to clean, fresh water throughout the brumation period.

Temperature Adjustments

When preparing a bearded dragon for brumation, adjust the temperature of their enclosure. During the majority of the year, basking spot temperatures should reach around 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26.6 degrees Celsius), with the cool side remaining at 70 degrees (21.1 C).

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Temperatures should be slightly reduced to around 65 degrees Fahrenheit during brumation (18 Celsius). This temperature drop will aid in the brumation process and allow your bearded dragon to conserve energy while in this state.

Do your best to keep them at this temperature throughout their brumation period in order to keep them safe and healthy. If you are concerned about your bearded dragon’s health during brumation, you can use a thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature of their enclosure.

Discontinue All UVB Lighting

Turn off all UVB lighting in preparation for brumation. This helps to simulate the cooler season’s natural conditions and encourages your bearded dragon to enter a deep state of brumation. Reduce the lighting and UVB bulb from 14 hours to completely off each day, as this will not harm a healthy dragon.

When the UVB lighting is turned off, your bearded dragon no longer needs supplemental vitamin D3, which is required for calcium absorption and bone health.

How to Monitor Your Bearded Dragon During Brumation

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  • Check the enclosure’s temperature to ensure it is not too cold or too hot.
  • Keep an eye out for signs of illness or parasites, which can be difficult to detect while they are sleeping.
  • Keep the enclosure clean and provide fresh water.


Check the Temperature of the Enclosure

Monitor the temperature of the enclosure in which your bearded dragon is brumating. This can be accomplished with a digital thermometer placed near the cool end of the enclosure.

Temperatures should be kept between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit; temperatures outside of this range can be harmful to your bearded dragon’s health.

Observe for Signs of Illness or Parasites

During brumation, keep an eye out for any signs of illness or parasites in your bearded dragon. If you notice symptoms, you should immediately contact a veterinarian. Remember that brumation is a natural process for bearded dragons, but it is important to keep an eye on them during this time to ensure their health and comfort.

Provide Fresh Water

Be sure to provide fresh water to your bearded dragon while it is in brumation. They may not be drinking as much as usual because they are sleeping more and have a decreased appetite. However, staying hydrated is still important for their health, so it’s critical to keep fresh water in the tank at all times. Check the water level on a regular basis and replace it as needed. You don’t have to force your dragon to drink, but you should always provide it with clean, fresh water.

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Keep Enclosure Clean

Clean out any feces, uneaten food, and bedding on a regular basis to prevent bacteria and fungus from growing. Maintain humidity levels in the enclosure as well, as Bearded Dragons need a certain amount of humidity to stay hydrated.

Because your Beardie will not be eating frequently, keeping the enclosure clean during brumation is important to avoid further contamination. Regular cleaning of your bearded dragon’s enclosure is essential to keeping them safe and healthy while they are brumating.

[su_box title=”Things to Remember” box_color=”#5a5a5a”]

  • Brumation is a natural process that bearded dragons (and other reptiles) go through during the cold winter months to conserve energy.
  • Brumation is a dormant period in which bearded dragons conserve energy, avoid unfavorable environmental conditions, and avoid predation.
  • Lethargy, a change in behavior, and a decrease in appetite are all symptoms of brumation in bearded dragons.
  • Nutritional changes, temperature adjustments, and the cessation of all UVB lighting are all necessary steps in preparing a bearded dragon for brumation.
  • Monitoring a bearded dragon during brumation is important to ensuring their health and safety.