FYI - "Wild" Brumation Behavior

Claudiusx

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator

Introduction


Brumation is a decently misunderstood aspect of keeping bearded dragons. There is a lot of fear surrounding it. There is a lot of misinformation surrounding it too. But, it is a very natural process for bearded dragons, and one that we just have to trust them to know what they are doing.


Recently, I came across a post on Instagram by a pretty big time breeder. This breeder has outdoor pens for her dragons which allows her to give her dragons some nice outdoor time. What striked me as extremely interesting was her caption on this picture: (permission was gotten from her to post her pictures and her words to this site)
31715-8028768473.jpg
At first glance, nothing is too out of the ordinary. The dragon looks big and healthy, just a little bit sandy. But what is interesting about this picture is the story behind it.

  • FairyTail_Dragons_LLC

    Thought I would share this photo with the dragon community. This girl has been “MIA” for several weeks now. One day she was out and basking, the next morning she was “gone”. Just a short time ago she made the decision to resurface and bask. She had a number of options provided to her to seek shelter and brumate when she was ready. What do you see in this photo? ***Edit to provide more info since I’m getting so many questions in pm... Yes... This is a natural behavior for them!
So just to reiterate what is being said here. This dragon was out in her pen one day, and missing the next. She was not worried that the dragon escaped, as she know her pens were built well. This dragon dug itself a hole, and slept completely buried for several weeks. And then one day, decided it wanted to wake up, dug itself out, and proceed to move on with her life.

No one was going and checking on the dragon every few days. No one was offering it food or water. It just slept, completely intombed in sand for several weeks.
And this isn't the only one of Fairytail's dragons who has done this. This picture was posted a few weeks ago also.
31715-7880881712.jpg
With the caption:

  • FairyTail_Dragons_LLC

    When you are digging up eggs from one girl and accidentally uncover her brumating house mate.

So, this dragon was also completely buried and sleeping. No mention is made of how long, it could have been a few hours, a few days, or a few weeks. But, she was only uncovered because Fairytail was digging out eggs that another female had just laid. So it must have been fairly deep.

So what is the point of all of this?



Well the point is simply to show that brumation is a natural behavior that dragons have been doing for as long as they've been around. They know how to do it, when to do it, and why to do it. Even if it doesn't make sense to us, it makes sense to them. And, they are not as fragile as one might think while brumating. There is no need to worry about your brumating dragon going a few days or a few weeks without eating. Relax, let nature take it's course, and buy another dragon to fill your free time :mrgreen:

Remember, if your dragon is healthy and starts brumating, there is nothing to worry about. If you have husbandry issues or your dragon has/is sick, you should not just instantly assume brumation.

-Brandon
 

kingofnobbys

BD.org Sicko
I keep saying - CONTEXT IS EVERYTHING .

What is the climate these pet bearded dragons were living in ? Florida is not exactly year round hot from what I'd read.
https://www.currentresults.com/Weather/Florida/average-florida-temperatures-by-month.php
that is quite similar to the temperature ranges on a monthly basis to that in the southern extremes of the natural range of wild bearded dragons. So these dragons if kept out doors will be responding the cold days and nights and reduced UV as the cool months approach.

Brumation is keyed in the wild to
- food availability ( in many places insects become very hard to find as does herbs and native fruits
- in some areas it gets quite cold ( under 20 degC during the day ) , even frosty at night.

While in other areas, food is abundant year round and it's warm year round, and hey guess what , reptiles like bearded dragons don't brumate in these areas.
Case in point, we lived in Port Hedland for 3 years , I was a consultant engineer at the BHP's DRI full scale pilot plant , it's a location that has only two seasons , the DRY ( when it's hot and dry = winter and it's never cold at night ) and the WET (when it's very hot , and the monsoons arrive ).Wild (bearded) dragons and all other reptiles and amphibians are active year round there and were frequently seen around the site and town , and port and beach .
People in Hedland who I met who had pet reptiles , nearly all kept the larger reptiles outdoors in pits .
 

lunarminx

Member
My sister received a baby bearded dragon Christmas eve 2019. Her set up was a thrive 40b front door opening terrarium 36x18x18 kit. I ended up ordering a 12% arcadia T5ho for my anoles as they would hang on the top of their breeze like the uvb wasn't enough. I flipped that and rescreened the new top with 1/4 inch hardware cloth and gave my sister the 12% arcadia. Her basking was 106-100 depending where she was laying. She grew really well and ate really good. Suddenly mid May 2020 she went off all feeders but maybe one or two a week. We gave her reptiboost nightly and her growing basically stopped. When we could get her in the vets in August, everything was great, he said try different feeders. We have anoles also and keep lots of different feeders around for all. Nope, even tried fff, she looked at them like you have to be kidding me. In Sept 2020 early she started running around like crazy, wearing two people out trailing from room to room all over. At this point Puff is about 10 months old, never mated. Most say she was too young to be gravid. The digging started and she would not stay in a dig box so it went in her new home a 4x2x2 zen. Sept 26th 2020 she laid 23 infertile eggs. Three days later she started eating again and has been but slowed down the past few days. She passed another vet appointment, eating well she started growing again. Before she laid she was 363 grams and she lost 42 grams. Puff is gravid again and weighs 409 grams. While she wasn't eating she stayed pretty much the middle to the cool end of the cage. She is following her natural instincts of her ancestors in Australia (Some dragons may even be so in tune with their instincts, that they go into brumation in Spring or Summer, despite being in the Northern Hemisphere!) It seems that she followed Australia's brumation time, she is now following their mating/laying season too. We now fully expect her to brumate again this coming spring. So funny, this little girl! This is the article that helped me understand what and why she brumated compared to others over here.

This is her growth record.
Date Weight in Grams Length in inches

2.14.20 39.9 9
2.21.20 52.2 10
2.28.20 68.4 10.5
3.6.20 86.5 11.5
3.13.20 108.4 12
3.29.20 168 13.5
4.5.20 187 14
4.12.20 212 14.5
4.19.20 234 15
4.26.20 253 15
5.4.20 265 15
5.11.20 282 15
5.18.20 291 15
5.25.20 307 15.25
6.6.20 310 15.5
6.13.20 319 15.5
6.21.20 328 15.75
6.28.20 331 15.75
07.15.20 342 15.75
8.7.20 344 15.75
8.17.20 352 15.75
9.6.20 358 16
9.13.20 367 16
9.20.20 363 16
9.27.20 321 16
9.29.20 338 16
10.2.20 328 16
10.6.20 348 16
10.8.20 356 16
10.13.20 368 16
10.16.20 383 16.25
10.23.20 386 16.5
10.30.20 409 16.5

https://reptile.guide/bearded-dragon-brumation/?fbclid=IwAR1g0PByxzYgute-Rt5KbBIUUTEwxjq_ub8kzJXbic05K3KCGf9HEkY5-sc
 

Jes

Member
Beardie name(s)
Obidiah

Introduction


Brumation is a decently misunderstood aspect of keeping bearded dragons. There is a lot of fear surrounding it. There is a lot of misinformation surrounding it too. But, it is a very natural process for bearded dragons, and one that we just have to trust them to know what they are doing.


Recently, I came across a post on Instagram by a pretty big time breeder. This breeder has outdoor pens for her dragons which allows her to give her dragons some nice outdoor time. What striked me as extremely interesting was her caption on this picture: (permission was gotten from her to post her pictures and her words to this site)
31715-8028768473.jpg
At first glance, nothing is too out of the ordinary. The dragon looks big and healthy, just a little bit sandy. But what is interesting about this picture is the story behind it.

  • FairyTail_Dragons_LLC

    Thought I would share this photo with the dragon community. This girl has been “MIA” for several weeks now. One day she was out and basking, the next morning she was “gone”. Just a short time ago she made the decision to resurface and bask. She had a number of options provided to her to seek shelter and brumate when she was ready. What do you see in this photo? ***Edit to provide more info since I’m getting so many questions in pm... Yes... This is a natural behavior for them!
So just to reiterate what is being said here. This dragon was out in her pen one day, and missing the next. She was not worried that the dragon escaped, as she know her pens were built well. This dragon dug itself a hole, and slept completely buried for several weeks. And then one day, decided it wanted to wake up, dug itself out, and proceed to move on with her life.

No one was going and checking on the dragon every few days. No one was offering it food or water. It just slept, completely intombed in sand for several weeks.
And this isn't the only one of Fairytail's dragons who has done this. This picture was posted a few weeks ago also.
31715-7880881712.jpg
With the caption:

  • FairyTail_Dragons_LLC

    When you are digging up eggs from one girl and accidentally uncover her brumating house mate.

So, this dragon was also completely buried and sleeping. No mention is made of how long, it could have been a few hours, a few days, or a few weeks. But, she was only uncovered because Fairytail was digging out eggs that another female had just laid. So it must have been fairly deep.

So what is the point of all of this?



Well the point is simply to show that brumation is a natural behavior that dragons have been doing for as long as they've been around. They know how to do it, when to do it, and why to do it. Even if it doesn't make sense to us, it makes sense to them. And, they are not as fragile as one might think while brumating. There is no need to worry about your brumating dragon going a few days or a few weeks without eating. Relax, let nature take it's course, and buy another dragon to fill your free time :mrgreen:

Remember, if your dragon is healthy and starts brumating, there is nothing to worry about. If you have husbandry issues or your dragon has/is sick, you should not just instantly assume brumation.

-Brandon
Is there an age when they start to brumate or can even a baby (3 months old) brumate?
 

xp29

Gray-bearded Member
Photo Comp Winner
Beardie name(s)
Zen , Ruby ,Snicker Doodles, Sweet Pea, Sinatra
Its highly unlikely or healthy for a baby. Thats when they are putting on size and they need a TON of food. They should not even consider it until they reach adulthood/near adulthood.
 

Claudiusx

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Original Poster
It's different from dragon to dragon. IMO/IME it's based more on size of the dragon as opposed to age of the dragon (up until a certain point.)

It used to be relatively rare for dragons to brumate under a year old. But with recent pushes of over indulging your dragons on food, many dragons are growing to near full size prior to a year, and because of this, more dragons are brumating earlier and earlier.

A young still growing dragon will not naturally brumate as it is a big disadvantage for it to not continue to eat and try to gain size. If a dragon of 3 months old is exhibiting brumation behavior, it's not brumation and is likely something else.

Making sure your husbandry and your dragons diet is up to par would be an important first step.

-Brandon
 

Jes

Member
Beardie name(s)
Obidiah
It's different from dragon to dragon. IMO/IME it's based more on size of the dragon as opposed to age of the dragon (up until a certain point.)

It used to be relatively rare for dragons to brumate under a year old. But with recent pushes of over indulging your dragons on food, many dragons are growing to near full size prior to a year, and because of this, more dragons are brumating earlier and earlier.

A young still growing dragon will not naturally brumate as it is a big disadvantage for it to not continue to eat and try to gain size. If a dragon of 3 months old is exhibiting brumation behavior, it's not brumation and is likely something else.

Making sure your husbandry and your dragons diet is up to par would be an important first step.

-Brandon
Obidiah is not showing signs of brumation but as a new beardie owner I was wondering if or when I should start looking for those signs. Still working on husbandry and diet, getting a LOT of help here and really appreciate it!
 

xp29

Gray-bearded Member
Photo Comp Winner
Beardie name(s)
Zen , Ruby ,Snicker Doodles, Sweet Pea, Sinatra
You likely won't see brumation until a couple years old (depending on your specific dragon) like Claudiusx said it depends on their growth rate, and also on their light cycles, and temps. In the wild shorter, cooler days triggers them yo go into brumation. its a survival mechanism to carry them through when it's to cold and food isn't readily available.
 

Jes

Member
Beardie name(s)
Obidiah
You likely won't see brumation until a couple years old (depending on your specific dragon) like Claudiusx said it depends on their growth rate, and also on their light cycles, and temps. In the wild shorter, cooler days triggers them yo go into brumation. its a survival mechanism to carry them through when it's to cold and food isn't readily available.
Obadiah is now 5 months old, 187 grams and 15 1/4" long. I just came in at 2:30 pm and he is sleeping in his cave, he just finished shedding and ate normal this morning. Is this the start of brumation? Is he too young? If so what should I do. Thanks for your help!
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 5 and Blaze is 3
Obadiah is now 5 months old, 187 grams and 15 1/4" long. I just came in at 2:30 pm and he is sleeping in his cave, he just finished shedding and ate normal this morning. Is this the start of brumation? Is he too young? If so what should I do. Thanks for your help!
Too young for brumation -- go over the UVB and surface basking temps-- if any of this is off we want to catch it now NO coils for UVB and temps need to be taken w / a digital probe thermometer
 

Jes

Member
Beardie name(s)
Obidiah
Too young for brumation -- go over the UVB and surface basking temps-- if any of this is off we want to catch it now NO coils for UVB and temps need to be taken w / a digital probe thermometer
Have a tube uvb Arcadia 12%, basking Temps with probe 110 and uvb with solar meter in that spot at 3.6, however he also basks further from lights where ir temp gun reads between 102 and down to 95 uvb from 2.6 - 3. I thought he was too young but Claudiusx mentioned size may be relevant which is why I included that info. I bought him 7-29-22 (from Petsmart so age was a guess) but at that time he was 6.5" and 28 grams and I was told he was around 2 months. I get ALL of my info from this site because when I first started looking for good info there was just too much contradictory info out there. I found this site and trust the info I get from it.
 

KarrieRee

BD.org Sicko
Beardie name(s)
Hiccup he is 5 and Blaze is 3
Have a tube uvb Arcadia 12%, basking Temps with probe 110 and uvb with solar meter in that spot at 3.6, however he also basks further from lights where ir temp gun reads between 102 and down to 95 uvb from 2.6 - 3. I thought he was too young but Claudiusx mentioned size may be relevant which is why I included that info. I bought him 7-29-22 (from Petsmart so age was a guess) but at that time he was 6.5" and 28 grams and I was told he was around 2 months. I get ALL of my info from this site because when I first started looking for good info there was just too much contradictory info out there. I found this site and trust the info I get from it.
I would invest in a digital probe thermometer -- hammocks if your using one IR guns cannot read off of them and or certain materials basking decor is made out of- to me he is not of good enough weight to go thru brumation - he may just be reacting to the weather as well --- keep an eye on him for that type of behavior tho -- what are you feeding for insects?
 

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