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Hey my 1 year old bearded dragon has been in brumation for the whole of winter and I was wondering if it would be safe to wake him at the start of spring or just leave him and let him wake up naturally
There is no way one should have to “wake up” a brumating reptile. Just adjust the heating (and lighting if that was altered) and let nature take its course. Spring weather has already begun, so if you reduced the cage temperatures over winter, then turn them straight back up to warm season temperatures. If it was the heating time you reduced, then turn the heating on for the time duration used during the warm season. Without knowing what species of bearded and how it was encouraged to brumate, I cannot be more specific.
It does sound as if your bearded was brumated during its first 12 months. This is not ideal as they tend to put all their food intake into growing and don’t start filling out and storing fat until around 12 months of age.
My preference for brumating reptiles is simply to reduce the heating time. This allows them to come out and bask when they want to. While they will not eat during this period, they do need constant access to fresh water. Those who say it more natural to reduce the temperatures actually lack an understanding of what happens in nature. Intermittently, on a sunny winter’s day, many species of basking reptiles will do just that. The ambient air temperature may be low but a basking spot with little wind can be 20 to 30 degrees warmer than the air temperature. Following are some examples to illustrate this.
Dark colours absorb more lignt, including IR, so dark surfaces heat up more. Ever walked bare foot on a roadway in summer. What sort of difference is there between the concrete curbing and the asphalt road surface? Yet the ambient air temperature and sun exposure is same for both. You can get a similar effect with conductive and non-conductive surfaces of the same colour. When walking down a concrete path onto a white sandy beach in summer, by midday the sand gets so much hotter. This is because the air trapped in the sand does not allow heat to penetrate much below the surface.
There has to be a reason for winter basking behaviour. I suspect it might have to do with cleaning out wastes from the blood that have accrued while their metabolism is ticking over a lot more slowly. Whatever the reason for it, winter basking is a part of many reptiles’ natural behavioural repertoire and reducing cage temperatures significantly does not cater for this in captivity.