Bearded Dragon Hydration During Brumation
It’s that time of year again, when our Bearded Dragons have most likely gone into brumation. For those that don’t know, brumation is like a hibernation, except they don’t shut down completely like bears do. Brumation is a natural process that happens with light and temperature changes during the colder months of the year. In this article, I want to talk about bearded dragon hydration during brumation.
(Read “Bearded Dragon Brumation Symptoms, What should I do?” for more in-depth information.)
In the wild, Bearded Dragons get their moisture the from rain and dew drops collecting on the plants they eat, or drink from pools of water if they can find it. Brumation comes about as a result of the colder weather seasons causing their food sources to die down. With their main staples are gone, the beardies find shelter and dig down in the soil a little, taking in moisture from the ground.
Some bearded dragons in captivity won’t go through this process at all, due to consistent temperatures and lighting and a year-round source of food. In that case, your “beardie” will still eat, drink, and poop as usual.
But other dragons’ natural instincts and internal clocks take over and they brumate. Some pet owners try to prevent this by extending their temps and light. But please don’t attempt this. They need the rest.
Some of you may already know Shirley, my Bearded Dragon. She is almost 2 years old and I’ve had her since she was 5 weeks. I love her to pieces. Isn’t she cute?
I decided to write about bearded dragon hydration during brumation in particular because … well … I gave Shirley a good soaking today, took a few pics, and thought I’d share with you. She’s not fond of baths and is seen giving me the ‘stink-eye’ here.
Some beardies will drink from a bowl or take in water through an eye-dropper. Shirley will drink from an eye dropper, but during brumation this isn’t so easy.
Shirley went into her brumation 2 months ago. Last year she slept for 25 days. For the first couple of weeks she was just doing some major snoozing, but she’s sleeping all the time now. She has not lost any weight at all, nor is she dehydrated.
“Bearded Dragon Brumation Symptoms, What should I do?“
There are differences of opinion as to how to hydrate your Bearded Dragon, how often to do it, and if it’s even necessary. My method generally is to soak her every week or so, but since she’s been sleeping so soundly this period, I thought I’d only do it when I thought it was really necessary for her. Don’t judge me.
The reason for her bath today is because she was very dark on the top of her head and along her bath. Hence, she needed some warmth, at least, but did not appear to be dehydrated. I gave her a nice warm soaking for about 10 minutes. She changed back into her lovely bright orange / pink coloring within a few minutes.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If your Bearded Dragon doesn’t wake up or stays half-asleep during his soak, make sure you keep his head above water. You don’t want him to get water into his lungs. Do not leave him in the water unsupervised!
How do you know that your Dragon is dehydrated? Pinch the skin. If the skin falls back into it’s normal state, they are fine. However, if it takes an extra moment or two to go back to normal, your dragon needs water.
Let me say here that a healthy bearded dragon will not lose much weight, if any, during brumation, even after a few months. To make sure they’re healthy in the first place, it’s a good idea to get a fecal sample and get it tested for any parasites.
After Shirley’s bath, I put her under her basking lights so she could dry completely before going back into her “cave”, which is a basket turned upside down. A damp dragon risks attracting bacteria.
I miss my Shirley when she’s in brumation. I do take her out of her enclosure from time to time, just to hang out with her a bit while I write blog posts and such. She just stays asleep on my chest for the most part. That’s what she’s doing now.
When it’s time to put her back, I tuck her in and shut off all her lights.
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7 thoughts on “Bearded Dragon Hydration During Brumation”
Nice blog, however, it is completely FALSE to say that beardies take water in through their skin. They also do NOT take water in through their vent. Science and actual experts have proven this all to be a myth. Also, bathing beardies is NEVER necessary unless they get dirty from poop or if that is the only way they will drink (from their mouths!) Otherwise, you risk doing more harm than good. They’re desert animals, you know.
Owning a single beardie doesn’t make one an expert, so you shouldn’t tout advice without including your source. Most writers know that.
Appreciate the correction, Brenda. I am the new owner/editor of this site and have removed that statement.
Bearded dragon do not absorb water threw the skin or vent. It was proven false,if u need more info on it I will be happy to share that, we don’t want people not offering water because they believe that it’s true.
Thanks for the correction Terry – I have removed that statement!
Nice blog. My beardies name is Bam Bam. He is four. He is my best and only friend.
He recently became very lethargic and has stopped eating. He had a swollen anal area so I brought him to the vet. She said all pathways were clear and that there was no prolapse. She felt it was a slight infection so gave him some medicine. I had been giving him sugar baths and applying Neosporin which she recommended I continue.
Jeanne I believe he may be in brumation but am not sure as he has never done it before. I am worried as he is sleeping all the time and again not eating. He used to accept all natural baby food from an eyedropper, but is no longer interested.
I am afraid Jeanne. Vets with dragon experience are impossible to find in Pueblo Colorado. I don’t want to lose my friend and I feel helpless.
What can or should I do?
Sorry for the less than sexy comment. 🙁
Hello, Rick. In regards to the anal area of your bearded dragon, I have no advice, except to follow the directions of your vet. It does seem like he is going into brumation. That’s what they do this time of year when it begins to get cooler. They sleep, they don’t eat, they don’t drink. I wouldn’t worry unless you notice him losing weight. They should not lose more than a gram or two during the whole duration. Keep offering food, though, while he’s awake until he’s fully shut down. I hope this helps.