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Coming out of brumation?

hecait

Bearded Dragon Egg
My bearded dragon, Scout, has been acting strangely the last few days. She just turned a year old a few weeks ago and around the same time was separated from her sister, Piper…due to issues of aggression (blackening beard, head bobbing..which escalated to nipping) on her part- despite being the smaller of the two by about an inch.
Anyway, both of them slowed their appetites at around mid-October of last year and became really lethargic. They just slept all day on the cool side of their tank all sprawled out and would occasionally accept food and bask. But eventually, they both stopped eating and I assumed brumation, so left them be. Every day or so they would accept a hornworm or two but that’s it.
Fast-forward to now (almost March), Scout is still not eating and is getting weekly 15-20 minute soaks to maintain hydration. Also, from what I can tell she has not lost much weight (still has a good belly and a bit of fat storage under her arms from eating too much prior to stopping). She pooped last week, but only at my coaxing (used a bit of olive oil). She’s in a 55 gallon tall, and her mercury bulb is on for 10 hours, off for 14. Basking spot of 102, cool side of 74 with laser thermometer. Since I work 12 hours a day, 4-5 days a week it’s harder to observe all of her behaviors, but the last two days I have definitely noticed some head bobbing, stress lines on her belly, and overall heightened activity (frequent and agitated racing around the tank). I provided a dark hiding place on the cool side, but she spends very little time in it, if only to move around the bedding before running back out.
I have been offering her collard greens and superworms (all dusted), but she shows no interest. Her sister is still spending most of her time half awake and lethargic (also not losing her chunk), but is recently accepting more food.
I have leopard geckos as well and one of them has gone nearly 5 months without eating before without any loss of weight or decline in health, but…these are bearded dragons…so…here I am :/
 

hecait

Bearded Dragon Egg
Also, she has developed some kink to her tail...which sounds like MBD..but she gets regular supplementation (calcium and vitamins) and the mercury bulbs have been getting replaced more frequently then 6 months (due to premature issues..like getting knocked over), so that isn't an it. I am also aware of the limited reach of the uv, but her basking spot is within safe range of the bulb.

I've heard that beardies can have health issues related to poor calcium absorption. I'm not sure if that is related to inbreeding (which shouldn't be the case here, as I received both dragons at a reptile expo from a breeder and asked plenty of questions about all that)
 

Canicke

Super Moderator
Staff member
3 Year Member
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I'm confused - what is the strange behavior? head bobbing and heightened activity? if she's coming out of brumation, the head bobbing may be just reactionary. ditto the heightened activity. good for you for separating them. brumation is the reptile equivalent of hibernation (if you didn't know that) so they typically do NOT lose a lot of weight. don't know about kinky tail & mbd. I'm afraid im not helping much here.
 

hecait

Bearded Dragon Egg
I'm confused - what is the strange behavior? head bobbing and heightened activity? if she's coming out of brumation, the head bobbing may be just reactionary. ditto the heightened activity. good for you for separating them. brumation is the reptile equivalent of hibernation (if you didn't know that) so they typically do NOT lose a lot of weight. don't know about kinky tail & mbd. I'm afraid im not helping much here.


Im new to beardies, so I get super anxious when they act a bit out of the their norm...The strange behavior in general (so I've been told) was the fact that her brumation has lasted this long, and that she still isnt eating. And her sudden aggression towards her sister (who was a good girl about it...poor thing. There wasn't any damage, but Scout got a good hold on her beard. Was very distressed when we separated them). It's strange to me, maybe not to them. Just wanted to know if this was post-brumation behavior. That she was finally starting to come out of it...

I did some reading on brumation. Everyone seems to say different things about it. Which doesnt help. And is why Im here.
 

Canicke

Super Moderator
Staff member
3 Year Member
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Brumation - there is no black and white. They (beardies) all do it differently. My first male would go to sleep for MONTHS. Literally. And bury himself under the carpet in the darkest corner. wouldn't come out for nuthin. my current male slowed down. some days are slower than others. he has never completely stopped. he still eats and poops and runs around, just less. and - I just got back from a week out of town and both he and my girl are sleeping beauties. which may be because of the weather or because the gal who watches over them while I am gone doesn't interact with them (but she does feed them and clean poop :) ) When my first male came out of brumation - he was very aggressive. little guy but big ambitions. and FAST !! He was mating with my female before I knew he was running around ! Little ****. (I miss him - he passed a couple of years ago. sigh) My current female - hard to tell when she's brumating - she's just a slug a bug. she's good about not pooping in her viv or on me - she will move away when she has to go, but other than that, movement is not one of her strong points. I picked her up as a retired breeder and told her when I got her that she didn't have to do anything anymore if she didn't want to. she's taken me up on it. Are you sure Scout is a female? not to worry - it's an adventure
 

PatsyB

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Beardie Club
Are you sure that she is really a she? Head bobbing and black bearding is a sign of a male that is ready to mate. Sometimes when they come out of brumation they are ready to go, so to say.
 
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