What is brumation? Your bearded dragon may not be sick, just sleepy

...and what does it have to do with the Brümate?

The central bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps), also known as...
The central bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps), also known as... / SOPA Images/GettyImages

Here’s a term that you probably haven’t heard before, unless you’re an owner of a lizard or, you know, a biologist: brumation.

The term is well known to owners of bearded dragons in particular, though it’s something that is applicable to many cold-blooded creatures.

It does not, however, have anything to do with the insulated tumblers known as Brümates, which will get to in a second.

With that preamble out of the way, let’s get into a little explanation about brumation, and why it’s nothing for pet owners to worry about.

What is brumation?

Brumation is essentially hibernation, but for ectotherms (aka, cold-blooded animals). Unlike when a bear falls asleep for three months during the winter, brumation is a period of dormancy where a bearded dragon, or other lizard like a Chinese water dragon will attempt to preserve body heat through limited or no movement.

In the wild, bearded dragons will head underground to stay away from the cold. They’ll eat minimally and barely move. In captivity, it’s the same, and something that can potentially be extremely worrisome for pet owners. Your lizard isn’t moving or eating? Time to head to the doctor, right?

Well, no. And in fact, if a bearded dragon is brumating you don’t want to disturb them as that could potentially be damaging for the animal. The way to tell if a bearded dragon is brumating versus ill is: are they losing weight? Are there other telltale signs of sickness? Or are they just lying there pretty much still, only occasionally munching on the food you’re offering them?

If it’s the latter, chances are the bearded dragon is in a brumation period – not sick. Still, without stressing yourself out too much, you might want to keep an eye on the little dude… Even though brumation might last for a while.

When do bearded dragons brumate?

RSPCA Reveal The Exotic Pets They Rescue
RSPCA Reveal The Exotic Pets They Rescue / Carl Court/GettyImages

In the wild, bearded dragons usually brumate during June-August, aka the cold months in the Southern hemisphere. In captivity, it could literally be any time at all, not determined by winter or any other season. On the pet owner front, that means brumation could happen whenever, which is why you shouldn’t freak out if your bearded dragon stops moving suddenly in, say, March.

How long do bearded dragons brumate?

As noted above, it’s usually about three months in the wild. In captivity it can range from a few weeks, to a few months. As long as the beardo isn’t losing weight, you should be absolutely good to go.

What is a Brümate? Where to buy Brümate:

Okay, fine, a Brümate is a popular insulated tumbler, as well as a line of coolers and other accessories. You can buy them at https://www.brumate.com/, but they have absolutely nothing to do with bearded dragons or brumation.

Got questions about history, trivia, or anything else? Send an email to askeverest@fansided.com and we might answer here on the site!

Next. All of the references in Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start The Fire" explained. All of the references in Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start The Fire" explained. dark