Bearded Dragon Brumation Symptoms, What should I do?

Bearded Dragon Brumation Symptoms

Shirley, my Bearded Dragon, has been asleep for two months so far, and I miss her s0.  She is going through a natural process called brumation.  People have asked me about bearded dragon brumation symptoms, so I’m going to share with you what I know. I will also advise you on what to do if you think your beardie is going through this process.

Bearded Dragon Brumation Symptoms, What should I do?

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Are you new to having Bearded Dragons? You probably fret every time they do something that seems unusual. Suddenly he’s not eating like he usually does.  Or he’s lazy and lethargic.  Oh no!  Is he sick?  If you have a dragon in your care, you probably worry like crazy sometimes, am I right?  If it’s fall or winter, chances are these are simply bearded dragon brumation symptoms, and he’s getting ready to hunker down for a long sleep.

To get a deeper understanding of your dragon, I recommend you do a lot of reading about bearded dragons (affiliate link). Do a search on Facebook, too, to find specific Bearded Dragon groups and meet other dragon owners and ask questions.

RelatedBearded Dragon FAQ: How to Keep Your Pet Lizard Healthy

What is brumation?

Brumation is the equivalent of a bear’s winter hibernation, but the dragon’s body doesn’t shut down as completely as the bear’s and only becomes dormant.

In the wild, bearded dragons brumate as a reaction to cooler temperatures, light changes, and subsequent lack of food and water in fall and winter.  Wild bearded dragons stay hydrated by lapping morning and evening dew from leaves and plants in their environment.  With the change in weather, this is no longer possible, and their food sources disappear, so they survive by becoming dormant.

In captivity, where we should be keeping the dragon’s tank temperatures nice and toasty, and supplying them with the food they need, they don’t have a valid reason to brumate, but it is a natural instinct for them, so they may anyway.  Some do, and some don’t.

Bearded Dragon Brumation Symptons -

What are the Bearded Dragon Brumation Symptoms?

  • Less active, lethargic, lazy
  • Sleeping earlier than usual, or sleeping during the day
  • Eat less or stop eating altogether
  • Doesn’t poop
  • Hide under something, or dig under his substrate

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How Long Does Brumation Last?

It depends on the dragon and its conditions.  He may sleep for days, weeks, or even months at a time.  He may even wake up on occasion to have a little snack or stretch his legs and then go back to sleep.

Bearded Dragon Brumation Symptoms, What should I do? -

What Should I Do?

If you think your dragon has bearded dragon brumation symptoms, take steps to ensure that your animal is not sick first.  Is he impacted?  Does he have parasites?  Is he stressed?  Does he have the proper temperatures and UVB lighting?

If your dragon has not pooped in a while, you want to make sure that he does.  You can try soaking him in warm water and massage his belly to get things moving.  This soaking is necessary to do anyway if he is getting ready to go into brumation because it hydrates him in preparation for his long sleep.

When he does poop, get a fecal sample and get it checked for parasites.  A bearded dragon who brumates with feces inside him can run the risk of a nasty infection from the feces just sitting inside him all winter.

During your dragon’s brumation, it is wise to keep their heat and lights on as usual in his basking spot in case he does wake up for a snack or a stretch.  If he eats anything at all, it’s necessary to have the light and heat because his metabolism needs it to digest properly before going back to sleep.  Continue to keep the other end of his tank cooler.

Bearded Dragon Brumation Symptoms, What should I do? -

In the wild, dragons will sometimes bury themselves in the soil to keep from freezing, and their bodies will draw moisture from the ground, through their vent, during their winter sleep to ensure that they remain adequately hydrated enough to survive until spring.

In captivity, it may be necessary for you to soak your dragon from time to time to keep him from dehydrating.  You’ll know he is dehydrated if you pinch the skin on his back and it doesn’t ‘snap’ back into place.  Soaking is easy to do in the tub or some container, just enough water to cover his back, for 10 or 15 minutes.  (If your dragon doesn’t wake up during the soak, or is very sleepy, make sure you hold his head above water to avoid water aspiration in the lungs.)

Also, watch for weight loss.  Weigh your dragon before brumation.  If he appears to be losing weight, there may be something else going one that needs to be addressed.  A healthy, brumating dragon should not lose more than a few grams of weight.

RelatedBearded Dragon Care Sheet | Caring for Your Pet Dragon

Can I Stop Brumation From Happening?

You could, by handling your dragon, but why would you want to?  It’s a natural process for him.  His body wants this sleep, so let him be. Please don’t deprive him of his natural instincts.

Bearded Dragon Brumation Symptoms, What should I do? -

Nighty-nite.  Zzzzz

SOURCES:  Beautiful and The Bearded


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131 thoughts on “Bearded Dragon Brumation Symptoms, What should I do?”

  1. Hi,
    thank you for the blog!
    I’m thinking my dragon Ceasar, is shedding and going into brumation at the same time – or maybe not- so that is my question and/or comment. Super hard to tell if this is the case or if it is just shedding symptoms (lethargy, wanting to burrow/hide, less appetite.)
    Would dragons do these things simultaneously, do you think?

    thank you, Trina, Ceasar’s Mommy

    • It’s possible that your Ceasar could be shedding and getting ready to brumate at the same time, but they usually get the shedding out of the way first. The symptoms you describe could be signs of either one. I hope this helps? Thank you for taking the time to visit Animal Bliss.

  2. Leo was fine just the day before, he was running around as his normal self. My niece is hoping he is sleeping. I am not sure if we see him breathing or not, could be our eyes playing with us. Should Leo show any signs of reflex or how can I tell if he is breathing. He hasn’t moved since we put him back in his cage on the rock. I am worried

  3. Hey there, my niece has a bearded dragon that is approximately 3 years old. We are afraid it had died, but I have hope after reading your posts. The only concern I have is that Leo is on his rock and not in hiding. Leo was fine the day before yesterday, as my niece gets him out. He was moving around and being Leo, however, now he appears to be lifeless. He is black under his mouth, but is not limp, still flimsy. I am worried about him, as my niece soaked him in a warm bath yesterday and he did not move or respond.

    • First of all, Bearded Dragons don’t really have a tendency to hide, so you don’t need to worry about that. But I’m concerned too that he appears lifeless. His beard shouldn’t be black unless he’s upset or sick. I would suggest taking him to a Vet as soon as you can. Something is wrong, as far as I can tell. Keep us informed? Thanks for reading my blog.

  4. What food should I be offering our Beardie during this brumation period. He is nearly 2 years old and in good health. I’ve read somewhere to offer live food but that worries me if he doesn’t eat them.

    • If your Beardie is in full brumation, he probably won’t eat anything. But if he does wake up from time to time, you can offer whatever he usually eats. He needs a certain amount of heat and light, though, to digest food properly, so chances are he won’t even accept what you offer. All the best!

  5. Thank you! I’ve recently taken on my nephew’s beardie so all this is new. I knew they could, but didn’t know what to do if he did!!!

    This has been a great help! Thanks again!

  6. No question, just thanking you for this informative post! I was concerned as to why my beardie isn’t moving much or eating. Good to know everything is ok.

  7. it should be made clear that there are certain instances where it is necessary to keep a bearded dragon from bromating. always check with a veterinarian before allowing your dragon to bromate to ensure that they are healthy enough to do so. bearded dragons with metabolic disorders are at particular risk when bromating.

  8. we have 2 bearded dragons. One male one female. our male is only 3 years old, the female is about 5 or 6 we where watching her for a friend and that person didn’t want her any more so now she is ours.. She ate about 2 days ago only the rotches (they are from a place near us) and after she ate she want into her cave and hasn’t come out. She is in a dark cave, the cave has a heating pad under it and we have ground up walnut shells in the tank now. I just wonder if she is starting her brumation. She did poop the day she ate. I know I need to take her out in a day or two to soak her for 10 minutes. Is there any thing that I a missing. And should I change the bedding in the tank from walnut shells to a wood base mix?
    thank you

    • Hey, Karenza. It certainly seems that your dragon is ready for brumation. I wouldn’t take her out to soak so soon, though. Give her a chance to settle and fall into a deep sleep. When you do soak her, make sure you stay with her and keep her head above water. She may open her eyes a bit and that’s okay.

      Is the heating pad under the tank itself, or under her. If it’s under her, take it out immediately. Too many beardies have been burned by those things because there’s no way to tell how hot it is on them. Instead of a pad, I’d suggest a heating lamp to keep on at night.

      This is the bulb we use for our, for example — It goes with this fixture — Make sure you don’t get a red lamp because it’s bad for their eyes and unnecessary.

      A wood-based bedding would be okay, I guess, as long as the bits are not small enough for your beardie to ingest. The same goes for walnut shells. My girl, Shirley, sleeps in an overturned shoe box and I use thick towels for her bedding. She’s nice and cozy.

      I hope this helps. Take care!

  9. So my Bearded dragon went into what i think is this,she wont get up and has been sleeping for 4 months now is that natural for it?

    • Yes, that’s normal. Incredible, isn’t it? Depending on where you live, she may sleep right up until it starts to warm up outside. However, if you notice that she’s lost weight, see a vet. You might want to soak her in warm water (not hot) for 10 minutes or so to make sure she stays hydrated. Stay with her while she’s soaking. She may, or may not, wake up for this.

      If you haven’t been turning on the lights in her tank (and you should have), turn them on now. She’s come out when it’s to warm up and be awake.

      My Shirley woke up a few days ago after sleeping for about 4 months. She wouldn’t eat for the first couple days, but she did drink water. A lot. She’s eating fine now.

      Let me know how it goes! Peace

  10. Hi Jeanne,
    It’s coming into fall/winter months and I noticed my beardie is still a juvi, about 6-7 months old. He has been getting up out of his cave every morning and basking. Eating really healthy. I have been noticing his behavior is slightly off. He will get sleepy early on in the day around 3 pm and completely knock out around 5p or so in the US time. Is it possible that he is going through partial brumation? Is that even possible? He doesn’t show any signs of parasites. His weight has been stable couple grams here and there but he will gain it back. A lot of people are saying he is too early for any kind of brumation so my mind is completely baffled :O

    • I don’t know where you live, but it is indeed possible for your beardie to be going through the beginning stages of brumation. My Shirley has been doing the same kind of things. She’s 3 1/2 yrs old and I’m getting to know her quite well now. Around 4 p.m. she will start staring at me and I know she wants her lights off. She’s sound asleep soon after. For a week or so she went into her cave (an upside-down Shoebox), and slept solid day and night. The weather has a lot to do with it, I’m sure. Where I live, it had been rainy and overcast quite a bit, a sign for her to hunker down. Plus the days are shorter, and that has the most influence. Thanks for your comment and question, Samantha. I appreciate you stopping by Animal Bliss.

  11. My Bearded Dragon that we think is around 2-3 years old (the previous owner only had him for a year but he was to big to be just 1 year old)and he has been brumating for around 4-6 months and i want to know if he is ok or not

    • Four to six months? So you say he’s been sleeping since March or May? Where do you live? That doesn’t seem right to sleep right through summer. Is he waking up at all? Eating? Drinking? Most importantly, is he losing weight? Are you sure he’s alive? Do you have lighting?

      • We have lighting and he is alive we check every day and I dont know if he lost weight. when i take him out of his cage to soak him he eats and poops and then goes back to sleeping.

  12. we just bought two bearded dragons like one week ago and one of them already shedded and the other one is sleeping a lot now and doesn’t really wake up when you pick him up they are about 1month to about 2mounth old so I was wondering if they are in burmation I know you said it doesn’t start until they are a year old so what could it be than

    • Hi, Samantha. It does seem a little young for your dragon to be in brumation. It also seems very young to be shedding. Are you sure about their age? How long are they, head to the tip of the tail? Did you buy them from a reputable breeder? What are you feeding them? What are your temps? If you notice they are losing weight, please take them in to see a Vet right away. Make sure they are staying hydrated as well.

  13. content://media/external/file/40508
    Beardie update
    Oscar was trying to tell me he wanted to start burmation. Because as soon as i put the box in there he went straight to it and hasnt come out
    Thank you!

  14. Thanks for such a fast response! Yes Hankie is in a Hide, as for the red light everything we had read before we got her said to get that, we have the ceramic heat lights…so get rid of the red night light and keep the heat lights on or turn then off at night?

    • Megan, Many experienced Bearded Dragon owners agree that there should be no lights on in the tank at night. Many claim that dragons can’t see red light but a dragon’s sleep can be disrupted by even having a red light on at night. The nightly cool down that comes with shutting off all lights is natural and healthy for your dragon. She’ll be okay down into the low sixties. If it gets older, then use a ceramic heat emitter since it puts off heat without any light. Dragons need a normal day and night light cycle for their health and well being.

      Aside from that, some red ultraviolet lights have been shown to cause severe damage to a dragon’s eyes. This was a big issue and manufacturers have since developed new technology in lighting, but I say, “Better safe than sorry.”

      You can do your own research on this, though. Don’t take my word for it. 🙂 This is just how I understand it.

  15. Hi,
    We have had our bearded dragon since September. In the last couple months she has started acting lethargic. I read up on burmation, and it sounds like Hankie is going through that. I guess my concern is her body temp being so cold. Her tank has heat lamps,basking lamps, and a nocturnal night lamp. Is her colder body temp normal right now?

    • It’s difficult to say if your bearded dragon’s body temperature is normal right now without knowing exactly what it is, Megan. My Shirley is cold to the touch, so that may put your mind at least. The temp in Shirley’s tank averages around 60 when she’s in brumation, so you can gauge things that way. Is your beardie in a hide? By the way, if that nightlight is red, get rid of it. Just use a heat lamp. Mine is ceramic. I hope this helps. Thanks for visiting Animal Bliss.

  16. Hello i am a new beardie owner and i got oscar from a friend of a friend who couldn’t take care of him any longer. I have been noticing that when i come home from work he is in his cool side of the tank but his breakfast is usually all gone. He is about a year and 6 months, and ive had him for about a month now. He is more active at night when i am home and im wondering if this is normaa,i am gone for about 11 hours a day. All of his temps are correct as i had to buy him all new bulbs. Please help i dont know if he is trying to go into burmation because it is cold outside of his tank.

    • Hi, Brittney. It’s not unusual for a Bearded Dragon to go over to the cool side of the tank once in a while to cool off. Make sure your temps are too hot, though. He may be sending you a message. You say he’s more active at night when you’re home, but do you know what he does during the day? His being active may be that he wants to hang out with you outside of the tank. Do you take him out? Lastly, to see for sure if he wants to brumate, provide a hide for him — an upside down shoe box will do for now. If he goes in there, there’s your clue. Thanks for checking us out. Let me know how it goes. Oh, and congratulations on becoming a Beardie owner. 🙂

  17. I recently got a male beardie was told he’s 4 years old normally very active and alert but today he has been sleeping alot but eating normally and defecating normally also it’s mid February now do wondering if he may be going into brumation

    • Ashley, it very well may be that your beardie is going into some brumation. If he’s eating and defecating, then it might just be a partial brumation, and that’s okay. It all depends on the temperatures in his tank and your house. Does he have some a hide to go into? When my Shirley is ready to sleep for a while, she goes into her little hut. That’s how I know. Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate you.

  18. Hi Jeanne,

    I have a 7 mths bearded dragon, she hasn’t eaten for the last three days and she started to poop clear feces. She is not active and wants to be asleep all the time. Should I worry ? Is this a parasite symptom or just entering Brumation. I’m very worried!


    • It’s quite possible she’s going into brumation –not eating, slowing down, sleeping a lot. The clear feces could be because she hasn’t eaten any solids. Ideally, getting a poop sample to send in for analysis is the best way to see if she has parasites. It’s always a good idea to take care of that problem before she sleeps for a few months. If you need a source for that, let me know. It doesn’t cost much, and you can easily mail it in. Hope all is well! 🙂

  19. Hi Jeanne,

    I have a baby bearded dragon maybe 2ish months old. I got him from a pet store a few weeks ago, for the first week and a bit he was super playful, running around, eating, pooping, sleeping. I’d handle him maybe 2 or 3 times a day for about ten minutes. I would also leave the light on at night as it gets pretty cold where I am and I didn’t have another source of heat for him. About a week and a half ago he started eating less and sleeping more, I thought maybe it was because he was tired as he wasn’t getting a very good sleep because the lights were on so I bought him a heated rock. And set him up on a schedule, lights out at 9pm and on @ 7am but he still just sleeps all day, eats – cricket or a Phoenix worm here or there and still poops. I also mist him with water every once in a while so he doesn’t get dehydrated. Is this normal or should I see a vet?

    • First of all, I advise getting a heat lamp for nighttime – not one of the red lights, just heat – as soon as you can. Heated rocks are not recommended anymore because of cases where the dragons’ bellies have gotten burned. What he’s doing sounds normal enough if he’s getting ready to brumate. It’s getting close to that time of year, especially if it’s pretty cold where you are. But if you notice he’s losing weight at all, see your vet to make sure it’s not something else. Getting a fecal test done to make sure he doesn’t have parasites before he hunkers down for the winter is recommended too. You don’t want parasites living inside him for that long. I can recommend a place you can send the sample to if you want. Misting is good, with a good soak every now and then. You don’t want him to dehydrate. I have an eye-dropper I use to give my dragon water to drink. I hope all is well. Thanks for taking the time to read my post. Good luck!

      • Is it normal for them to Brumate this young? He’s only 2 months old max, he’s about 3-4 inches long not including his tail. Today he’s different again, he was asleep when I woke up this morning and been sleeping all day, and I can’t seem to wake him up. Is it normal for them to sleep so deep they can’t be woken?

  20. Hey Jeanne,
    I am a new bearded dragon owner. I adopted little Drogo about 5 months ago, and I was told he is roughly 4 years old. Around the beginning of the month he began to grow more and more lethargic, staying in his hide the entirety of the day, not wanting to run around or bask etc. He is currently in his hide, which I set up with some comfy ‘blanket’ like substances (papertowels, an old sock). I offer him a few super worms every couple of days and keep the greens/fruit readily available for him.. however he is not at all interested in the fruit/greens but occasionally will take a hand fed worm or two.. is this normal? He also doesn’t really fall into a deep sleep, when I open doors/ move around he will usually open one of his eyes in annoyance. Is this normal?

    Also, he pooped roughly 5 days ago.. he has eaten 2 super worms since then, so I am waiting for him to poop those out before I let him settle into a deep sleep (if he even will). Once he does poop should I stop offering super worms?

    I bath him at least once every two weeks. should I do this more frequently now that he hardly ever basks in the sun/walks around?

    Any advice would be useful. Thanks!

    • Hi Megan. It certainly sounds like Drogo is preparing for brumation. I don’t think you have anything to worry about unless you notice him loosing weight. That’s the biggest concern and a sure sign that something’s wrong. (He should hardly lose any weight at all during brumation, maybe a gram or two.) They do sleep lightly at first and go deeper as the season goes along.

      Keep his lights on during the day in case he does want to get out and stretch. During the winter, keep a little heat on at night.

      If he’s only eaten 2 super worms in the past 5 days, then he may not poop, but if he does, consider getting a fecal sample to make sure he doesn’t have parasites. It wouldn’t be good to let him brumate with parasites “doing their thing” all winter long. You can mail a sample in and have the results within a day or two. If you need a source, email me at or do a google search. My source only charges about $15, last time I had one done.

      Keep offering food as long as he’s still awake. You can eventually you can cut this out altogether. Make sure to keep him hydrated by offering him water or bathing him. It’s debatable how much you should bathe him during full brumation but do bathe him less, not more. I pretty much just leave Shirley alone (but I can’t resist picking her up from time to time and letting her sleep on me without waking her up.)

      I hope this helps! Let me now if you need anything else. Thanks so much for visiting my blog and taking the time to read my post. Peace

  21. Good evening. My beardie, Rex is about a year old and was diagnosed with MBD on Monday ?. He was given an injection to get his calcium levels up and also an oral de-wormer. Rex at 14 small crickets and carrots on Monday evening and since then has been suffering all the symptoms of brumation. Sleeping under his climbing post, in the shade and not eating. I don’t know if this could be side effects of the meds (giving him oral injections of calcium two times a day), side effects of the MBD, or possible brumation. Advice? Thoughts? Thank you.

    • Hi Rick. I’m sorry to hear Rex was diagnosed with MBD. That’s so sad. I’m not quite sure what’s going with him now. I don’t know what the side effect might be for those shots. Maybe you should just give your vet a quick call so you know what to expect. He could be approaching brumation, although it seems a bit early. My Shirley, though, seems to be going through the symptoms too, so perhaps they’re sensing the end of summer. Keep an eye on him and make sure he’s not losing weight, and don’t let him get dehydrated. Again, check with your Vet about the shots. I wish you the best!

  22. My beardie is almost 8 months old and I think he is going through brumation, but I’m not completely sure. For the past four days, he hasn’t ate or drank. I offer the food and water, but he just sleeps. His tank temperatures are normal. He pooped once in the past four days and I have given him warm baths. He isn’t basking and he is staying on the cooler side of his tank to sleep. Also, his tail looks “boney” towards the base, not plump like it usually is. Is this normal? Is he going through brumation? Please help!! I’m worried about my baby.

  23. Is it possible for them to semi-brumate in the summer. It’s in the 80’s here and my dragon sleeps most of the day away. Not every day, but every couple days. He’s a little over 1 1/2 yrs old. My lighting /temps or alright. His ubv tube is brand new.

    • Betty does he seem healthy otherwise? Is he eating and getting enough water? Sometimes my Shirley gets lethargic and I give her a good soak in the tub. After that she perks up and starts running around the house. Maybe he’s dehydrated? Just a thought. Let us know how it goes.

      • He doesn’t seem dehydrated. I give him water from a dropper daily. I gave him a good soak today also. He slept in until 1:00 pm or so. I got him out to take him outside for awhile. He ran around a little bit. When I brought him in he immediately fell back to sleep, then gave him his bath. He eats around 5-10 dubias every other day. Greens daily, but hasn’t seem very interested in them lately. Today is his dubia day, but he seems too tired to eat them.

        • Has he been pooping? I’m wondering if he’s impacted. What type of flooring do you have for him in his tank? Other than that it seems like you’re doing everything right as far as I can tell from here. I’d watch him closely. If he starts losing weight I’d take him to a vet.

          • He has been pooing once every 3-4 days. Very watery at first, then normal large poo following. He is on non-adhesive shelf liner. Weighs in at 600 grams and holding steady. He seems to be a little more alert in the evening. He did wake up enough last evening to eat 7 roaches. Then he basked until I took him out 1 1/2 hr later. He immediately fell asleep on my shoulder.

  24. Hi… We just got a bearded dragon 4 days ago and he or she (we don’t know yet) is actually 3 months old today. I’m not sure if our dragon is in brumation right now or if there is something wrong. We are new to this so I really am not sure. After I turned rhe light off for the night he/she ran around the tank a little bit and then did something we haven’t seen yet. The dragon made its way under the rock set up we have in the tank and now is not moving at all. Is this brumation? Or is ours too young for this yet? I don’t know what to do. Is ours ok? Or is it dead? Is there anyway you can help me out? From what I’ve been looking up and reading it looks like it’s brumation, but everything i read says that doesn’t start until around the 1 year old mark. Can it happen sooner? I’m hoping you will tell me there’s nothing to worry about.

    Thank you!

    • Hey, Thomas! Sorry for the delayed response. I’ve been away. How is your bearded dragon now? It’s true that yours would be too young for brumation. Sometimes it takes them a few days to acclimatize to their new surrounding. I hope he’s okay now. Let us know!

  25. Hello! Thank you for your very helpful words! I’m hoping what my dragon is going through is indeed brumation.

    It’s only the middle of June but due to lack of adequate lighting (we are very new dragon owners and relied on a pet store for guidance) that maybe she went into brumation early.

    All the symptoms you said, are happening and it has me nervous but hopefully that she’ll snap out of it soon and be her happy, active self.

    Thank you again!

  26. Hi there. I was doing some Google searching and came across your site. I too am from Nova Scotia (Yarmouth). I’ve had my Beardie, Sheldon since last August and I was told by the breeder that he was about 4 months old when I got him, so he’s almost a year old now. He’s pretty big, at around a foot long from tip of the nose, to the tip of his tail. He would usually climb around and up off his rock heater up his fountain cliff or his log up to his hammock or his basking loft where his basking and UVA/UVB lights are, but he’s pretty much just lazing in one spot and doesn’t move. I took him out to try to feed him, and when I placed him back on his hammock, he barely moved until I took him out again the next day. Usually he’s a pretty good eater, eats lots of super worms, crickets and greens, but the last 2 weeks or so, he hasn’t had much interest in food. He also hasn’t been pooping as much (most likely because he hasn’t been eating as much). I gave him a warm bath a few days ago and he did poop after a while in the bath, but he’s eaten a few super worms since then but hasn’t pooped like he normally would have. It’s the end of March so the temp here in NS is still a bit cold, but his tank is usually pretty warm with his basking lights, and he likes to lay on his rock heater so he’s usually pretty warm. From what I’ve read in most places, they usually start their brumation in the fall or early winter. Is it unusual for them to start when winter is almost over? Like I said it’s the end of March, (March 31st), so I’m not sure if he is actually trying to brumate, or if there’s something else wrong. It’s been at least 2 weeks now that he hasn’t been very active, and I’m starting to worry. I take him out every other day and let him snuggle on my chest under my sweater while I rub his back and he loves it. Goes right to sleep and stays there until I put him back in his tank. I’m just hoping there’s nothing wrong with him. There’s no vet around here that deals with lizards or exotic animals so I don’t know what to do. Any insight or information would be greatly appreciated.

    A Worried Mom

    • Hi Cindal, what a small world. I’m from Saulnierville! Whoa. Anyway, it’s a shame you don’tn have a reptile vet around to get him checked out. It certainly sounds like brumation, doesn’t it? Some animals go into brumation even with the usual lights and heat on in their tanks. It’s ingrained in them. Does he look healthy? Has he lost any weight? Is he dehydrated? You might want to get a stool sample and send it out. He may have parasites, so it would be important to know soon. If you want to send out a stool sample to be analyzed, let me know and I’ll give you the name of someone you can send it to. You’ll have your results in a couple of days, and if there are parasites, she’ll tell you what to do. It’s not expensive at all. The sampling is $10 or $10. The meds don’t cost much either. Good luck. Let me know how it goes.

  27. I was wondering at what age do they go into brumation? we just got are Bearded Dragon it’s 7in long so I’m thinking it’s 2 to 3 months old is this to young? we bought it from a reptile show. we have and still are do a lot of research on them, we are new this.

    • Hi DeeDee, how exciting you just got a Bearded Dragon. The age they go into brumation varies quite a bit, but it’s probably safe to say that they start at about one year old. Having said that, some don’t until they’re older, and others may not ever. It depends a lot on their environment and the climate you live in. Have fun with your Bearded Dragon. What did you name it?

  28. We just got a bearded dragon 2 days ago. It’s 7in long so I’m guessing its about 2 to 3 month old. We went to a Reptile show and that’s where we got him from. we are new to this and have and still are doing a lot of research, but I haven’t seen where at what age they will start the brumation? He/She has only eat one time since we brought it home and I haven’t seen any droppings. Just looking for a little insight.

    • DeeDee, I answered your question in another comment, but the age Bearded Dragons go into brumation varies quite a bit, but it’s probably safe to say that they start at about one year old. Having said that, some don’t until they’re older, and others may not ever. It depends a lot on their environment and the climate you live in. If you just got it 2 days ago, it’s normal that it hasn’t eaten much yet. It may take a few days to settle in and get comfortable in its new home. Keep offering food, and it will eat when it’s ready. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  29. My beardie is about 18 months old. She went into brumation at the beginning of January and woke up about a week ago. She does go to sleep fairly early in the day still. Usually around 4pm, with the exception of today, when she went to sleep around 2. She wakes up in the morning when her lights come on but continuously tries to get out of her viv. I let her out to roam. She will bask in the window in the sunlight for a little while and then just walk around all over the place, as if she is looking for something. When I put her back in her viv, she will bask under her basking lamp for a few minutes and then frantically want out again. She has a uvb in her viv as well and the temps are where they should be. She has never acted like this before. I do put her in a tub for hydration for as long as she will stay in, which isn’t very long, and she does lick the water that I drip onto her head. She also isn’t eating very much at all. She has pooped 3 times since waking up, but not a bunch because she hasn’t eaten a lot. Why is she so restless? Could it be hormonal or is she still in a brumation cycle? I am very worried about her. Any advice and/or help would be much appreciated. Thank you.

    • Hi Channin. All I can do is guess as to what’s going on with your beardie. Does she normally run around the house in the summertime, and also bask in the window? Do you take her outside in the sunshine? If so, maybe she’s just experiencing a cabin fever. Spring fever, if you will. My beardie, Shirley, gets like that when it begins to warm up. She loves roaming, and basks by the window too. I would continue to offer food and water as if she’s out of brumation. It may be gradual for her. It’s good that she’s pooping, at least.

      Another thought I have is that she may be gravid and is restless because she’s looking for a place to lay her eggs. Here is an article I wrote about Shirley when she went gravid. It was a total surprise.

      Keep in touch. I’d be interested in knowing what happens now. Thanks for visiting my site, and for your comments.

      My other thought

  30. Hello, I just got a beardie about 2 weeks ago he’s prolly about 1-2 mns old, not sure on the age he’s about 6 in. long including tail. My question (s) would be he was eating fine when we first brought him home Gering down from his baking spot chasing crickets, coming after worms the whole nine yards, know I have to either take out his basking log or pick him up and put him next to his food or where his food will be,and he’s not as active, and all he wants to do is bask all day could you tell me why? I’ve tried looking it up online every possible way I could with no luck. The temp. on the warm side is 95° and the cool side is is between 70-75° he has his uvb in the same spot as basking light but we just put that there. I’m clueless….

    • Hey Cal, Bearded Dragons are funny that way. They’re all different and have their own habits. Mine never chases after her own food either. I either hand-feed her, or she just eats when she’s hungry on her own. I’d suggest the latter, that he’ll eat when he’s hungry. I would also suggest adding greens to his diet. At his age, he needs the protein from the bugs, but when he’s older, the greens will be more important, so start adding them in now. It’s also normal for a Dragon to bask all day. That’s pretty much what they do in the wild too. Mine hardly ever goes to the cool side, except at night. Good luck!

      • I do give him greens actually, started that not too long after we brought him home. I had to start out worth hand feeding him cuz he wasn’t too site about them at first like as far as safety goes or knowing what it was. And mine chased his own food since we first got him he still does but like I said only when I take out his baking spot in just worried that we won’t he when he should and lose wait slow enough to where I won’t notice until it’s too late. I’d I leave crickets in the tank they will stressed him out to the point of possibly killing him, and if I leaves worms in thew tank they will die and rot n I don’t want him to eat that by mistake and make himself sick. I give him phoenix worms, wax worms, crickets, romaine salad with fresh shredded carrots, and I chop up some cabbage add well sometimes too and of course fresh water every day.
        Cal recently posted…Treating Canine Arthritis and Its SymptomsMy Profile

        • I’m glad to hear that you’ve been feeding your dragon greens too. All I can suggest is to keep offering him food on a regular basis. He’ll eat when he gets hungry enough. If you are worried that he may be ill, however, I’d look for a reptile vet and get his stool sample tested for parasites. In fact, I’d get his stool sampled anyway. I can direct you to someone that will do this through the mail, if you like.

          • I need to do something cuz he hasn’t ate anything in 2 days. If u could recommend a vet in my area that would b great but I don’t wanna go through the mail. I live in Berrien co. in MI. I’d like to Meer the vet and talk face to face. Thanks for thee advice!

            • Cal, I’m not familiar with your area. I’m up north of Muskegon. Your best bet would be to call some Vets in your area and ask if any of them work with reptiles, or know of any who do. The one I go to is in Freemont, Newago Co. If all else fails, though, I really do recommend you do a stool sample test, at least. Let me know if you want that contact.

  31. Hey Jeanne,
    My bearded dragon Mr.Pea has been sleeping for weeks now, Im somewhat of an experienced dragon owner, (over 7 kinds to date)(3 beardies that I own currently along with a rainbow agama) But this is the first time any one of them have done this, well this much anyways, My oldest Snoopy went for about a week always sleeping and didn’t eat but he snapped out of it very quickly.
    Mr. Pea is a good weight still, very vibrant colors when I check on him and give him a quick warm bath,.
    Should I take another sample of stool to the vet in the meantime?
    or should I wake him and bring him in as well?
    OR just leave him. (sorry worried parent) .
    Thank you so much

    • Hi Aaron, I would just let Mr. Pea sleep for as long as he wants to. As long as he’s not losing noticeable weight or becoming dehydrated. You probably wouldn’t get a stool sample anyway, since he hasn’t eaten for a bit. But if you DID manage to get a sample, just test the sample and let him sleep some more. Feel free to check in with us now and then! (I envy you for having a rainbow agama.) What part of the world are you from?

  32. Hello !

    My daughters beardie Charlie has been showing signs/symptoms of brumation. Ive been really worried that he was sick but now it seems more and more like this. But, I do worry that he has had some darkening (blackish spots) by his head / “neck” area which I understand is a sign of distress? I think he is a few years old now (sorry don’t have exact age at the moment) How can we know for sure ? He has been VERY SLEEPY and lethargic. Im afraid we’ve been doing the warm bath which seems to help a bit then right back to this. but in reading I found not to do that because it could lengthen the process ? Also do only females do this? I do not know the gender. Thank you so much!

    • Hello Jeanette. Thanks for your questions. I wouldn’t worry too much about Charlie’s darkening spots on his head/neck. These can come and go. If they become persistent for some time on his underside, then I might look into it. Right now it may simply be because of changing temperatures and climate. It certainly sounds as if he is in brumation. If he looks healthy otherwise, very sleepy and lethargic are the signs. He will have slowed if not completely stopped eating. He will stay in one or two spots all day. He may not come out at all, although there may be days where he’ll come out to say hello. The warm baths are still a good idea, in my opinion, because you don’t want him to become dehydrated. I give my Shirley a bath about once a week or a tad longer. Both males and females go through brumation. Beardies should remain pretty much the same weight throughout brumation too. They may lose a gram or two, but it shouldn’t be very noticeable. If he’s losing a lot of weight, then take him to a Vet, pronto. I hope this helps, and don’t hesitate to ask more questions if you need to. Cheers!

  33. Hi! I am currently taking care of my friend’s beardie while she is on vacation. She brought him over last night. I know that a change in environment may cause him stress, but could it also cause him to go into brumation? My friend kept him in her room in the basement, and i have placed him in a room where there is natural sunlight all day long. However, the temperature in my home is a few degrees under that in my friend’s room. He has been asleep since 2pm, but it has only started getting dark at 4pm. If it turns out that he is brumating, should I still bathe him even though he hasn’t had time to really adapt his new environment? He didn’t seem to comfortable when I tried to handle him this morning, so I thought I should give him more time. Thanks a lot!

    • Hey, Marie-Noelle. He could be going into brumation. If that’s the case, he should be bathed at least once a week to keep him hydrated. You didn’t mention how long you will have him in your care. If he awakens, offer him food as usual. Good luck!

  34. Hello.

    I have 2 bearded dragons they are probably about a year old by now. They share a tank; as there has been no problems. They have been getting very lazy lately and hiding. I cant help but think they are preparing for brumation. They both hate being in their tank. So they are out often. At night they usually fall asleep outside of the tank. Then I place them in the tank with tank heaters; and a blanket over the tank but no light (they wont sleep if the light is on)

    I noticed you told someone no heating pad. Why is that?

    I am confused on what exactly I should be doing to make it the ideal conditions for them. Since they wont sleep with a light. How should I regulate the tank so it stays warm enough. I don’t feel like the 2 heaters we have in there will keep it warm enough for that long period of time. Also what do I do in the event of one going into brumation and the other not…

    Please let me know if there is anything else I may need to know. As I’m having a hard time finding any real information about this.

    Thank you in advance!!

    • Hello, Rosemarie. Thanks for your questions about your bearded dragons. You say you have tank heaters on at night. What do you mean by that?

      By “heating pad,” I mean one that they would actually lay directly on. Some of those are dangerous and can burn your beardie, or the wiring could cause problems that you might not notice until it’s too late. I have seen some nasty burns caused by heating pads.

      Having said that, there are heating pads that you can put underneath the tank itself so the animals don’t lay directly on it. These greatly depend on what type of substrate you’re using. If whatever you’re using for flooring is too thick, the heat won’t reach the dragons, for example.

      I recommend a ceramic heater. It comes with it’s own housing that you clip on the side of your tank. You can raise or lower it according to need. (If you have a really big tank, or if it’s tall, you might need more than one.) Get a digital thermometer and put it at the level your beardies sleep so you know exactly what the temperature is at night. Ideally, it should be between 60-70 degrees F (17-21 C) at night during brumation.

      Here is an affiliate link to a ceramic heater so you know what I mean.

      Light at night is never a good idea and must be avoided. There are heat lamps that emit a red or blue color. Avoid them and go for the ceramic heater I just mentioned.

      Light during the day is still crucial, however, even when they’re sleeping. Daytime light and temps should be maintained in the event that they should wake up to stretch their legs, get a bite to eat or simply want to warm themselves up for a bit. Daytime temps during this time should be around 70-80 F (24-27 C). Keep their lights on for 7 to 9 hours each day.

      If both your beardies are on different schedules, it’s best to separate them, if possible and each in their own tanks. That’s probably not what you wanted to hear. 😉

      I hope this is helpful. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  35. Hello.

    I have 2 bearded dragons they are probably about a year old by now. They share a tank; as there has been no problems. They have been getting very lazy lately and hiding. I cant help but think they are preparing for brumation. They both hate being in their tank. So they are out often. At night they usually fall asleep outside of the tank. Then I place them in the tank with tank heaters; and a blanket over the tank but no light (they wont sleep if the light is on)

    I noticed you told someone no heating pad. Why is that?

    I am confused on what exactly I should be doing to make it the ideal conditions for them. Since they wont sleep with a light. How should I regulate the tank so it stays warm enough. I don’t feel like the 2 heaters we have in there will keep it warm enough for that long period of time. Also what do I do in the event of one going into brumation and the other not…

    Please let me know if there is anything else I may need to know. As I’m having a hard time finding any real information about this.

    Thank you in advance!!

  36. Another question. We have been turning off Macs lights at night and now it is cooler. But we thought he needed it off at night to act like in the wild. However is it possible he is getting too cold?

    • Your Beardie shouldn’t be allowed to get too cold. If you live in a cooler climate where it gets chilly at night, you may need a heater at night. I would recommend a ceramic heater (NOT Infrared lighting, which can harm their eyes. Also NO heating pads). You should also get a digital thermometer that you can stick to the inside of the tank, around the level your Beardie sleeps at night so you can regulate it properly. The ideal temperature should be between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, although it can be somewhat cooler than that. I try to keep Shirley’s around 65 at night.

      And yes, they do need the lights off at night to act like the wild. But in the desert winters, it still gets cool at night.

      Here is an affiliate link to Amazon, in case you want to check out the Ceramic Heaters.

  37. Hey our beardi, Mac, had been asleep for almost three days. I was worried until I read your blog. He is also shedding. He is only about 6 months old. I have Two questions. First of all is it ok for him to shed if he is hibernating? Second it has been a couple of days since he pooped and I feel like he should before he really goes to sleep if that is what he is going to do. Can I take him out and give him a bath to help him poop? I have done this in the past Snd it worked really well.

    • I love all your questions, Jenni. It’s a bit odd, I think, that he would be brumating at 6 months old, especially if he’s shedding, but not the end of the world. It could be that your temps are too cool. Being too cool will slow him down. And yes, you should try to get him to poop before he sleeps for any period of time. Giving him a soak would be great, and should be done from time to time while he’s in brumation so he keeps hydrated. (In the wild, he would soak it up through his skin.)

      You should also get a fecal sample analyzed if you can. You don’t want any parasites sitting around in his system while he’s in that state. I can get you a link for that, if you like. It would cost you around $10.

      • Thank you for all your help and responses, I will check out the ceramic heaters, I think he is getting too cold.

        Another question: what size tank should he have as an adult. Right now we have a 20 gallon. Will he continue to grow or stop if we keep him in there, like some reptiles do? We want him to have enough room to be comfortable.

        • Hey, Jenni. The size of the tank won’t necessarily stunt his growth, but he will be happier in a larger tank. If you can get a 40 gallon tank, that would be better. Get one with more floor space as opposed to height. They need to wander, not climb. They need the heat and the lights on one end, and the cooler area on the other end to regulate their body temperatures.

          Also, if your beardie is too cold, he will not digest his food properly, and that might affect his growth in the long run. (The colder they are, the less they eat.)

  38. My beardie is about 8 to 9 months old and I am pretty sure she has started the brumation process. She has been very lethargic and not interested in her food. At first I thought it was because her light needed to be changed but that does not seem to be the case. I am able to get her to take greens every once in a while and Every couple of days she will eat a super or two. Does this sound like brumation to you?

    • Yes, Rachael, those definitely are signs that your beardie is in the brumation process. My Shirley is almost full-on brumating now, sleeping most of the time. I sure do miss her during this time of year. 🙁 Thanks for visiting! I hope you’ll come back again soon.

  39. Hello!

    Thanks for great info. My bearded dragon is about 9months old maybe a little tad under. He seems to be in brumation but is he too young? Can they brumate this young? He’s not eating and sleepy.

    • Yes, Christine, it is young for your dragon to be brumating, but not unheard of. If you get a chance, get a stool sample to make sure he doesn’t have anything else going on. It’s always a good idea to check that out from time to time anyway. Let me know if you need a place to send it to. I have a great, inexpensive source for that if you’re interested. Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog! I hope you come back again. 🙂

  40. Hi there I’ve just recently rescued a bearded dragon. I had never had one before and it was unexpected to acquire such a cool little creature. I’ve been researching as much as possible but brumation still creeps me out. I named him Prickly Pete. He likes to sleep on my shoulder and has been a bit more sleepy than usual and not eating or drinking. I just have one question that seems to have varying answers. Is my buddy gonna hide to brumate or will he stay perched on his basking spot? He worries me so much ’cause I’ve had him for only two weeks.

    • Hi Bailey, thanks for your response. You should provide a ‘hide’ for Prickly Pete. They sleep much better when the lights are down. You should leave his usual lights on anyway, because he might wake up from time to time to stretch out and take a break from the sleep. I have a basket that I turned upside-down for my Shirley. I cut out a ‘doorway’, and it works perfectly for her. I have the doorway facing away from the lights.

      Also, just so you know what to expect, they don’t hibernate like a bear does, it’s more of just a heavy sleep. They may open their eyes from time to time to check things out. It’s best to leave them be as much as possible, but if you’re like me, you’ll want to still have him sleeping on your shoulder. My Shirley does that. Again, I try to keep her away from bright light.

      Feel free to ask any more questions you might have. Thanks for visiting my site, Bailey. Peace

  41. Hi! I have just read all of these post. Great stuff here. My spike has been in his cave for about a week now.he finally moved to turn around today. I got really scared and I didn’t know what to do. I’m so glad I read this. Thank you so much

    • I’m glad you found my post useful, Nikki. My Shirley is almost in brumation. I miss her so when she’s sleeping for months at a time. I still pick her up from time to time though. Thanks for visiting my blog today. 🙂

  42. I’ve had a dragon for about 2 years now and I’ve never had him in a cage he is going through brumation right now has been sleeping for the past month.. This is my 2nd brumation. I know alot about bearded dragons. If u want to know more feel free to send me a msg..

    • You’ve never had your bearded dragon in a cage? What about the lighting and heating it needs? You do realize that they require a certain amount of hours with lights, and they need UVB rays too help prevent metabolic bone disease? I’m not sure you know about bearded dragons as much as you think you do. Just sayin’.

  43. Hi, I just read your awesome article! It really makes me feel so much better about my baby Toothless. I miss him so much and it’s only been 4 days haha. I rescued him from (box store pet supplies store name ) less than a year ago. I have put his salad inexpensive each day, I have so many crickets left, should I be offering those too? I wish I could add a picture of my handsome boy!

    • Aww, Jessica, I wish you could add a picture of your handsome boy too. I love his name, of course. Toothless. 🙂 I’m glad you got some value from my article. It can be quite a mystery when your dragon starts to sleep the days away. I always miss my Shirley too. It’s a good idea to keep the salad available for Toothless. The crickets … it’s unfortunate you’ve ended up with so many of them left. That happened to me last year. I’d ordered 500, and then Shirley went to sleep. Yikes! You can offer them to him if he comes out for a bite, but he may not want them. Thanks so much for stopping by, and for your input too. Peace.

  44. My boy Elias, he’s 4, just went to Brumation bye byes for the fall winter, I’ll see him in 6 months, at least that’s how long he has slept the last two years. I wish humans could roll like that!! Great site, Peace and Beardies!!

    • You’re going to miss Elias, aren’t you. I sure do miss my Shirley when she goes to sleep. She’s shedding like crazy right now, so it will be a while yet, i imagine. thanks so much for stopping by my blog. Come back again! 🙂

  45. im pretty new to having a beared dragon and im trying to research as much as possible he just his brumation i freaked and called the vet he is my baby and it scared me alot but i have been reading up on this process and keep seeing alot of different answer to one my questions so i would love some advice on what you do. i was wondering do you still take him out an hold him as much, just a little, or not at all? also he is still a baby should i add anything besides his lights ti keep him warm he has just carpet in his cage for now and he hus staying at the top of his tree near the basking light even when not on so im just wondering if i need to take mire measures for his warmth? Thanks so much for any advice on thus i would greatly appreciate it.

    • Jennifer, thanks for your response. I do know how worrisome it can be when your pet starts to do something totally different. A lot of people say not to pick your dragon up while they’re brumating, but some do. I did because i love to hold her so much, but I didn’t do it as much. They really need that sleep. As for lights and heat, keep them going just as you do during normal times. He might wake up from time to time to stretch, or have a few bites, and he will need those lights on anyway. If it’s still summer warm where you are, it should be okay at night. My dragon sleeps up by her lights too, even when they’re not on. They like the height.

      I put an upside-down basket in Shirley’s tank with a part cut out for a doorway. She crawled in there for the duration of her brumation. You can see the pics of that on my post. They like to be sheltered too.

      Feel free to ask me questions anytime. I’d be glad to help. 🙂

  46. I’d been curious about my brother’s beardie lately and I’m glad I saw this article! Now I can relax and wait for him to wake up and come out to play again

  47. Wow amazing! I didn’t know that you can have bearded dragon as pet? That’s great a very unique pet. Happy new year!

    • Hi Tamala! Bearded Dragons are fascination creatures. I can hardly get enough of mine. She is so fun to watch. I just love her to pieces. Day #4 for sleep. Ugh. I peek at her now and then. 🙂 Peace

    • It is true that keeping an animal in capitivity alters how the animal behaves, but they will still keep certain instincts. Even the domestic dog has primal urges, such as circling round and round before he lies down, making himself a ‘nest’. Bearded Dragons have only been around as pets for the past 20 years or so. Not very long in the scheme of things. Thank you for taking the time to read my article, Nomusa. A appreciate you.

    • No bearded dragons allowed as pets in NZ, huh? That’s too bad. You must have them in the wild though? A lot of dragons come from Australia, but the exporting of dragons from Australia is banned now. The dragons we get here in America are all locally bred now. Thanks for checking out my site, Patricia! Peace!

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