Reptiles and Brumation

Rattle Snake

When reptiles hibernate, the term used is brumation. Preparing for brumation, the pet slows down considerably, stops eating, drinking and defecating. Brumation or hibernation is a natural process that occurs in some animals.

When you observe your pet get ready to brumate, you can help with the transition. First, make sure your pet is healthy and free of parasites. Take your pet for a veterinary checkup to make sure all is well and that some hidden disease doesn’t claim your pet during brumation.

Defecation is important before your pet brumates. Feces left in the body during that time can cause very serious infections. Give your pet a warm bath and a gentle belly rub to encourage him/her to defecate.

Some reptiles brumate every year, some at different seasons, others not at all. The length a time a pet brumates can vary – a week, a month or more or on and off during the brumating season.

You can offer your pet food and water during brumation, but s/he may not eat or drink. Make sure the humidity us the right amount. Try waking your pet to offer a drink so s/he remains hydrated. Keep in mind that some reptiles may be difficult to awaken during this period.

Your pet will seek out a dark area of the cage to burrow in for comfort and safety.

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