6 Signs of Bearded Dragon Brumation, Or Is It Dead?

It is becoming increasingly common for bearded dragon owners or carers to confuse their beardie for being dead when it is just in a stage of brumation.

Just like this family in the article below:

dead bearded dragon

Hopefully, you never have to experience this situation yourself.

To avoid being taken by surprise by brumation, familiarise yourself with the signs your beardie will give you. But before we go into the signs, let’s take a look at what brumation actually is.

What is Brumation?

Brumation is the hibernation-like state that bearded dragons go into during periods of climate change, or more specifically, cold weather conditions.

Cold-blooded animals, like beardies, go into this state to preserve body temperature and save energy.

You will notice this shift in behavior during winter and autumn when environmental temperatures naturally drop.

A decrease in motion means fewer calories are being spent, which means energy is being saved for crucial processes.

How Long Will Brumation Last?

Brumation for a bearded dragon can last anywhere from a few weeks or up to four months, which is why mistaking it for being dead is easily done.

Although it may seem odd, you can expect it to continue for quite a while. In the wild, brumation lasts during winter and autumn.

In captivity, the same seasonal environment can be replicated and can, therefore, last just as long.

Lizards typically brumate alone, so don’t be alarmed if your beardie goes for long periods without moving much or seeking attention.

Signs of Bearded Dragon Preparing for Brumation

As the colder months arrive, your bearded dragon will start changing its behavior to prepare for brumation.

If you know your beardie’s behavior particularly well, you will notice these changes.

As it prepares for brumation, your beardie will get lazier and appear to be tired. It may also stop moving, remaining in one particular area of its habitat for long periods.

You can think of brumation as entering the “energy-saving” mode for beardies.

If brumation is approaching, here are 6 typical signs that your beardie is entering into this prolonged state of rest.

1. Agitation

Your beardie may appear agitated during the weeks before it begins complete brumation.

This happens to beardies both in captivity and in the wild, it is a way for your dragon to prepare itself for the future state of brumation.

When you consider the facts, beardies have a lot to worry about in the wild when it comes to survival.

Brumation is a successful method of surviving colder climates.

 2. Appetite Loss

During brumation, your beardie will hardly eat anything. To prepare for this, it will likely start cutting down on the amount of food it consumes; this is to prepare for the lack of eating during brumation.

Your bearded dragon may not eat anything for the entire brumation period, or it may take breaks from its state to consume calories. Every beardie is different in this regard.

3. Increased Sleep

During the periods before brumation, your bearded dragon will usually want to sleep more often.

Think of this behavior as getting ready for the “long sleep” of brumation.

Your animal has to practice expending very little energy for an extended time.

You can, therefore, expect to see an increased amount of sleep during the weeks preceding brumation.

4. Avoiding Heat

Going without heat is the cornerstone of your bearded dragon’s brumation. The whole point of this process is to get used to colder temperatures and a lack of direct lighting or heat.

Before entering brumation, your beardie will likely avoid heat sources as a way of moderating its internal temperature.

This is just to reflect the drop in temperatures during the brumation process and is an extremely natural part of the overall process.

5. Reduced Pooping

Because your beardie will hardly be eating (sometimes nothing), it is also going to poop very little as well.

As you see your lizard going into the preliminary phases before brumation, you will notice a lack of defecating in its routine.

It will likely poop far less than usual, which is a good sign that it is getting ready for brumation.

6. Seclusion in the Hide or Digging

If you were a bearded dragon and you were about to brumate for months, wouldn’t you feel a little anxious?

Beardies will often display erratic behaviors before their brumation, which could include seeking out seclusion in their hide setup or digging frantically.

Brumation is a significant shift in your beardie’s routine and a significant milestone during the year, so expect to see a change in its usual patterns concerning how it keeps itself busy.

How to Tell if My Bearded Dragon is in Brumation or Dead

You may be concerned or worried to see your lizard in an unmovable state for long periods. Most of the time, if your bearded dragon is in good health, you can be pretty sure it is in brumation and not dead.

If you touch the limbs or raise them and they are soft to the touch and fall naturally, this is again a sign of brumation.

If your lizard is stiff as a board and its limbs feel brittle to the touch, this is a sign of something more severe.

Beardies usually live anywhere from six to fourteen years, so premature death is rare. There are though a few ways to tell if your bearded dragon is dead or brumating.

If you turn your beardie on its side, and it attempts to get upright again, you can be positive or almost certain that your bearded dragon is not dead but is just preparing for brumation.

Also, in dead beardies, the color of their skin goes from a naturally healthy color to pale white.

This is another method of distinguishing death from brumating.


Brumation is a time of change for your pet. Your beardie is going to go through some significant obstacles to prepare for this crucial behavioral change.

Getting to know the signs of brumation is a good idea if you want to minimize the shock of seeing your beardie behave differently.

Brumation is a natural process, and as your beardie ages, you will see it more often as it goes through the natural cycles of life.

So hopefully now you will be able to tell the difference between a dead, bearded dragon or one in brumation.

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Bearded dragon brumation or dead

  • About Matthew Cantell

    I was just 15 years of age when I first met a bearded dragon. It was at my friend's house and I instantly grew an immediate attraction to, what has now become, my favourite animal on the planet! Making fantastic pets for both children and adults alike, they each have their own personality and are certainly full of character. There are, though, some important things that we should all know when it comes to caring for these amazing animals!
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