Bearded dragon brumation is a state of dormancy among reptiles that is somehow similar to hibernation. During this period, the bearded dragon sleeps majority of the time and eats very little. Bearded dragon brumation can be quite tricky especially for new owners because they are unsure of what is happening to their pet during this state. Also, the process occurs differently for each bearded dragon so there is no clear-cut formula on how to deal with it when it happens. Some bearded dragons do not even brumate at all.
Some of the symptoms of bearded dragon brumation that you need to be aware of include spending less time basking in the heated lamp while spending more in cooler areas, decreased or no appetite at all, spending a lot of time sleeping, appearing disturbed by light, and creating a nesting spot by digging. These symptoms can easily be confused for an illness so the best way to confirm that your dragon is just brumating is by having a stool exam in order to rule out any other conditions. Also, keep in mind that bearded dragons only start brumating until they are at least 1 year old.
Once you have confirmed that your bearded dragon is undergoing brumation ,there are a few things that you can do to assist you pet. One of them is by regularly giving your bearded dragon warm baths. The bath serves 2 purposes: it helps induce a bowel movement and it also hydrates them as well. A bowel movement is recommended for brumating bearded dragons as the food inside their belly can rot and produce a lot of bacteria, or even cause a blockage. Another thing that you can do is by reducing the light and heat cycle on the enclosure by turning off your heating devices 2 hours earlier than the regular time.
A bearded dragon brumation cycle can vary in duration and may last for a day, a week, or even months. Since this is a very idiosyncratic process, you have to adjust to the needs of your pet dragon accordingly. The best thing that you can do when this happens is to be informed and prepared so you’ll know what to do.