For those of us who are not experienced with bearded dragons, there will be a point in time when your healthy bearded dragon will become inactive, not hungry, and lethargic. Unfortunately, these are all symptoms of a sick beardie, so I am sure some of us will go crazy when this happens.
After ruling out that your bearded dragon has proper lighting (UVA, heat, and UVB), has a proper diet, isn’t impacted, is hydrated, and is in good standing, you can now assume that your bearded dragon is going into what is called “brumation”. Brumation is just another term to describe hibernation, but for bearded dragons.
Symptoms of Bearded Dragon Brumation
Right before your bearded dragon goes into brumation, you can expect your bearded dragon to become inactive, lethargic, and lazy.
They will usually look for the cooler side of the tank and try to hide under something (to rid the light from their eyes). They will lay down and rest most of the day with very drowsy eyes. Eventually, they end up falling asleep.
How Long is Brumation?
This all depends on the bearded dragon and it’s conditions. He may sleep for days, weeks or even months. Although I have never encountered a bearded dragon waking up during brumation, people say they can sometimes wake up, grab a snack, bask for a little, then go back to sleep, so keep an eye out for sleepwalkers.
What Should I Do?
Don’t change a thing. Keep the lighting schedule the same as you would if he was awake and active. If you do see your bearded dragon waking up and walking around, offer a snack and some water. He may or may not go back to sleep.
Can I Prevent Brumation?
I have never tried to prevent it as this is a natural thing for bearded dragons to do so it may be wise to leave them alone.
Do they Get Cranky?
Bearded dragons can sometimes get cranky if you mess with them prior to going into brumation. It may be best to let them do their own thing at this time and to avoid handling. If you do handle them, watch out for their angry face.
Hydrating a Bearded Dragon During Brumation
In the wild, bearded dragons will bury themselves in the soil when they go into brumation so that they can hydrate using their vent to suck up moisture in the soil. Since it’s not recommended to put soil in their terrarium, you can grab your beardie while he is sleeping and soak him for 20 mins once a week using warm water during brumation. Make sure to keep his mouth and nose above water while doing this.
To read a very lengthy detailed report on bearded dragon brumation, check out this article Denise wrote. It’s 6 pages long, so make sure you read every page.