Topics Forums Bearded Dragons Princess Puff Sleeping Through Winter

This topic contains 29 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Avatar XionUAV 8 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #4899
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    XionUAV
    Participant
    Princess Puff Sleeping Through Winter

    Just wanted to share a little info about Princess Puff, our super sweet and very smart little Utah Beardie who has decided to sleep through all of winter. I wouldn’t mind doing that myself.

    Last fall she started acting differently when she was outside. Yes, I would take her outside regularly to poop and let her roam around the yard. She loves to chase (and eat) wasps and has a favorite huge clover plant at the edge of the garden to play in and chow on. And on hot days she also loves to swim, dive and play in the wet grass under the sprinklers.

    But when it started getting colder she would sit in one spot in the yard and then when I wasn’t looking, vanish. Yes, we lost her a few times but always found her sometime later. The last time was after a cold few days of rain. It was three days after she had run off and hid that she poked her head out from hiding under a tarp while I was working near it, looked up at me and said, “I’m sorry I ran away. I don’t like the cold. Please take me in.”

    Some owners leave their dragons in their cages and never let them out. I think that’s cruel to the dragon. At least many let them run around in their house. We do that as well and even have a sunlamp we’ll put by a big front window where she’ll bask on a big princess pillow and look out at the world. But when she needs to do her business she’ll jump down, go to the back glass door and scratch at it wanting out. So we let her out. But we are working on methods to keep track of her when she decides to play hide-and-seek, which she’s very good at.

    Her palace is in a quite extra bedroom and we don’t have kids bugging her so after her last uncomfortable stint outside she decided she was done with the cold weather, did a super poop, crawled under her palace tree in a cave and went to sleep. The short of the long story here is she started this in late September. It’s now the middle of January and she has shown no intention of being fully active again, yet.

    I take her out every 10 days or so to let her soak in warm water until she’s had enough, dry her off in her spa towel, put her on her tree under the warm sunlamp and offer her something to eat. For the first few months she wouldn’t eat anything but the last few months she’s had a few bites of fresh pea pod and beans. She loves those. She also ate a little cucumber and apple last time. She’ll be bright-eyed and hang out under her sun for a while then just as I think she might be awake for good, heads back into her cave and says “Goodnight.”

    So given her behavior, I don’t expect her to actually become active again until spring. Around March maybe? We have a pool going on a wake-up month. My wife keeps saying we should wake her up now. I keep saying we need to let her do what she wants to do. She’s a smart dragon. When it gets warm and she wants to be social again she’ll let us know. Until then…

  • #4908
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    Zoodulcis
    Moderator

    She is in brumation. There is no need to wake her up. When the time is right she will know what to do and then she will be ravenous. Right now her metabolic needs are a fraction of their summertime needs. You probably miss her antics, but March is a fine time to encourage her to rouse, while now is a bit early and waking her messes with her internal biological clock.

    • #4909
      Avatar
      XionUAV
      Participant

      Oh I know all about it. Not my first dragon. My married daughter got me interested years ago when she worked at a pet store. My wife was just being the grandma trying to do what she thought was best for the grandragon. But grandpa is going to let her sleep as long as she wants.

      It’s important owners know that in the wild they absorb moisture from the ground while in brumation but can’t do that in a terrarium so they need to be soaked occasionally to stay hydrated. Leaving bowls of water in the terrarium or otherwise making the air humid is NOT an appropriate method of hydration and can promote respiratory problems. Beardies need dry air to breath but the occasional bath of some sort to keep their skin healthy. And of course baths really help when they’re shedding.

      She honestly doesn’t like the black bees. Just lets them buzz around but goes after yellow wasps with a vengeance. Must be something about that yellow color that makes them really yummy.

  • #4910
    Avatar
    Zoodulcis
    Moderator

    I figured she didn’t actually like back bees. But it was a fun comment to be able to make. I’m sure Grandma dragon protector is nervous but accepting. I can relate.

    But what’s this about brumation and water bowls and bathing and such?! This sounds to me like very valuable information. Would you recommend bathing a brumating dragon once per month and then dispensing with the water bowls or other ways to increase humidity? Have you done this for a few years with good results? If so, I think that is very valuable information to have. Please comment.

    • #4912
      Avatar
      XionUAV
      Participant

      Truthfully most of this type of information is all over You Tube but there are also some people who are uniformed and give bad advice.

      The first and most important fact about Beardies is they are native to the hot and super dry and arid outbacks of Australia. They also rarely drink standing water. They usually drink only if it’s dripping off their nose (as if it was raining), off of plants or usually just the moisture from food is enough.

      Beardies are very susceptible to respiratory infection caused by air that’s too humid. When my daughter was younger she was told to mist her dragon often. So she did. A few months later it was really struggling to breathe. She took it to the vet who told her it had developed a respiratory infection very likely due to too much humidity. So water bowls and misting in general offer no positive health benefits to a Bearded Dragon and can actually harm them in the long term. Now, misting a shedding dragon can help dry up the shed to come off easier but even then it’s better to bath the dragon, as in letting it soak in warm water for at least 10 minutes and longer if possible so the skin gets thoroughly saturated. Puff is only good for about 10 minutes then she really wants out.

      The prevailing scientific theory about hydration during brumation is that in the wild a dragon is usually in contact with the ground where a small amount of moisture is naturally absorbed into the skin keeping the dragon hydrated. Obviously this can’t happen in a terrarium so occasionally a captive dragon in brumation should be soaked in warm water to keep it hydrated. How often is kind of a guessing thing but it seems most recommend anywhere from a week to maybe two week intervals. I usually bath Puff about every 10 days or so. Don’t see any point in bothering her more than necessary when she’s trying to expend as little energy as possible.

      After soaking and warming up, sometimes our Puff will want a few bites to eat but many times she won’t. Having too much food in the stomach and digestive system while sleeping for months and months would not be a good thing because it could rot so she only eats what she thinks she needs. Recently I saw an irritating video where a young woman trying to be helpful dumped a bunch of crickets in with a completely lethargic brumating dragon. The poor dragon barely had its eyes open and the crickets were running all over it. Wanted to rescue the poor thing.

      Then I saw a video where an experienced reptile breeder went into a private pet store where he saw water bowls in with the baby bearded dragons. He told the owner that the water would make the air in the terrarium humid which could cause health issues for the dragons. He said he knew that but apparently some animal rights people had come into the store, saw there was no water in the terrariums, complained to some official agency that the store owner was mistreating the reptiles by not providing them with water so the agency threatened to fine him if he didn’t put water bowls in the cages. One of the stupidest things I’ve every heard.

      Here’s Puff in her spa towel drying off before she basks for a while then goes back to sleep.

  • #4960
    Avatar
    Zoodulcis
    Moderator

    That is really interesting about the water bowls and the animal rights people. I have found young animal rights activists from urban settings to be some of the most sincere and incredibly ignorant people on the planet.

    I may refer other forum members to your response if they seem confused about how to proceed with humidity.

    Happy Bath-times!

    • #4972
      Avatar
      XionUAV
      Participant

      Sounds good. Puff is getting her spa treatment today as a matter of fact. Lately I’ve been putting her in the bathtub with a couple inches of water rather than a smaller plastic tub just in case she decides to poop. Plus she can’t climb out ahead of schedule. She hasn’t drunk any water or pooped since going into brumation. I still call it hibernation because at least everyone knows what that is and it’s basically the same thing.

      Late last summer we took her to visit my 93-year-old mom who thinks she’s just fabulous. We had her in a 20 gallon tank for travel but she really didn’t want to be in there. So we let her out and she enjoyed moving around the car, hanging out in the back window and whatnot. But she was most interested in wanting up on the dash. She sat on the right side and looked out for quite a while then came over in front of me and positioned herself to get some sun. Later she went to the left side so I thought she wanted down. I put my hand on the dash so she could climb down but instead she just put her arms on the back of my hand and laid there until my arm got tired.

  • #4978
    Avatar
    Zoodulcis
    Moderator

    Funny you should mention her love of the dash board. At least 3 other forum members have posted photos of their beardies on the dashboard. Those photos are more common in spring and summer, as you can imagine!

    • #4983
      Avatar
      XionUAV
      Participant

      It kind of surprised me because given how they can dart their heads around trying to fix a location when being carried (I’ll many times put my hand in front of Puff so she doesn’t do that), I thought being in a moving car would really freak them out. But apparently not because at least Puff really likes looking out at the passing world.

  • #5128
    Avatar
    Zoodulcis
    Moderator

    Oh, she is plainly enjoying that! Now you have to teach her what it means when you say ‘Go for ride’! Some beardie owners take their guys for a drive and then into a store for ohs and ahhs from other shoppers. Do you ever do that?

    • #5138
      Avatar
      XionUAV
      Participant

      My daughter would probably do that but I tend to keep her here at home. She isn’t quite as clingy as I’ve seen other dragons. She’s certainly friendly and will hang out with you but usually prefers to explore more than be carried around. That might change as she gets older.

      Here’s a picture of her with my mom.

      • #5142
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        nixi
        Participant

        gave you a coin please return the favor 🙂

  • #5144
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    Zoodulcis
    Moderator

    Multi-generational love-fest! Did your mom encourage to have reptile pets as a kid?

    • #5152
      Avatar
      XionUAV
      Participant

      Actually no. She wasn’t a big pet person at all. We lived on a farm and had cats and a few dogs as well as cattle but reptiles were never a thought. I really don’t like snakes but always thought lizards were cool when I’d happen to see one in the desert areas near where we lived. It wasn’t until my daughter, who was still living with us and going to college, started working at the pet store and brought home her first beardie with all the supplies that I got to see how cool these little creatures are.

      Even though I’ve been taking care of Puff while my daughter was moving around and whatnot, she’s getting married this next Saturday and will be moving into her own house. Once settled she’ll be taking Puff to her place. I really enjoy Puff but my professional schedule this year is going to be rough and she’d like to take care of her anyway. She and her new husband will live fairly close so no doubt Puff will stop by often to chow on clover and play in the sprinklers.

      My wife has a great dog named Lily who is one of the family. And I have a cat named Kate who is 19-years-old now and still doing well. Getting kind of skinny but still manages to climb the fence although jumping up to her food dish on her cat stand ended a few a years ago. She just climbs up to it now. She loves to lay in front of heater vents.

      Here’s a You Tube slo-mo of Lily catching snow – https://youtu.be/KmzGTursZ9g

  • #5170
    Avatar
    Zoodulcis
    Moderator

    What a hysterical of Lily! What breed is she and are her eyes heterchromatic is that just a trick of the light?

    I am sure you are really going to miss Puff when she’s gone. She seems pretty special. Do you think you will acquire one of your own someday?

    • #5173
      Avatar
      XionUAV
      Participant

      Lily definitely has one blue eye and one brown eye. We were told she was pure cocker when we got her as a puppy but it’s evident she’s a mix with something else. My daughter thinks shepherd of some type. The nice thing about her is she doesn’t shed. Normally I’m not a big dog fan but she is a really good dog with a great personality.

      I’m the type of person that when I decide to do something I go all in so if I get another beardie someday, most likely at our next forever home, I’ll build a custom enclosure of some type. Last year I found a guy who gave away a couple of those rectangular store display cases that were about 8-feet long. My first thought was they would have been perfect for a beardie enclosure. Could do all kinds of fun stuff with that much internal space. We don’t have that kind of room in our current house but it’s something on my list of things to maybe do ‘when.’

      I’ll still get to see Puff fairly often. And if at some point my daughter needs a change for some reason I can always take her back. My main goal with any animal is just to make sure they’re properly taken care of and happy. Once we get back to a rural environment I really want to get a few small goats. I just think they are stinking cute.

      • This reply was modified 9 months ago by Avatar XionUAV.
  • #5191
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    Zoodulcis
    Moderator

    Your kitty sure does not look seventeen! I have a calico that does the fist bump thing with the top of her head.

    Goats are the best pets ever. Warning….they can be a little addictive!

    • #5345
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      XionUAV
      Participant

      Hopefully I’ll get to find out one of these days how fun they really are.

      I thought Kate was going to leave us a couple of years ago when she got super skinny but whatever it was went away and she gained weight again. We give her tapeworm medicine every summer even though she doesn’t hunt like she used to. And actually she’s 19-years-old so doing really well.

      As you might imagine I have a zillion pictures of her. One thing she loves to do is climb ladders. Not quite as much as she used to but whenever I’d be working on the house or a shed or going up onto the roof or into the loft of the shop she’d always follow me. If I was in the shop sometimes she’d climb the ladder to the loft, snoop around then lay by the edge and watch me. But she doesn’t like to climb down so I’d tell her to climb on my shoulder and after a moment or two she’d lay on my shoulder and I’d hold her while climbing down.

      When we first moved to our current house in 2001 I wanted to get a kitten but every time I found one at the shelter they already had a hold placed on them from other people wanting to adopt. Then one day while I was there they brought in this scrawny baby kitten with it’s eyes still half closed. Animal control officers said they found her in a parking lot. So I put a hold on her, visited her everyday until the 7-day hold expired and the rest is history.

      • #5349
        Avatar
        XionUAV
        Participant

        By the way, Puff stayed on her tree and basked the rest of the day after her last bath so I thought she might be waking but. But later she went behind her tree, climbed up so her head was just visible and went back to sleep.

  • #5400
    Avatar
    Zoodulcis
    Moderator

    Kate is so sweet. Some pets are worth waiting for. And that lazy Puff! Just enough energy post spa treatment to bask, and then back to sleep. Sheeeesh. I want to be a beardie in my next incarnation.

    I am starting to look for photos for the cover of my next animal care book that should be out in about 4 weeks. If you have some you would like to share of all 3 pets, I would be delighted to give you the credit as photographer.

    • #5405
      Avatar
      XionUAV
      Participant

      I have some great pictures. Not sure if they’re what you’re looking for but if you want to send me an email I’ll upload them to google photos and send you a link where you can download them. One of my all-time favorites is still the one with Puff and the black bee.

      It’s great that you’re publishing books. I have an extraordinary personal story that started when I was a Satellite Systems, Broadcast, Production and Wireless Communications Systems Engineer turned tech entrepreneur having organized and run several companies. After consulting for the Olympics in 2002 and while busy and successful in my profession, I literally woke one morning to discover that 25 years of career passion and drive was suddenly and mysteriously gone. It was as if someone had reached into my soul and turned off a switch. Not only that but it had been replaced with a disdain for the same work I was happy in doing only the day before. The experience was one of the most bizarre, puzzling and frightening things that’s ever happened to me. Then the dream came.

      Several months later after having basically abandoned my work and with no idea what to do next, I experienced two consecutive dreams wherein I sat alone in an old theater and watched a movie I’d never seen before – parts 1 and 2 over two nights. While documenting the story in the dream a sudden overwhelming impression came that I was meant to write that story out in detail and share it with the world. At that instant I laughed out loud, got up and walked away for obvious reasons. It was a completely ridiculous and futile idea. Being a businessman I knew that the odds of making something like that profitable to help support my family would be astronomically slim. High-risk projects with little to no chance of logical success are definitely not things I consider.

      But over the following weeks this impression was relentless and kept hounding me to the point I finally gave in. Sat my family down and told my wife and four children ranging from 5 to 14 years of age that I was going to write a novel and that we’d have to live off my investments for an indefinite amount of time because I’d need to work on the novel full-time in order to make it the best it could be. My sweet and supportive wife even volunteered to go back to work to help support us. She’s been supporting that effort now for the past 18 years. And to all this I swore them to secrecy because I didn’t want my professional associates to think I’d lost my mind, which wasn’t completely discounted.

      After four years the manuscript was finished and edited and the economy started tanking. My initial queries were all rejected as is usual so I published a print-on-demand version that a national distributor found. He thought it was good enough for mainstream distribution if I could get it professionally published. Went back out but still couldn’t get any interest from agents or publishers. Faced with “go big or go home,” my wife and I squeaked out a second mortgage on the modest home we had moved to to save money and I published the book myself. Now when I say published I mean I formed my own publishing entity and did all the work myself including book-block formatting and editing, graphics, layout and even the negatives for embossing and UV coating. Worked with a local publishing company that printed 3,500 books for me.

      Did around 50 book signings at Barnes and Noble and Costco locations in 2008. A book producer for a 14-consecutive NYT Best-selling author found the book on display in the lobby of the publishing company and was impressed enough to recommend it to her client’s NY agent. The agent said she liked the book but wasn’t taking on new authors because of the crappy economy. This book producer also invited me to speak at a seminar with her client, which I did. the novel got excellent reviews from readers and even B&N staff who declared me “up and coming.” It was even displayed at the NY Book Fair that year and received two national awards for Visionary Fiction. One was the same award also presented to the Dalai Lama believe it or not.

      A skeptical editor for a small publishing company who purchased the novel at one of my signings tracked me down later at another signing. After enthusiastically sharing all the stuff she liked about the story and plot and themes concluded by loudly declaring me a “friggen genius.” Now that’s far from true but was a nice compliment nonetheless. Unfortunately the novel was never taken seriously by publishers or agents so by 2009 I threw in the towel. Marketing one’s own work in competition with mainstream publishing companies is David vs. Goliath and I had run out of rocks.

      It did catch the interest of some Hollywood producers who contacted me. I always believed the story would make a great film plus I’ve always had a very active interest in the technical aspects of film-making. That led to years of meeting with reps from production companies and studios. Met some great people but as many know it’s just as fickle as the literary industry. Had some good leads and prospects but never felt comfortable with what was offered.

      Then an Oscar-winning filmmaker who requested the novel told me it was the ‘best he has seen’ for adaption to film. Knowing my business background and elevated goals for the project he suggested I write the screenplay and produce the film myself. A great compliment but not something I wanted to do. Building companies is incredibly involved and I was still hoping someone in the film industry would catch a clue, see the real potential of the project and take it on. Didn’t happen so I wrote the screenplay and started looking for production partners.

      Long story short here is I met more great people but just couldn’t pull it all together. One feature filmmaker said that my screenplay was the ‘best he had read in years’ and after a 4-hour lunch meeting offered to partner on the project. But he didn’t work for certain reasons. Another filmmaker with great credentials and experience offered as well. I really liked him but that relationship faded when I couldn’t raise development capital. Started my first tech company 20 years ago with around $1M in investment capital but no one would give me a dime for a film project. One investor said they’d give me $25M if I was doing another tech company but nothing for film. The underlying reason was that most films are crap and lose money. They aren’t wrong. Only a handful of filmmakers stick to proven story and production standards and stay profitable. So even as a proven professional with a track record for saying what I mean and doing exactly what I say, it wasn’t enough.

      So for the past few years I’ve been on autopilot just surviving and planning my next move. I still have relationships with some film industry people and I do believe that at least one of my other scripts will make it at some point. But today I’m still paying off debt, working on home projects, designing, building and flying cinematic UAV’s for fun and taking care of what I can. My daughter, the youngest of my four children, is getting married this Saturday. Time marches on.

      I still get asked if I’m writing more books. The short answer is without an agent and publisher there’s no point. I believe my chances at success are better with film. Time will tell. Last year I sent a query to the same agency that like my novel the first time. They declined again saying it was a good book but that getting represented these days is next to impossible. So I applaud anyone who manages to get a book out there in any form because I know first hand what it really takes. Good luck with yours.

  • #5408
    Avatar
    Zoodulcis
    Moderator

    My goodness! It seems we might have many things to communicate on that are better done via direct email as budding authors. Please contact me at goatlady80@gmail.com so that we can correspond on non-reptile related issues.

    • #5409
      Avatar
      XionUAV
      Participant

      Will do.

      Speaking of Puff, apparently she decided the cave was getting too small. Here she is this morning.

      • #5418
        Avatar
        XionUAV
        Participant

        The mighty Puff as officially awakened from her winter nap. She’s been up for three days now. Still just taking it easy but definitely up. So her nap was a full 4 months. She looks really good.

  • #5420
    Avatar
    Zoodulcis
    Moderator

    She does look good! All bright-eyed and scaley tailed. Is she eating as much as usual, or still waking up where that is concerned?

    • #5421
      Avatar
      XionUAV
      Participant

      Not quite as much as usual yet. I’ve been feeding her more greens and less crickets at this point until she becomes a little more active, although she’s loving chasing those crickets again. Ordered 500. She’s still pretty brown and sits really high on her basking tree so I think she’s as anxious for warmer weather as the rest of us.

      My newly-married daughter will probably take her this weekend to keep at her house. She was the original dragon owner in our family. I love Puff but it will be good for both of us as I need to focus more on other endeavors as you know. And she only lives a mile away so I’ll be seeing Puff fairly often. After all, we have her favorite giant clover plant in our garden.

      • This reply was modified 8 months, 3 weeks ago by Avatar XionUAV.