Bearded Dragon Brumation: The Sleepy Season of Beardies

Brumation is a process that reptiles go through in winter months to survive periods of cold weather and decreased food sources. The process allows reptiles to adapt to the changing environment and ensure their survival. This article will focus on the brumation process of bearded dragons, an iconic lizard species found throughout the world.

What is Brumation?

Brumation is defined as a form of hibernation or dormancy seen in reptiles and amphibians during short days or cold weather. The reptile’s body temperature, breathing, heart rate, and metabolism all significantly decrease during the period of brumation.

The length of time the reptile spends in brumation varies depending on species, age, and environment but generally lasts between one month and several months.

The Process of Brumation

Bearded dragons typically begin their brumation period in late October or November when temperatures begin dropping and natural food sources become scarce; however, it can vary depending on environmental conditions.

During this period, they will often burrow underground and remain dormant until spring when natural food sources become available again. During this time they will:

  • Drink minimal amounts of water
  • Become inactive and anti-social
  • Decrease appetite
  • Sleep more than usual
  • Spend more time under coverings or in burrows

The Purpose of Brumation in Reptiles

The brumation process allows reptiles to adapt to environmental changes and survive periods of cold weather. Without this adaptation, the reptiles would struggle to thrive and could even die due to a lack of energy and resources. Brumation also helps them conserve energy and use what little food sources exist during the winter months.

It is essential for the health of these animals to go through this process and is an adaptation that has helped reptiles stay alive for millions of years.

Brumation in Bearded Dragons

Brumation is a period of hibernation normally used by reptiles in response to adverse environmental conditions. It’s one of the ways reptiles protect themselves from extreme temperatures and conserve energy. Bearded dragons are no exception. Let’s look closer at how brumation affects bearded dragons and how it works.

When do Bearded Dragons Brumate?

Bearded dragons typically brumate during the winter months when temperatures are cooler and daylight hours are shorter. Generally, they will begin to brumate in November or December and remain dormant until March or April, although this varies by species, geography, and individual dragon health.

Signs that a Bearded Dragon is Preparing to Brumate

Bearded dragons typically show signs that they are getting ready to enter into a state of hibernation. These signs include:

  • Diminished appetite
  • Slowing down activity levels
  • Shedding skin more frequently than usual
  • Becoming less responsive to touch or handling

If you notice these signs in your pet, it’s likely they’re preparing for the brumation cycle and should be provided with a comfortable environment so they can rest peacefully while their system adjusts to environmental changes.

Factors that Can Trigger Brumation in Bearded Dragons

There are several factors that can trigger brumation in bearded dragons such as declining outdoor temperature, lack of food sources, decreased daylight hours and seasonal changes.

A dragon can also enter into a state of hibernation prematurely if it’s stressed out, sick, or exhausted due to insufficient nutrition or improper husbandry practices such as inadequate lighting and basking temperatures.

The best way to avoid triggering an early onset of hibernation is to provide optimal environmental conditions for your pet throughout the year by maintaining consistent temperatures and humidity levels as well as providing nutritious food sources year-round.

Preparing Bearded Dragon for Brumation

Bearded dragons are incredibly popular pets, revered by both reptile aficionados and first-time reptile owners alike. These active animals require special care during their winter months, otherwise known as “brumation” or “hibernation”.

In order to make sure your bearded dragon’s brumation is a successful one, there are certain steps that need to be taken in preparation for this natural event.

Providing a Suitable Environment

The environment in which the bearded dragon will be brumating must meet certain temperature and humidity preferences in order to maintain consistency during their sleep period:

  • The temperature should be between 60 to 70 degrees.
  • The humidity should remain between 30-50%.
  • Enclosures without drafts or corners are ideal.

These environmental preferences must be maintained throughout the period of sleep, so it is important that you check it regularly throughout the day using thermometers and hygrometers to ensure proper levels are maintained.

If setting up an enclosure inside your home isn’t an option, reptiles with access to outdoor enclosures may still brumate, provided they have access to safe, draft-free locations.

Ensuring the Bearded Dragon has Adequate Food and Water

The purpose of brumation is not only to keep the bearded dragon warm but also for them to conserve energy by sleeping for long periods of time uninterruptedly. Bearded dragons need adequate nutrition and hydration in order to survive this sleep cycle.

Therefore it is important that they have access to food and water before entering the hibernation cycle – even if the food isn’t eaten immediately, simply having it available discourages excessive weight loss which may occur in periods of starvation or dehydration during brumation.

Monitoring the Bearded Dragon’s Health

Brumation may trigger health problems within your pet such as metabolic bone disease which can cause paralysis due to calcium deficiency; other common issues include dehydration which can lead to weight loss and digestion problems.

It is important that your bearded dragon’s health is monitored throughout its hibernation period since any signs of illness or stress should be addressed immediately with a veterinarian if necessary.

Additionally, regular meals and activity should be encouraged once your bearded dragon begins emerging from its sleep cycle; this helps prevent any potential health problems from developing further!

The Brumation Process of Bearded Dragon

Brumation is a period of inactivity (in contrast to hibernation) typically experienced by reptiles during colder months. In the case of bearded dragons, brumation typically occurs in winter and spring when temperatures drop too low for them to remain active.

During this time they would normally enter into an inactive phase where they rest and remain almost motionless, often only opening their eyes when disturbed or handled.

Length of Brumation Period

The length of the brumation period can vary widely among bearded dragons as it is affected by numerous factors like food availability, frequency of handling, and individual health status.

Generally speaking, one can expect a beardie’s brumation period to last anywhere from a few weeks up to three or four months (or longer). During this time the reptile will usually consume very little food and sleep for most of the day.

Changes in the Bearded Dragon’s Behavior during Brumation

During brumation there are numerous changes that may occur in the behavior of bearded dragons which can make them appear lethargic or uninterested in their surroundings:

  • Eating less than normal or no food at all
  • Becoming less active throughout the day
  • Losing interest in activities such as basking
  • Remaining motionless with eyes closed for extended periods while sleeping
  • Seeking out cooler areas in its environment

Maintaining the Environment During Brumation

Maintaining an appropriate environmental temperature during your beardie’s brumation period is essential for its health and well-being. The ideal temperature range should be between 60°F (15°C) – 70°F (21°C).

Additionally, you should also provide sufficient heat sources such as an overhead heat lamp or ceramic heat emitter so that your beardie can increase its body temperature quickly when ready to become active again following brumation.

Additionally, it’s important that you keep humidity levels low at this time as high humidity levels can cause respiratory illnesses which may be fatal if left untreated.

Furthermore, you should continue offering water daily as your bearded dragon may still drink small amounts even during its inactive phase of brumation so as not to become dehydrated over time due to reduced food intake and activity levels over this duration period.

Bearded Dragon Emerging from Brumation

Brumating bearded dragons will eventually come out of the deep sleep, typically at the end of winter, and start transitioning to warmer weather. It is important for owners to know how to properly monitor their bearded dragon during this process, as any change in behavior can be a sign of distress or illness.

Signs that the Bearded Dragon is Ready to Emerge

The first signs that your bearded dragon is ready to come out of brumation will depend on the individual animal’s behaviors. There are a few common signs of readiness that you may see:

  • Increased Appetite – The most obvious indication that your bearded dragon is emerging from hibernation is an increase in appetite and willingness to eat more frequently.
  • Increased Movement – After weeks or months of inactivity, you may notice that your pet is moving around its enclosure more often; this could include stretching, pacing, and exploring its environment again.
  • Daylight Activity – Bearded Dragons become less nocturnal during the winter months but will become alert as soon as they start feeling warmer temperatures in the mornings and during the day. Be aware if your pet starts becoming active during daylight hours again as it may be seeking food or warmth.

Gradually Increasing Activity and Exposure to Light

Once you notice these signs that your pet is emerging from brumation, it is important to gradually increase its activity levels by providing more food and exposure to natural sunlight (if available).

Allow your dragon some time to bask in natural light for about 15 minutes per day; do not immediately take them out for extended periods in direct sunlight or heat lamps as this could shock their system after months of hibernation and cause dehydration or heatstroke if not monitored carefully.

During this transition period, avoid giving them large meals at once since they may not be able to digest them properly yet after a long period without eating; rather feed them smaller portions multiple times throughout the day until they are back into their regular routine of eating consistently again.

Monitoring the Bearded Dragon’s Health after Brumation

After spending several months inactive, it is important for owners to take their Beardies for regular vet checks throughout the transition period back into normal activity level so potential illnesses can be quickly identified and treated if necessary.

The vet will typically take blood tests to check vitality levels and any existing infections, as well as perform a physical exam to look out for swollen limbs, bumps, and lumps. These could indicate underlying conditions such as Metabolic Bone Disease or parasites among other issues which can develop if left untreated after long periods without proper nutrition or exercise.


Brumation is a process that many reptiles, such as the bearded dragon, experience naturally. It is similar to hibernation but occurs during warmer months and is driven by climate, not temperature. Although brumation is a normal part of a bearded dragon’s life cycle, it’s important for reptile owners to be aware of the process and reactions to ensure their pet’s well-being.

Brumation in bearded dragons should always be carefully monitored. Owners should keep an eye out for subtle changes in behavior or appetite which could indicate the development of illnesses that could go unnoticed due to lack of movement during brumation.

Furthermore, when transitioning back into regular activity levels, owners should ensure an adequate supply of food, natural sunlight exposure (if available ), attention from veterinary professionals on a regular basis, and adequate hydration levels.

Additional Resources and Information

  • “The Complete Guide to Bearded Dragons” by Debra M. Levitt
  • “Bearded Dragons: A Complete Guide” by Richard Bartlett and Patricia Bartlett
  • “Bearded Dragon Manual” by Philippe De Vosjoli, Brian Viets and Robert Mailloux
  • “Bearded Dragons: Understanding, Care and Breeding” by Marcia Mcnett
  • “Bearded Dragons for Dummies” by Liz Palika
avatar William
William is a respected pet enthusiast with expertise in reptiles and birds. With extensive experience caring for these animals, he shares his knowledge through engaging and informative articles in various publications. He is an active member of pet-related organizations, volunteering regularly at shelters and promoting animal welfare and conservation. read more...

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