Bearded Dragon Brumation
The popularity of bearded dragons is definitely on the rise. Thousands of people all over the world are discovering that bearded dragons, also known as ‘beardies’, make excellent pets. So what on earth is Bearded Dragon Brumation? Well, before I get into it…let me note….
Despite their fierce appearance, beardies are docile, attention loving creatures who make great pets for people allergic to fur and those who want a lower maintenance pet. Even children can look after beardies in a responsible way. For more information read Is a Bearded Dragon the Right Pet for You?
Even though many people own beardies, there are many who have not heard of the word brumation. I had not heard the term, nor experienced it with my own bearded dragon, only running across it while reading The Bearded Dragon Guide. I consider myself very lucky to have found information about brumation before experiencing it with my own beardie!
You might not be so lucky. You could only find out about it when you notice the symptoms the beardie is displaying. As a responsible owner you panic and rush your little dragon to the vet only to find out that it’s all perfectly normal. That brumation is just a cycle that beardies go through. Again, so lucky to not have ever gone through this. But you do need to know about it.
What is Brumation?
A simple explanation is hibernation. Just like mammals such as bears, bearded dragons hibernate too. The period could range from a month to a few months. This is nothing to be alarmed about. In order to know why they do it, we need to look at their behavior in the wild.
Do Not Worry – Nature Runs Its Course
In the wild, there are times during the year when it gets cold and the bearded dragon has difficulty finding food. Vegetation stops growing. The insects that the bearded dragon eats die off and food is scarce. Even finding water is difficult since the dew which they lick off leaves becomes frozen.
To cope with this change in environment and conserve energy, the beardies hibernate. Bearded dragons need heat to digest their food and since the weather is cold and digestion is not possible, beardies do not eat. Worry not. They do not die of starvation. They have the unique ability to slow down their metabolism to a rate where they do not lose much weight and their health is not adversely affected.
Many beardie owners often wonder why their little dragon bromates even when he has all the creature comforts such as a steady supply of food, a warm basking area, plenty of water, just to name a few. The answer is quite simple – evolution. These creatures, having originated in Australia – a place with some of the harshest weather conditions, have evolved over hundreds of years. Hence, old habits die hard.
Do Not Force Feed
So, when your beardie starts brumation, don’t take it personally and think you did a poor job. It’s just nature. Your bearded dragon will lose his appetite and not eat much. He may reach a point where he stops eating altogether. Do NOT force feed him.
Provide Plenty of Fresh Water
Just make sure there is water available nearby. In the wild, bearded dragons burrow in the soil and draw moisture from it into their vents. In your vivarium, your beardie cannot to do this. So, he may sluggishly wake up and go have a sip of water now and then.
Provide a Small Amount of Fresh Greens
You may place a bit of vegetable in the tank for when your beardie fancies a small nibble. Make sure it is fresh always.
Allow Nature to Take Its Course
Other than that, there is not much else you can do. You will have to let nature take its course and let your beardie rest. Do not wake him or trouble him or the brumation period will last even longer.
That’s pretty much it in a nutshell.
As a beardie owner, you need reference guides. Learn as much as you can to successfully keep your beardie around for optimal time. It is such a rewarding experience! Responsibility and knowledge are key to successful Bearded Dragon management.
There are several excellent guides available. The list to the left provides you with several choices. They are a great investment for both you and your pet, taking the guess-work out of the equation.
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