Do Bearded Dragons Brumate With Eyes Open? {2 Main Reasons}

Strange and peculiar bearded dragon behavior gets us feeling like something is wrong. Do bearded dragons brumate with eyes open?

What if I don’t want my bearded dragon to brumate?

My beardie used to sleep with one eye open. Was he suspicious of me?

In my article today, I found out some details about brumation that you and your bearded dragon might find useful.

Do Bearded Dragons Brumate With Eyes Open?

Sometimes. It is not important whether or not a bearded dragon’s eyes are open during brumation.

Two main factors may cause this:

  1. Alert for possible predators
  2. Too much light

When a bearded dragon enters brumation (reptile hibernation) they are vulnerable if their location is compromised.

They do not sleep the entire time and keeping one eye open or both eyes alert gives them the ability to spot danger lurking from the shadows.

Lighting in the enclosure could cause them to remain awake or keep their eyes open. When it is perfectly dark, a bearded dragon is more likely to close his or her eyes in a comfortable and safe resting spot.

Do All Bearded Dragons Close Their Eyes When They Brumate?

No. Sometimes you will notice bearded dragons awake, eyes open or not brumating at all in captivity.

Temperature remaining constant and artificial light providing an atmosphere of warmth and comfort may not trigger brumation at all.

Your bearded dragon may feel too warm with their internal temperature reading high enough to forget all about the winter weather outside.

How To Prevent Bearded Dragon Brumation

Keep in mind that bearded dragons enter brumation only after they are older than a year. If you wish to avoid brumation:

  • Increase lighting
  • Handle them more often
  • Hydrate, bathe and feed them

For those who wish their bearded dragons to reproduce, brumation benefits them by triggering ovulation or increasing sperm count.

Can I Touch My Bearded Dragon During Brumation?

Do you want to stop your bearded dragon from brumation? If so, handle them more often.

If you would like to allow them to follow their natural cycle over winter months where temperatures dip slightly in their enclosures, then leave them be.

It’s tough on us when we can’t interact without our beardie who likes to hide in his favorite spot at the back of his tank and rarely stretches out to greet us during this time.

I resist and let him do his thing while my friend routinely tells me that he just continues life as usual. When you’re wishing to remain actively involved with your bearded dragon over the winter you can:

  • Bring them out of their enclosure.
  • Take them around the hose or outside.
  • Keep them active.
  • Increase lighting and keep temperatures warm.

The choice is yours to make, but if your bearded dragon really wants to slow down, give up eating and sleeps for the better part of the day, then I would just leave them alone for now.

Why Is My Bearded Black During Brumation?

Bearded dragons may appear darker throughout their bodies and the area under their neck could be black.

They might near the end of brumation and wishing to return to their normal schedule. They may need time to adjust and return to their normal color as well.

As this point, you will see their need to:

  • Eat and drink more.
  • Demand more lighting.
  • Bask in warmer temperatures.

Give it a few days to a couple of weeks for your bearded dragon to lighten up and monitor them during this time.

Make sure their feces is not impacted, runny, smelly, discolored and their appetites are back for feasting on liver critters and leafy greens.

YouTube video

How Should My Bearded Dragons Act During Brumation?

Your bearded dragon is going to show you that he or she needs more rest.

They will:

  • Reduce eating or stop altogether
  • Drink very little or nothing at all
  • Hide
  • Remain in cool spots
  • Keep one eye open or close both eyes
  • Remain inactive

This is a natural process that should not worry you if it is the colder months of the year. Let them brumate and be lazy.

If this is your first time witnessing brumation, enjoy the calm demeanors, laid back sluggishness and do not be too concerned.

You can continue to offer some greens and water, but do not be concerned if they don’t care for it.

Bearded Dragon Brumation Too Long

How long should brumation last for bearded dragons? Usually, my bearded dragon enters brumation and remains inactive for about 3 months.

We still say hi and gently stroke the top of his head. He will even accept a warm bath or a bit of food and water. If your bearded dragon is brumating for too long, you should consult the situation with a vet.

How old is your bearded dragon? They must be over a year old to begin brumation and older bearded dragons may end up in this state longer.

If temperatures continue to stay cold, they may wish to stay in this position longer. I would say that anything longer than 4 months of brumation is getting to be too long.

Do I Turn the Lights off During Brumation?

Keep in mind that your bearded dragon is sleeping even if their eyes are open.

  1. Reduce heating and lighting to allow for their body temperature to lower and trigger their natural state.
  2. While mammals hibernate when it gets cold outside, reptiles bearded dragon brumate to withstand winter temperatures.
  3. If you keep the heat up, UVB lights at normal and continue to handle them with temperatures over 60 degrees Fahrenheit, they may not brumate at all.

Why Does My Bearded Dragon Sleep With Eyes Open?

It is not strange for bearded dragons to sleep with their eyes open. There are some reasons to explain it however. Let’s try to explain it here:

  • Protection from predators
  • Light sleepers
  • Not dark enough
  1. Safety and security are essential for a smaller sized reptile in harsh climates with many possible predators. Your bearded dragon may not be totally relaxed or cannot give up the natural instinct to remain alert even when sleeping.
  2. Another factor is that these reptiles do not naturally sleep deep. They are technically light sleepers anyways and you should not be concerned if one or two eyes are open.
  3. Finally, if the surrounding environment was well lit, daytime or UVB lights are too strong, these reptiles may not close their eyes.

The next time it’s dark and the lights are off, check to see if your bearded dragon’s eyes are open or closed.

Will Bearded Dragons Brumate With Eyes Open?

Yes. Brumation could be partial process in captivity where these bearded dragons realize that winter’s harsh conditions won’t affect them in protected enclosures with well managed temperatures.

This state of brumation will be conditional and relative to their mood and desire to become inactive or they remain a part of your daily schedule with interaction and desire for food.

If they remain awake, but hide out, this could be considered partial brumation. Keep in mind that not all bearded dragons are the same and your unique beast has adjusted to your behavior and your setting that you have provided.

How Do Bearded Dragons Like To Sleep?

Bearded dragons sleep in areas that are hidden or dark. They can burrow, dig or climb to areas that are warm and cozy. It can be a cave or a box.

You may notice a sleeping bearded dragon:

  • Tucking their head in
  • Curling up like a ball
  • Sleeping long and flattened
  • Tail wrapped around an object
  • Eyes open or closed
  1. Your bearded dragon is uniquely adapting to you. The way they sleep will depend on the conditions you have produced.
  2. The lights should be on a timer to shut and provide 12 hours of darkness on a diurnal cycle.

I love that my bearded dragon sleeps when I do. When I had a gecko, he would be active all night and rest during the day.

This situation is so much better for us as long as the brumation season in the winter has not arrived. At that time, I just leave my bearded dragon alone for the most part and let him rest for 2-3 months in peace and comfort.

Why Bearded Dragons Brumate?

There is a lack of food and warmth over the winter. The lowering temperature triggers bearded dragons to instinctively decide to brumate.

The main reasons are as follows:

  • Colder temperatures
  • Lack of live food and vegetation
  • Converse energy
  • Increase sperm count
  • Begin ovulation

You may notice your bveaded dragon

  • Sleeping more
  • Not interest in food or water
  • Not basking as much
  • Refusing your touch and handling
  • Going to the bathroom less
  • Lethargic

If your bearded dragon is napping more, hiding and possibly acting irritable, leave them be. It’s ok and remind yourself that this is just a natural process.

Final Thought

Eyes open or closed is not a big deal. Keeping lights off at night allows your beardie to relax. Without any perceived threats, their eyes may close and we’ll take this time to wish them a good night.


Thank you for visiting for the best information to help you enjoy the life of your pocket pet companion in a fun, safe & healthy way.


My name is Anna and I work full time in my local pet shop where we sell many animals that I write about on this site. I love all animals and love writing about them.