Understanding Brumation in Bearded Dragons: Signs, Preparation, and Care

Bearded dragons, popular reptile pets known for their unique appearance and docile nature, go through a natural process called brumation. In this article, we will explore the concept of brumation, its significance, and provide valuable insights for bearded dragon owners. By understanding the signs, preparing for brumation, and caring for your pet during this period, you can ensure their well-being and make the experience as comfortable as possible.

What is Brumation and Why Do Bearded Dragons Experience It?

Brumation is a state of dormancy or slowed-down activity observed in reptiles, similar to hibernation in mammals. It typically occurs during the cooler months when bearded dragons naturally respond to changes in temperature and daylight hours. Brumation serves as a survival mechanism, allowing them to conserve energy and endure unfavorable environmental conditions.

Signs of Bearded Dragon Brumation

  1. Lethargy and Increased Sleep: One of the primary signs of brumation is a significant decrease in activity levels. Bearded dragons become lethargic, spending most of their time sleeping or resting.
  2. Loss of Appetite or Complete Refusal of Food: During brumation, bearded dragons may show a decreased interest in food or completely stop eating. This is a normal response to conserve energy.
  3. Frequent Hiding or Burrowing: Bearded dragons may seek out hiding spots or burrow into their substrate more often during brumation. This behavior provides them with a sense of security and helps maintain a stable body temperature.
  4. Less Frequent Bowel Movements: As their metabolism slows down, bearded dragons experience a decrease in bowel movements. This is another natural adaptation to conserve energy during brumation.

Preparing for Bearded Dragon Brumation

To ensure a smooth brumating period for your bearded dragon, it’s essential to make necessary preparations:

  1. Adjusting the Temperature and Light Cycle: Gradually decrease the temperature and adjust the light cycle in their enclosure to mimic the natural changes in the environment. This signals to your bearded dragon that it’s time for brumation.
  2. Providing a Suitable Brumation Area: Create a cozy brumation area within the enclosure, using hides or specially designed brumation boxes. This secluded space should be dark, quiet, and well-insulated to maintain a stable temperature.
  3. Reducing Feeding Frequency: Slowly reduce the frequency of feeding leading up to brumation. This helps your bearded dragon gradually empty its digestive system and minimizes the risk of impaction.

Caring for a Bearded Dragon During Brumation

While your bearded dragon is in brumation, it’s crucial to provide proper care and monitoring:

  1. Monitoring the Bearded Dragon’s Health: Regularly check the bearded dragon’s weight, hydration levels, and overall condition during brumation. Any significant changes or concerns should be addressed by a reptile veterinarian.
  2. Providing Water and Hydration: Although bearded dragons may not actively drink water during brumation, it’s important to offer a shallow water dish within the enclosure. This allows them to rehydrate if needed.
  3. Avoiding Handling the Bearded Dragon: Minimize handling and disturbances during brumation, as it can interrupt their resting cycle and potentially stress them out. Allow them to rest undisturbed, but maintain necessary monitoring.

Ending Bearded Dragon Brumation

As the brumating period nears its end, it’s essential to gradually help your bearded dragon transition back to a normal routine:

  1. Signs that Brumation is Ending: Look for signs of increased activity, improved appetite, and more frequent bowel movements. These indicate that your bearded dragon is coming out of brumation.
  2. Gradually Increasing Temperature and Light Cycle: Gradually adjust the temperature and light cycle in the enclosure to mimic the natural environmental changes of the upcoming season. This helps your bearded dragon adjust back to a regular routine.
  3. Resuming Feeding and Handling: Once your bearded dragon shows consistent signs of coming out of brumation, you can gradually reintroduce feeding and handling. Start with small, easily digestible meals and slowly increase as their appetite returns.


Understanding brumation is crucial for bearded dragon owners to ensure their pets’ well-being during this natural process. By recognizing the signs, preparing appropriately, and providing attentive care, you can support your bearded dragon through the brumating period. Remember, each bearded dragon’s experience may vary, so monitoring their health and consulting a reptile veterinarian when needed is essential. Embrace this unique aspect of their biology and ensure your bearded dragon’s comfort and safety.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if my bearded dragon is brumating?
Signs of brumation in bearded dragons include increased sleep, reduced activity levels, loss of appetite or food refusal, frequent hiding or burrowing, and less frequent bowel movements.

What months do bearded dragons brumate?
Bearded dragons typically brumate during the cooler months, often starting in late fall and continuing through winter. However, the exact timing may vary among individuals.

How long does bearded dragon brumation last?
The duration of brumation can vary significantly, ranging from a few weeks to several months. It depends on factors such as the age, health, and environmental conditions of the individual bearded dragon.

What to do while your bearded dragon is in brumation?
During your bearded dragon’s brumation, focus on providing a suitable brumation area, monitoring their health, and avoiding unnecessary disturbances. Offer water for hydration and maintain regular check-ups with a reptile veterinarian to ensure their well-being.

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