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Can Bearded Dragons Swim? Facts & FAQs

Sarah Psaradelis

By Sarah Psaradelis

bearded dragon drinking water

If you are looking to add a water source to your Bearded Dragon’s enclosure or to find out whether you can put your Bearded Dragon in water, one of the questions you might have is whether these reptiles can swim or not.

While most Bearded Dragons aren’t fond of swimming or getting wet since they don’t do this naturally in the wild, they are capable of swimming. Some Bearded Dragons may even enjoy swimming in short bursts, although you should never force your Bearded Dragon to do this.

Do Bearded Dragons Know How to Swim?

As an animal that is naturally found in the hot deserts of Australia, it might come as a surprise to know that Bearded Dragons can swim. Although they don’t typically swim in the wild unless it is necessary for their survival, most Bearded Dragons prefer to spend most of their time on dry land. In the wild, Bearded Dragons typically get most of their water from the plants and insects that they eat, or from streams and puddles. Most Bearded Dragons will not venture into the water to take a swim for their enjoyment as they are not semi-aquatic reptiles.

How Do They Swim?

Bearded Dragons seem to have an interesting way of swimming that makes them quite good at it. Even though Bearded Dragons hardly ever swim in the wild, swimming seems to come naturally for them, although they can’t swim for very long. They will tuck their legs close to their bodies to make them move easier in the water and move their tails and bodies from side to side when swimming. The Bearded Dragon’s tail helps them to steer in the water and to stay more buoyant.

bearded dragons near pond
Image Credit: Agung bayu, Shutterstock

Can You Put Your Bearded Dragon In Water?

Yes, you can put a Bearded Dragon in water, but it needs to be shallow and lukewarm. If the water is too deep, your Bearded Dragon can drown if they get tired of swimming. Bearded Dragon owners may want to put their Bearded Dragon in water for a variety of reasons, such as exercise, hydration, bathing, to help with shedding, or for entertainment purposes.

Whether or not your Bearded Dragon likes water will depend on their personal preferences, as some Bearded Dragons will get very stressed in water. You should always monitor your Dragon’s behavior when they are in water and take them out if they are showing signs of stress such as clawing at the sides of the container, constantly moving, and acting distressed, along with rapid breathing.

If you do decide to let your Bearded Dragon swim in a shallow pool or container of water, you should supervise them the entire time. You should ideally let your Bearded Dragon soak or swim in the water for no longer than 15 minutes as they will begin to get tired.

Before Letting Your Bearded Dragon Swim

Here are some things to keep in mind before putting your Bearded Dragon in water:

  • Using a container, tub, or small pool with a smooth bottom can make it difficult for your Bearded Dragon to stand or grip the bottom. This can make your Dragon feel stressed. Try to place a towel or non-slip surface down before filling it with water.
  • The waterline should ideally sit under your Dragon’s chin and not cover its nostrils when they are standing still. 2 inches of water will be fine for most adult Dragons, but smaller Bearded Dragons may need less water.
  • The water shouldn’t contain salt, chlorine, or other chemicals that can harm your Dragon. This can be a problem for many Bearded Dragons who may drink the water and it can irritate their skin.
  • Do not force your Dragon in the water since swimming can be stressful for some Dragons if they don’t want to do it. They will swim as an instinct when placed in deep water and are at risk of drowning if they cannot find somewhere to rest. Most Bearded Dragons will prefer to soak in shallow water rather than swim in it.
a bearded dragon sleeping under a log
Image Credit: Dudley Simpson, Shutterstock

Do Bearded Dragons Like Getting Wet?

Some Bearded Dragons don’t mind getting wet, while others can get stressed from it. However, Bearded Dragons are usually tolerant of water. You may even find that some Bearded Dragons will sit in their water bowl when they are taking a drink and it encourages them to hydrate. Interestingly, a Dragon’s scales repel water, which is why water droplets seem to slide right off of them. The hydrophobic scales make it easy for Bearded Dragons to lick up any water droplets on their snout, which is another method they use to hydrate themselves.

Can You Bathe Bearded Dragons?

Yes, you can bathe your Bearded Dragon as long as you do not use any soaps and shampoos. Bearded Dragons should only be bathed in pure water without chemicals and other additives, such as boiled and cooled water, bottled water, or tap water that is safe for human consumption. Bearded Dragons don’t usually need regular bathing if their habitat is kept clean, and most people will bathe or soak their Bearded Dragons for hydration purposes rather than to clean them.

In Conclusion

Bearded Dragons can not only swim, but they are quite good at it too. Even though Bearded Dragons don’t favor swimming in the wild, they can be placed in water for 10 to 15 minutes for a soak. Bearded Dragon owners may choose to place their Dragons in water to hydrate them or soften their shed, while others do it to exercise their Dragon.

Under close supervision and with pure water at a comfortable temperature, many Bearded Dragons can start to enjoy swimming and being in the water

Featured Image Credit: Piqsels

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