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As a bearded dragon owner, you’ve probably noticed some peculiar behaviors that come with these fascinating reptiles. They’re not your average house pet, after all. One such behavior that often perplexes new owners is the brumation process, during which dragons seem to ‘hibernate,’ leading to changes in food consumption, energy levels, and more.

So, what can you do when your bearded dragon decides to brumate? We have compiled this guide to help you understand and care for your dragon during this unique phase of their life.

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Understanding Brumation in Bearded Dragons

Brumation is a form of hibernation that is common among reptiles, including bearded dragons. As the temperatures fall, some reptiles enter into this dormant state, which can last several weeks or months. During brumation, bearded dragons will eat less, sleep more, and become less active overall.

Brumation is a natural process for these reptiles, and it is essential to their reproductive cycle. Males typically brumate before breeding, while females might go through this process before laying eggs. Understanding brumation and its role in the life of your dragon will help you provide the best care possible for your pet.

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However, not every bearded dragon will brumate, and even those that do might not follow a predictable schedule. Each dragon is unique, and you’ll need to observe your pet carefully to understand their specific needs and behaviors.

How to Recognize if Your Bearded Dragon is Brumating

Brumation in bearded dragons can be confusing, especially for first-time owners. These reptiles might slow down, eat less, and generally seem less interested in their surroundings. Some might even burrow and hide for extended periods.

Understanding the signs of brumation can help you monitor your bearded dragon’s health during this time. If your dragon is eating less, sleeping more, and has decreased activity levels, they may be preparing to brumate. Other signs include a lack of bowel movements and burrowing or hiding behavior.

Remember, these signs can also indicate health problems, so it’s essential to consult a vet if you’re unsure. Your vet can rule out health issues and confirm whether your dragon is indeed preparing to brumate.

Caring for Your Bearded Dragon During Brumation

Once you’ve established your bearded dragon is brumating, it’s essential to adjust their care accordingly. Since your dragon will be less active and have a decreased appetite, you’ll need to reduce their food intake. Overfeeding during brumation can cause health problems, as undigested food can rot in the stomach.

However, even though your dragon isn’t eating much, they’ll still need water. Be sure to keep fresh water available at all times. Some dragons might not drink on their own, in which case you can gently bathe them in shallow, warm water once a week.

Temperature regulation is also crucial during brumation. The ambient temperature in their enclosure should be kept around 70-75°F, with a basking spot of about 80°F. This will allow your dragon to maintain their body temperature without causing them to come out of brumation prematurely.

Bearded Dragons and Egg-Laying

Female bearded dragons that are preparing to lay eggs might also go into brumation. Before laying, the female will slow down, eat less, and enter a semi-dormant state. After several weeks, she will emerge, eat more, and start laying her eggs.

It’s important to provide a special laying box filled with moist soil or sand for your dragon to lay her eggs. Once the eggs are laid, they should be carefully transferred to an incubator set at around 84°F.

Bear in mind, the brumation process in females is not always related to egg-laying. Some female dragons will brumate without producing eggs. Also, not all bearded dragons will brumate at all, regardless of sex or breeding status. Thus, always watch your dragon’s behavior closely and consult a reptile vet if you have concerns.

Wrapping It Up

As an owner, it’s crucial to stay informed about the unique behaviors of bearded dragons, including brumation. By understanding what brumation is, how to recognize it, and how to care for your brumating dragon, you’ll be able to provide the best possible care for your pet.

Remember, each dragon is unique. Not every bearded dragon will brumate, and the timing and duration of brumation can vary widely. Observe your dragon, consult your vet, and adjust your care accordingly. Your dragon’s health and well-being rely on your understanding and prompt action.

The world of bearded dragons is fascinating, full of unique behaviors and experiences. By familiarizing yourself with these, you can ensure that you’re providing the best care possible for your bearded dragon. Your dragon’s health and happiness are in your hands.

Feeding Habits of Bearded Dragons

Understanding the diet of bearded dragons is critical to their care. Bearded dragons are omnivores, meaning they eat a combination of both plants and meat. Their diet typically includes feeder insects, such as crickets, mealworms, and wax worms. However, it is important to remember that while feeder insects are a crucial part of their diet, they should not make up the entirety of it.

Vegetables, fruits, and occasionally pinky mice should also be included in a well-rounded diet for your bearded dragon. Jelly pots are often a favorite treat for dragons, offering hydration as well as a tasty snack. These jelly pots are specially designed for reptiles and are a convenient way to supplement their diet.

During brumation, the feeding habits of your dragon will significantly change. They will eat less and may even refuse food. This is normal and should not alarm you. However, always ensure that they have access to fresh water.

When it comes to baby dragons, their diet consists of more insects than that of an adult dragon. As they grow, their diet should gradually shift to include more plants and less protein. Consult with a vet or a bearded dragon care guide to ensure your dragon is getting the balanced diet it needs.

Signs of Good Health in Bearded Dragons

A healthy bearded dragon is active, alert, and has bright and clear eyes. It should have a strong appetite and regular bowel movements. Their scales should be smooth without any discoloration or spots. A healthy bearded dragon will not show any signs of weakness or lethargy, and their weight should be consistent with their size.

In contrast, signs of an unhealthy bearded dragon can include lack of appetite, lethargy, rapid weight loss, irregular bowel movements, or a dull and lifeless appearance. If you notice any of these signs, consult a vet immediately.

While brumation may cause some of these signs, it is important to differentiate between this natural process and potential health issues. Always have your dragon checked by a vet if you’re unsure.

The health of your bearded dragon also relies heavily on the care and environment you provide. Ensure they have a clean and appropriately sized living space with access to heat, light, and shaded areas.

##Conclusion

Owning a bearded dragon can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience, but it also requires commitment and understanding of their unique behaviors and needs. Familiarizing yourself with the brumation process, feeding habits, and signs of good health will arm you with the necessary knowledge to provide the best care for your dragon.

Whether your dragon is preparing to brumate, lay eggs, or simply going about their day-to-day life, it’s important to remember that your dragon’s health is your responsibility. Regular check-ups, a balanced diet, sufficient hydration, and a comfortable temperature-controlled environment are all essential to maintaining your bearded dragon’s health.

As a bearded dragon owner, your pet’s well-being is in your hands. Be observant, stay informed, and always prioritize the health of your dragon above all else. With proper care and attention, you can ensure a long, healthy, and happy life for your bearded dragon.