Brumation is a period of reduced activity and slowed metabolism in reptiles that is similar to hybernation. Unlike hibernation, however, reptiles in brumation are not asleep for the entire time. They still move about occasionally and drink. Brumation is triggered by cool weather and shorter daylight hours. As the temperature cools and days grow shorter, reptiles eat less and finally stop eating before looking for a safe, secure place to retreat for the winter. Brumation serves to help protect reptiles from cold temperatures, keeps them from starving when food is in short supply and triggers breeding processes the following spring.
Most reptile breeders cool their animals for 2–3 months each year to simulate the natural brumation process.