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.
Despite their fierce appearance, beardies are docile, attention loving creatures and make great pets for people allergic to fur and want a low maintenance pet. Even children can look after beardies in a responsible manner.
Despite the fact that many people own beardies, there are many owners who have not heard of the word brumation. They only find out about it later when they notice the symptoms the beardie is displaying. The owner then panics and rushes their little dragon to the vet only to find out that it’s all perfectly normal and brumation is just a cycle that beardies go through.
So what is brumation?
A simple explanation would be 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.
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 beardie is used to eating dies 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. A bearded dragon needs heat to digest its food and since the weather is cold, the beardie does not eat since it can’t digest its food. 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 either.
Many beardie owners often wonder why their little dragon bromates even when it has all the creature comforts such as a steady supply of food, a warm basking area, etc. The answer is quite simply evolution. These creatures which hail from, Australia, which has some of the harshest weather conditions have evolved over hundreds of years. Old habits die hard.
So, when your beardie starts brumation, don’t take it personally and think you did a poor job. It’s all natural. They will lose their appetite and not eat much. It may reach a point where they stop eating totally. Do not force feed them.
Just make sure there is water available nearby. In the wild, the beardies would burrow in the soil and draw moisture from it into their vents. In your vivarium, they will not be able to do that. So, they may sluggishly wake up and go have a sip of water every now and then.
You may place a little bit of vegetable in the tank just in case the beardie fancies a small nibble. 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 it or trouble it or the brumation period will last even longer.
That’s pretty much it in a nutshell.