Many first time owners of bearded dragons have experienced being scared due to their pets’ excessive sleeping- so much so 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.