Bearded Dragon Brumation
Brumation is a period of semi-dormancy. This period of time may shock many first time bearded dragon owners and they tend to think that something is very wrong with their bearded dragons. Whenever your bearded dragon is showing signs that are different from his normal activity, it is best to have a faecal matter check done prior to assuming that the bearded dragon is going through brumation. This will help you to rule out any illnesses and parasites and prepare your bearded dragon for brumation.
Brumation is a natural period during which the bearded dragon is very lethargic. They may not bask in the sun and will only lie in their hiding places. Young dragons do not necessarily go through this period and some dragons may never brumate. Brumation may occur for several days or weeks. During this type of hibernation, the reptile survives on glycogen stores in his body, much like animals that hibernate live on fat stores in their bodies.
Bearded dragons that have a cage near a window or are able to sense climatic changes outdoors will tend to go through a period of brumation. Many books suggest that most dragons go through a period of brumation anywhere from the beginning of November through mid February. During this time, the cage should be adjusted so that the conditions mimic those of outside. Cage lighting times should be adjusted to what is occurring naturally at your home. If the days are shorter, the lights should be adjusted to come on at those times as well, for example. You may also want to check on your dragons periodically at this time and give them a small misting of water. For the most part you will want to leave them alone and allow them to sleep.
Female bearded dragons like to have a place to hide during their brumation. They like to dig in and under many places until they find the right spot for sleeping. All bearded dragons will have a large decrease in appetite and will not produce much faecal matter as well. Ensure that your bearded dragon receives a good meal prior to going into brumation. Healthy dragons will be okay to brumate without food for three to four months. Providing them fluids every three weeks or so is suggested. You can simply mist their noses and they will lick it off of their faces.