Rankins Dragon .co.uk

Odd/worrying behaviour
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Author:  NickiMoz [ Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Odd/worrying behaviour

Me and my partner have owned Auzzie (our Rankins) for 3 months now. We're not 100% sure of the sex but we refer to her as a female (well, there's a 50% chance we're right..lol)
She settled in really well and has gotten used to us quite quickly aswell. Her behaviour has been pretty consistent, until recently.
She usually likes to lounge around random parts of the viv and will have moments of scurrying around, she's never shown interest in her water bowl..even with all sorts of encouragement! Recently she's been acting a bit odd. She seems on edge and will run around the floor of her viv. She also keeps sleeping on one of her raised logs at night, whereas she has always burrowed into her substrate at night (in random places).
Today I found she'd disappeared into the coldest corner of the viv and was fast asleep, this was at midday! She's usually up and about quite early and she feeds before 12. I went to pick her up and she was stone cold and did not move, I thought she was dead. Then she opened her eyes and since then has been doing the whole "running around, acting jittery" business.
Is there any chance she's doing this 'brumating' thing I've been reading about. If so, what should we expect/do with/for her?

Its a 3ft standard viv, we've had everything new from when we bought Auzzie (3 months), inc. UV light + heat lamp (ceramic holder).
Daytime temps are between 97-100 (basking) and 75 (cool). Of a nighttime we drop the temp by 15 degrees. She's always slept well and is very healthy.
Going by what the shop assistant told us, Auzzie should be 10 months old now. She's grown/shed very healthily and usually eats very well (hasn't eaten brilliantly for the last few days and has only had a few leaves today).

Its just a bit worrying as Auzzie is the first pet of this kind that either of us has had, so any advice would be such a help!

Author:  thelizardbloke [ Mon Dec 10, 2012 7:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Odd/worrying behaviour


It's definitely the right time of year for brumation. Even a dragon as young as yours will feel the need to brumate.

The thing to watch here is weight. If you haven't already done so, get yourself a decent set of scales and weigh her a few times a week. When a dragon brumates they tend not to lose a significant amount of weight (maybe a few grams). When an animal is sick you could see a significant weight loss (perhaps 10% of total body weight or more) over a period of 2 to 3 weeks.

The difficulty is that sickness (such as a parasite infestation) and brumation have very similar characteristics, except for weight loss.

To me it sounds like brumation but this would be the best way to test.

When my animals brumate I wake them up every week to bathe them, then let them go back to sleep. It's important to keep their fluid levels up when they are not taking in any food.

Hope this helps.

Best regards,

Author:  NickiMoz [ Mon Dec 10, 2012 7:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Odd/worrying behaviour

Thanks for the reply.
I'm relieved that you think it could be brumation, I wasn't sure it was right for a dragon so young to do this.
I've not weighed her at all since we've had her as she's grown and put on weight so obviously we've never had any concerns with her weight. The base of her tail is also very thick, which I've been advised is something to make sure of.
Should I avoid waking her to feed during the week if its brumation? I'm just a little concerned as she usually feeds on crix daily.

Author:  thelizardbloke [ Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Odd/worrying behaviour


There's always some question about letting sub-adults brumate. At 10 months she's probably old enough. The rule for brumation is generally not to let very young animals or sick animals brumate.

The tail base is important because they store fat cells in their tails, which they use as stored 'food' during their sleep. Feeding them during brumation can be problematic. As their metabolism is slowed by sleeping and reducing their body temps, so their ability to digest is impacted. Foods that contain a lot of chitin, such as mealworms or crickets, can remain undigested in the gut and even pose a risk of impaction. If you are going to feed them this is the one time where a few waxworms would be OK. There's a lot of fat in them and they are easy to digest.

Hydration is very important, so I would advocate bathing them every 7 to 10 days just to keep the fluid levels up.

Hope this helps,

Author:  NickiMoz [ Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Odd/worrying behaviour

So when I woke her this afternoon and she was stone cold and lifeless..that's part of brumating?
I'm sorry to be such a question pest, but I feel so strange leaving her burrowed in a corner for days without seeing her move. Of course if that's completely normal then that's what we'll do, I'm just making sure we don't miss something and it turning into us having neglected her :?

Author:  thelizardbloke [ Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Odd/worrying behaviour


So when I woke her this afternoon and she was stone cold and lifeless..that's part of brumating?

This is where the weight thing is so important. Brumation occurs in the wild during the colder months. Lizards are endothermic, meaning that their body temperature is regulated by the temperature around them. The warmer they are the more active they are. When the outside temperature drops, so does their body temperature so, to avoid starving, they have developed this sort of hibernation technique.

In captivity, it's not always possible to get their body temperature low enough to brumate, so they will seek the coolest spot and bury themselves to lower their body temps. The problem is that they also do this when they have a parasite infestation. The cooler temperatures slow down the parasite activity and makes them feel better. I've seen people lose animals because they've mistaken parasite infestation for brumation. It's a very easy mistake to make. I really don't think that's the case here but it's better to be safe than sorry and check the weight regularly while they are sleeping. If you are careful you don't even have to wake them while you do it.

If you have any concerns I can't stress enough that you should have her checked out by your vet. It all sounds normal but you have the advantage of direct observation, so if something doesn't look or feel right go with your gut instinct and have her checked.

Hope this helps,

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