What’s the Best Dietary Plan for a Bearded Dragon during Brumation?

April 22, 2024

Understanding how to cater to your bearded dragon’s dietary needs during its brumation period is essential for its wellbeing. They are unique creatures, and their dietary habits alter drastically during this phase. Today, let’s delve into the world of these fascinating reptiles and discover the best dietary plan for them.

Understanding Bearded Dragons and Brumation

Bearded dragons are a popular choice of pet among reptile enthusiasts. These animals are relatively easy to keep, but their care requires explicit attention to their diet, particularly during the brumation period.

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Brumation is a hibernation-like state that cold-blooded animals, like bearded dragons, enter usually during the cooler months. During this time, bearded dragons’ bodily functions slow down significantly, and their eating patterns change. They may refuse food and show decreased activity levels, which is a normal behavior in healthy adult dragons.

What Bearded Dragons Normally Eat

To understand how their diet changes during brumation, it’s crucial to comprehend what a bearded dragon typically consumes. Bearded dragons are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and meat. A balanced diet for a dragon includes a variety of insects, fruits, vegetables, and proteins.

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Insects such as crickets, mealworms, and roaches make up the majority of the protein in their diet. These should be dusted with a calcium supplement to ensure the reptile is getting the proper amount of calcium. Bearded dragons also enjoy a wide array of fruits and vegetables, such as leafy greens, bell peppers, apples, and berries.

How Their Diet Changes During Brumation

When the brumation period begins, your pet’s appetite will decrease. This drop in appetite is due to their slowed metabolism. It’s important to observe and respect their natural biological rhythms.

Since they do not eat as much during this time, it’s essential to offer foods that are high in nutrients and easy to digest. A common mistake is to keep offering the same quantity and variety of food, which can lead to uneaten, decaying food in the tank.

Instead, offer smaller amounts of high-protein insects and easy-to-digest fruits and vegetables. The insects should still be dusted with the calcium supplement to ensure they’re receiving their necessary nutrients.

Water Intake During Brumation

Just as its food consumption changes, so does a bearded dragon’s water intake during brumation. While they might not eat, they still need to stay hydrated.

Keep a shallow dish of fresh water in its tank at all times. It’s crucial to check this daily and replace it as necessary. Hydration helps with the overall metabolic process and can even assist in digestion.

Monitoring Your Bearded Dragon’s Health

During brumation, you should keep a keen eye on your pet’s health. While it’s normal for bearded dragons to have reduced activity levels and eat less, drastic weight loss or lethargy might indicate a significant problem.

It’s best to have your pet examined by a vet before brumation begins to ensure they’re healthy enough to endure the brumation period. Regular weigh-ins during brumation can also help monitor their health and ensure they’re not losing excessive weight.

In summary, the best dietary plan for a bearded dragon during brumation includes smaller, more nutrient-dense meals, a continuous supply of fresh water, and regular health checks. Maintaining this regimen will help ensure your bearded dragon stays healthy during its brumation period.

Alternative Diets: Jelly Pots and High-Nutrient Foods

As your bearded dragon enters brumation, you might observe changes in its eating habits, which can indeed be a cause of concern for owners. However, understanding these changes can make it easier for you to adapt to their new dietary needs.

A popular dietary supplement for bearded dragons, particularly during brumation, is jelly pots. These are small pots of gelatine-based food enriched with vitamins and minerals. They can be a good source of hydration and essential nutrients for dragons who might not be consuming their regular diet. However, these should only be used as a supplement and not as a replacement for their main diet.

In addition to jelly pots, a dragon diet during brumation should consist of high-nutrient foods. Some feeder insects, like dubia roaches and wax worms, are excellent choices due to their high protein and fat content. However, they should still be supplemented with a calcium powder to ensure a balanced diet.

Also, bearded dragons still need their greens. Opt for leafy greens high in calcium, such as collard greens and dandelion greens. These can provide necessary nutrients while being gentle on the dragon’s slow digestive system during brumation.

Remember: during brumation, the aim is not to feed your dragon a lot, but to make every bite count. The focus should be on nutrient-dense foods that are easy for your bearded dragon to digest, reducing the risk of gut impaction.

Signs of a Healthy Brumation in Bearded Dragons

In order to ensure a healthy brumation period for your bearded dragon, it’s important to keep an eye out for certain signs. Observing your bearded dragon’s behavior and overall wellness can provide insights into how well they’re adapting to brumation.

A healthy dragon brumation involves a palpable decrease in activity level, food intake, and a slightly lower body temperature. These are all normal behaviors and shouldn’t cause any alarm. The dragon will likely spend more time in its hideaway, not basking as much as usual.

On the other hand, if you notice signs of significant weight loss, lack of elimination, or an overly lethargic dragon, these could be indicators of a potential health issue. In such cases, it’s advisable to consult a vet immediately.

When it comes to the dragon tank environment during brumation, ensure it’s clean and free from any decaying food or fecal matter. Maintaining a clean environment helps prevent a host of potential health issues, including bacterial infections and parasites.


Caring for a bearded dragon during brumation can be a challenging task, particularly due to the drastic alteration in their dietary habits. However, with the right knowledge, it’s possible to ensure your dragon’s wellbeing during this period.

Remember, baby bearded dragons don’t usually brumate, so these guidelines apply mostly to adult bearded dragons. The best dietary plan for a bearded dragon during brumation includes smaller, more nutrient-rich portions of their preferred foods, maintaining a fresh supply of water, and ensuring your dragon has a clean, comfortable environment in their tank.

Furthermore, paying close attention to the signs brumation presents is paramount. Any drastic changes or worrying signs should prompt an immediate visit to the vet. Your bearded dragon’s health and comfort during brumation rely heavily on your understanding and adaptation to their needs.

In essence, caring for a brumating bearded dragon requires vigilance and understanding. With the right care, your bearded dragon can successfully navigate the brumation process and emerge healthy and ready for their active period.