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Individual differences |
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Reptiles generally begin brumation in late fall (more specific times depend on the species). They often wake up to drink water and return to "sleep". They can go months without food. Reptiles may want to eat more than usual before the brumation time but eat less or refuse food as the temperature drops. However, they do need to drink water. The brumation period is anywhere from one to eight months depending on the air temperature and the size, age, and health of the reptile. During the first year of life, many small reptiles do not fully brumate, but rather slow down and eat less often. Brumation should not be confused with hibernation; when mammals hibernate, they are actually asleep; when reptiles brumate, they are less active, and their metabolism slows down so they just do not need to eat as often. Reptiles can often go through the whole winter without eating. Brumation is triggered by lack of heat and the decrease in the hours of daylight in winter.