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Winter Slumber: Unveiling the Secrets of Reptile Brumation.

Everything you need to know about brumation, straight from our expert.

We're going to dive into the intriguing world of reptiles and unravel the mysteries of their winter slumber known as brumation. While many animals hibernate during the colder months, reptiles have a unique way of conserving energy and surviving as the temperature drops. Brumation is a fascinating process that involves changes in a reptile’s physiological state. Join us as we learn and understand more about reptile brumation, and how you can provide optimal conditions for your pet during the cooler months.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Meet Our Expert
  • Facts About Brumation
  • 5 Tips About Brumation
  • The 5 Must-have Products to Get Through Brumation
  • Masterclass
  • Conclusion

Meet Our Expert

With a deep-rooted love for Herpetofauna (the study of reptiles and amphibians) that spans as far back as his earliest memories, Ollie serves as our esteemed Reptile Department Manager, where he showcases his expertise and enthusiasm for these fascinating creatures.

Armed with his Captive Animals Cert III qualification, Ollie embarked on a mission to share his passion with others, delivering captivating and interactive reptile displays at various schools, fetes, and public events throughout Sydney.

Beyond his professional endeavors, Ollie's love for reptiles extends into his personal life. He seizes every opportunity to explore the diverse landscapes of Australia during his annual leave, embarking on thrilling herping trips across the country. Armed with his camera, Ollie has captured breathtaking photographs of numerous extraordinary reptile species that inhabit our vast and unique land. You can check out his photography on Instagram @herpshots

To give our reptile pets the life they deserve, it’s our duty to ensure we thoroughly understand their lives in the wild and do our best to provide an accurate replication in our homes.

 - Ollie Neuman

Facts About Brumation

While brumation and hibernation may seem similar, there are a few distinct differences. Unlike hibernation, which involves a prolonged period of deep sleep, brumation is more of a sluggish state where reptiles become less active and conserve energy. Brumating animals may occasionally wake up, shift positions and drink water, but overall their metabolic rate is significantly lower than normal, allowing them to survive the winter months when food and heat are normally scarce.

Brumation periods can vary greatly among different reptile species and even individual animals.
Some reptiles may brumate for only a few weeks, while others can go into this state for several months. Factors such as the reptile's size, species, and environmental conditions play a role in determining the duration of brumation. It's fascinating to witness how reptiles instinctively adapt to their specific environments and adjust their brumation schedules accordingly.

Brumation also influences the reproductive cycles of reptiles.
The onset of brumation triggers the release of hormones necessary for breeding. In female reptiles, brumation is required to stimulate the development and release of eggs for fertilisation in spring.
This unique connection between brumation and reproduction adds another layer of intrigue to the reproductive strategies employed by reptiles, showcasing their remarkable adaptation to seasonal changes.

5 Tips About Brumation

Preparation is Key 

Reptiles should only be allowed to enter brumation if they’re well enough that it won’t be detrimental to their health. We recommend getting your pet checked by a veterinarian that is experienced in treating reptiles. This is particularly important if the reptile is young or old. Annual health checks before brumation are a great way to monitor your reptile’s health over the years and make sure they are healthy enough to enter brumation.

Recognising the Signs 

It's crucial for reptile owners to recognise the signs of brumation in their pets. These signs include a reduction in activity levels, a decreased appetite, and a preference for cooler and darker areas of their enclosure. By observing and understanding these indicators, you can provide the appropriate conditions and support to your reptile during this period.

Adjusting Temperature and Lighting

As reptiles prepare for brumation, it's recommended to make gradual adjustments to their enclosure's temperature and amount of daylight hours. Lowering the temperature and reducing the duration of light exposure simulates the colder winter months, signalling to your reptile that it's time to slow down and enter brumation. Ensure you research the specific requirements for your reptile’s species, as temperature and lighting requirements will vary.

Hydration Matters 

Although reptiles decrease their water intake during brumation, it's crucial to monitor their hydration levels. This can be done by journalling when they drink and approximately how much, and by assessing their ‘skin tent’. Provide a water dish or offer occasional opportunities for hydration to prevent dehydration and support their overall health during this period of reduced activity.

Minimal Handling and Disturbance

During brumation, reptiles naturally seek solitude and minimal external stimulation. It's essential to minimise handling and disturbance to allow them to enter and maintain their brumation state undisturbed. Resist the temptation to wake or interact with your reptile regularly. Instead, provide a peaceful environment that promotes uninterrupted rest and rejuvenation.

By researching the specific requirements of your pet’s species and following these tips regarding the natural brumation process, you can ensure the well-being and health of your reptile companion.

The 5 Must-have Products to Get Through Brumation

Thermostat

Maintaining an ideal temperature range within a reptile's enclosure is crucial during brumation. Investing in a reliable thermostat to ensure a consistent and accurate temperature gradient is provided helps to create a suitable brumation environment for your reptile.

Get Your Pet Right Thermo Hygrostat
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Get Your Pet Right Thermo Hygrostat

Get Your Pet Right Thermo Hygrostat

$219.00

Heating Suitable for Night-time Use

Actively heating enclosures of diurnal (day-active) and nocturnal (night-active) species at night is important throughout most of the year but is especially important in winter. A carbon-fibre heat emitter works by emitting infrared A and B with minimal visible light to warm the reptile at night but not interrupt its day-night cycle.

Get Your Pet Right Infrared Projector
Get Your Pet Right Infrared Projector
Get Your Pet Right Infrared Projector
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Get Your Pet Right Infrared Projector
Get Your Pet Right Infrared Projector
Get Your Pet Right Infrared Projector

Get Your Pet Right Infrared Projector

$39.99

Temperature Monitoring and Recording Tools

Keeping track of your reptile’s behaviour, activity level, enclosure temperature, feeding pattern, and other parameters is important to understand their health status. Invest in a reliable thermometer and hygrometer to monitor enclosure temperature and humidity levels accurately. Additionally, maintaining a brumation journal can help you recognise any changes to track your reptile's progress and identify any potential issues.

Reptile One Mini Infrared Thermometer
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Reptile One Mini Infrared Thermometer

Reptile One Mini Infrared Thermometer

$49.49

Hide

During brumation, reptiles usually seek shelter to feel protected from the elements and any dangers present. Although this isn’t a problem for pet reptiles, they will still seek out the comfort of a dark, enclosed space to brumate. Providing a reptile hide that is enclosed and a snug fit is an important aspect of ensuring your reptile has a successful brumation period.

Get Your Pet Right Desert Hiding Cave
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Get Your Pet Right Desert Hiding Cave

Get Your Pet Right Desert Hiding Cave

$16.99

Reptile-safe Disinfectant

While brumating, a reptile’s immune system isn’t functioning as effectively as normal. Ensuring that your reptile’s enclosure is free of any nasty pathogens before they enter brumation is important. This can be achieved using a reptile-safe disinfectant on the enclosure, equipment, and decorative items before, and throughout the brumation period.

Vetafarm Ectotherm Enclosure Clean Ready To Use
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Vetafarm Ectotherm Enclosure Clean Ready To Use

Vetafarm Ectotherm Enclosure Clean Ready To Use

$29.99

Masterclass

The Bearded Dragon Masterclass is an essential resource if you’re thinking about bringing a scaly friend into your life, or perhaps you’re a first-time reptile keeper and just want to make sure you’re on the right track.

This online course will even benefit those that have kept reptiles all their lives and are looking for a ‘refresher’ on beardy basics.

We’ll go exploring, learning all about bearded dragons in the wild, ensure you’re across your reptile licensing and of course, help you to select a happy and healthy pet. We’ll teach you everything needed to set your bearded dragon up at home, from the enclosure, lighting and heating, right through to diet & nutrition. And, from maintenance to health and hygiene, we’ve gathered information from reptile vets and industry leading professionals, to ensure that the information we bring to you is always current and up-to-date.

Enrol Now

Conclusion

Brumation is a remarkable process that allows reptiles to adapt and survive during the colder months. As reptile owners, understanding and respecting the brumation process is crucial for ensuring the well-being of our scaley companions. By preparing for and recognising the signs of brumation, adjusting temperature and daylight hours, monitoring hydration, and minimising disturbance, we can provide the necessary support and create an optimal environment for our reptiles to undergo a successful brumation period in captivity. If you have any questions related to brumation please feel free to contact our friendly staff in the Reptile Department on 02 9629 3282 , email us reptiles@kellyvillepets.com.au or enter your details below.

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