Brumating while underweight?

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Brumating while underweight?

Postby MrsNoggin » Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:10 am

At the start of September we rescued a 6 or 7 year old female. Have been working to get her healthy again and have managed to get her weight up from 350g to 380g. She's blind on one side, so gets very frustrated eating bugs and missing them, so it's slow going.

The past week she's turned down all bugs and will only eat greens, squash and apple if I literally poke her in the face with them. She's sleeping more and has made a new bed in the top corner at the cool end of her tank. I'm recognising the signs of brumation, our previous lizard was a haphazard brumater and did week long naps and woke for a couple of days on and off from November to February.

My question is - will she be OK to brumate while still not in peak condition? I don't know her habits, whether she'll conk out completely if I don't wake her and put her under the basking lamp, like I have been this week. I'm not super happy with the idea of her not eating for a loooong time.

Do I just let her sleep? Or should I keep waking her every afternoon and putting her in the hot spot and poking her with vegetables?

(edited to say also, she's not finished the shed she started when we got her, still has a patchy head, belly and legs. Is that gonna interfere at all, or cause her problems if she goes under ?)
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Re: Brumating while underweight?

Postby MrsNoggin » Sun Oct 18, 2020 3:07 am

Thought I should probs answer some of these questions, bc I haven't yet. In case it helps.


How old is your dragon? 7ish
How long have you had your dragon? 2 months
How long is your dragon? 17or 18 inches, but missing a chunk of tail.
What is the sex of your dragon? Female, but have never checked
What size enclosure do you have your dragon in? 75gall Wood with sliding glass doors.
What type substrate do you have on the bottom of your tank? Slate tile and carpet. She was on soil sand mix when we got her, so kept half her tank like that in case she liked it or dug in it. She didn't. It's gone now.
Do you use UVB lights? Yup, exo terra repti glo 10.0 tube.
How close can your dragon get to the UVB? Spends 12-14hrs a day with 6-10 inches of it.
Do you use a separate basking bulb? White bulb on a manual dimmer to keep temp.
What are the basking temps? 35C
What is the cool side temp? 20-25C
Do you take the temps with a stick on thermometer, a digital thermometer with a wire and a probe end or a temp gun? Digital wire and probes at each end constantly, laser temp gun checked morning and afternoon bc I'm paranoid after a bad experience years ago with a crappy thermometer.
Where exactly are you taking your basking temps? Splat in the middle of the log where she sits. She blocks it sometimes with her belly.
Do you use a heat rock or heat pad? No!
What do you feed your dragon? 12pm - veg (spring greens, kale, lambs lettuce, rocket, etc. ). 4-6pm (dep on work schedule) fruit & veg or bugs alternating days (squash, carrot, apple, blueberries, strawberries, etc. Or superworms, dubias or locusts, usually 5 or so of them). The timing is what works and when she wants to eat. She will flat out refuse any earlier in the day and the salad gets wilty.
Do you gutload (feed) your crickets, worms, etc? Yes. Mainly with the veg that she doesn't eat and bug grub meal stuff.
Do you use vitamin or calcium supplements? What brand(s)? Komodo NutriCal with d3 and vits on the bugs a couple of times a week.
Is your dragon having regular bowel movements (poops)? 3 or 4 a week.
Do you bath your dragon? How often? Every Sunday afternoon.
Do you mist your dragon or offer water other than in the bath? Sometimes if she hasn't drunk in the bath I offer her water from a dropper for a couple of days afterwards at meal times. Sometimes she takes it, sometimes she looks like she wants to kill me.
Have you gotten a vet check and fecal done? She went to the vet and had a fecal just before we got her.
Does your dragon share an enclosure with another dragon? Nope.
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Re: Brumating while underweight?

Postby CooperDragon » Mon Oct 19, 2020 7:44 am

It's probably not ideal if she is going into brumation while not in peak condition, but I would probably let her, to an extent. I would probably check in on her every couple few days and get a weight measurement and offer some water and a little bit of salad. These interruptions will give you useful data and may keep her from going into a super deep brumation (or she may just completely ignore it and go into deep brumation anyway). As long as her weight doesn't drop a ton, it should be OK. Ultimately they know what they're doing so I try not to interfere too much. You might want to try bumping your basking surface temp up a little bit. 38-42 or so is a good surface temp range right on the basking surface. Areas around the main basking surface should be around 32-36 or so and then a gradient continuing down to around 24-30 (roughly) on the cool side surfaces. Overnight, temps should stay between about 18-23 or so.
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Re: Brumating while underweight?

Postby MrsNoggin » Mon Oct 19, 2020 7:55 am

Thank you! I'll see how we go, and keep a close eye on her.

Also thanks for the basking temp. She didn't seem to like it very hot when she first came, sat herself out of the main basking spot all day. But I'll nudge it up again and see if that's changed in the last few weeks. Might wake her up again, tbh!
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Re: Brumating while underweight?

Postby CooperDragon » Mon Oct 19, 2020 7:57 am

The ranges I gave are a general place to start. As you mentioned, observe her behavior over time. If she is basking a lot right under the light, bump the temps up a little. If she stays to the side and seems to prefer cooler temps, bring them down a bit. It's more about the gradient and offering her plenty of temps to choose from and then you can fine tune for her preference as you go.
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