When you are new to bearded dragons, you must be very excited to know the behavior and abilities of your pet. Discovering the unique skills of your reptile can be really interesting. Varying from species to species, they can show some intelligent fun moves, while others can be horrific.
One of the most frequent queries we are getting recently is, “Can My Bearded Dragon Swim?”
So, in this post, we will discuss the swimming behaviors of the pet bearded dragons in detail. Moreover, all the parameters you need to care about to make sure the excellent swim.
Don’t forget to take notes in your little pet diary we always recommend!
Yes, Bearded dragons can swim very well. As pets, they can be given swimming opportunities in a bathtub, pond, container, or puddle. However, make sure the water is not too deep and preferably lukewarm.
Bearded dragons cannot breathe in water. However, they can hold their breath while in water for an appreciably long time. They inhale air and then swim in the water, can float above it, and can also dive down.
However, if you take your beardie into deep waters and stay under it for more than 10 minutes, it can exhaust, suffocate and drown.
However, before discussing the safety measures and other factors for bearded dragons swimming, let’s talk about its benefits first.
Benefits Of Swimming:
The following can be most pronounced benefits of swimming by the bearded dragon:
- Swimming is one of the best exercises for bearded dragons. The buoyancy of water affects the whole body, including joints and muscles is a positive way.
- Swimming can help with constipation in bearded dragons. It stimulates the bowel and leads to easy defecation.
- Swimming keeps the skin well moist and aids in the shedding process in bearded dragons. So, when your bearded dragon is shedding, placing a big water bowl near it will help the case.
- Swimming is the best way to keep the bearded dragon effective and kill its boredom. In the wild, bearded dragons move a lot, prey, and explore their territory. However, as pets, they do not have much to do. So, incorporating exercises like swimming will give them a healthy activity.
- For obese bearded dragons, swimming can be one of the best exercises you can offer. Obese bearded dragons get very lazy and encounter multiple diseases, including bone diseases. Swimming can not only be exciting for them but also can be really effective for shedding the gained pounds.
- Swimming also releases impaction from your bearded dragon. We will talk about it in detail in the later section.
- Swimming provides essential hydration to your bearded dragon. Bearded dragons are not very much fans of drinking a lot. Therefore, it is advised to take care o their due hydration. A quick plunge in water will help them make up their water requirement for the day.
How Does A Bearded Dragon Swim In Water:
Yes, a bearded dragon does not have fins for swimming. It has more like a crocodile movement when it comes to swimming in water. The thick, scaly skin provides the water repulsion to its maximum. At the same time, the long tails give a lashing alligator-like movement in the water.
Bearded dragons tend to tighten their legs and arm and zip around. This characteristic is very particular in reptilian swimmers. Then they inhale air and float on the water.
No doubt bearded dragons are great swimmers. However, it would be best if you still were very careful when you let your bearded dragon swim. Moreover, you can never leave your bearded dragon unintended when it is floating. In the later sections, we will discuss the care you need to have with your bearded dragons while swimming.
Not All Bearded Dragons Like To Swim!
Yes, you read it write. Swimming is not a habit for bearded dragons like that for fish and other aquatic species.
Swimming in water varies from one individual beardie to another. Some love to hop in the water and enjoy it whenever they see it. Whereas others never try to touch the wet even when it is super enjoyable.
So, the first thing first. Never force your bearded dragon to swim if it does not want to. You have to respect its personality and preference and do not impose anything on it. If you force anything on your beaded dragon against its will, it will stress it out. Stressing your bearded dragon will affect not only its health but also its other behaviors leaving it in an all-time attacking position. Moreover, it will also severely affect your relationship with your pet.
Don’t be sad if you really want to see your beardie swim and it does not want to. You can train it to become a pro swimmer, enjoy and love water. However, it will ask for consistency and a lot of patience.
Placing a big bowl of water in its vivarium will be of great help if you want to induce the love for swimming in your bearded dragon. This will help to end its fears for water, get used to it, and love it in its own way.
Your Beardie Cannot Recognize Still Water!
As discussed before, introducing water to your bearded dragon can be challenging if it does not like it. However, if you are putting a big bowl of water in the vivarium to get your beardie used to it, there is a high chance it does not even notice it.
Therefore, you have to move the attention of your pet to the water bowel by wiggling your finger inside the water bowel to develop ripples. In this way, your pet will know what it actually is.
Another way to speed up the training process is by introducing a dropper on the bowel. In this way, the constantly ripping water will ask for its attention. Your beardie will naturally be intrigued and want to plunge into it. However, while introducing the water bowl, make sure it is not too deep to drown your beardie if it dives into it.
Set Up For Swimming For Bearded Dragon:
You see, you cannot just hop your beardie in water or let it enjoy in the nearby pool. Before allowing your bearded dragon to go in the water, you need to fix its temperature, depth and beware of the potential hazards that can occur.
If you are not much careful, the chances of drowning your bearded dragon are very high. So, the safety of your pet comes first when you want to give it this enjoyable activity.
How To Select The Swimming Area?
For swimming, you may use a large bowl, kid’s inflatable pool, or even a bathtub. Just make sure nothing is too deep for your beardie. Also, if you are using the bowl, never use it again to serve food, neither for humans nor for bearded dragons.
You cannot allow your bearded dragon to go in the pond, even if it is shallow. From the pond, your pet can sneak away quickly, and then it will be nearly impossible for you to relocate it. Also, there is a high chance that some predators inside can come after it or injure it during the swim. The water of the lake or pond is also not good enough and can cause infection to your bearded dragon.
How To Add Water To The Swimming Area?
When it comes to adding water, you may not want to submerge your pet into the water coming directly from the hose. It has two reasons. First, the water out of the hose is cold and can make your bearded dragon ill. You may look into the section of Health and Diseases of bearded dragons for more details. Moreover, it will contain a good amount of chlorine, amine, and heavy metals. Your pet will most probably drink it during its bath, which will be pretty harmful to it.
How To De-Chlorinate Water?
Chlorinated water can also cause eye infections in bearded dragons. So, dechlorinate water before adding it to the tub. You may look at our other article Can I use tap water for my turtle’s tank. We have discussed the methods of dechlorination in detail there which are valid in every case.
For a quick suggestion, I would suggest investing in Seachem Prime Fresh and Saltwater Conditioner. This is quite a powerful de-chlorinator that can also effectively detoxified ammonia, nitrites, and heavy metals.
Can A Bearded Dragon Swim In Cold Water?
Bearded dragons are cold-blooded animals and are ectotherms. So, their body temperature depends on the external environment. Therefore, you need to maintain the water temperature adequately.
Coldwater can make your pet ill. So, before soaking your beardie in the tub, make sure the water is lukewarm. Lukewarm water will have a gentle effect on the skin and will also stimulate the bowel. Ideally, it would be best to achieve a 26.6 degrees Celsius or 80 degrees Fahrenheit water temperature.
Realistically, it would be best to aim for your bearded dragon to swim at a temperature of around 80F (26.6C).
How Deep Should Water Be For The Bearded Dragon?
Now, the critical question is how much you fill the tub for a good float.
The safest depth of water for a bearded dragon is up to its elbows or knees.
Well, it might not be as much fun as seeing your beardie fill itself with air and float effortlessly on water or snip its tail and become a little crocodile. However, the safety of your pet comes first. In knee/elbow depth, your bearded dragon can tuck its legs out and can float or walk if it is not in a mood or feeling exhausted.
How To Soak Bearded Dragon In Water:
Now, place your bearded dragon gently in the water. Let it slide down with your one hand under its belly. If your beardie loves water, it will instantly run towards it. Do not leave your pet unattended for a moment. Pet bearded dragons are not pros in swimming. So, they can get an injury or lose control in the water.
Stay by the side with your hands out to show them you are there if they want to come out. Also, do not allow your beardie to swim fr more than 15-20 minutes. After this time, it will exhaust and will suffocate if gone underwater for long. Especially if you have an obese bearded dragon, limit the time to 10-15 minutes as maximum.
Clean The Tank:
Whatever thing you are using as a swimming tub, clean it thoroughly. Several harmful bacteria reside on bearded dragon’s skin which can get on the walls with water. Moreover, if your beardie is hurt during the swim, the chances of infestation are even higher. So, better disinfect it thoroughly to make it safe for human use.
Frequently Asked Questions:
There is a lot of confusion when it comes to the swim practice of bearded dragons. Let us discuss the most common one.
Is It Necessary For A Bearded Dragon To Swim?
No, swimming is not an essential part of the to-do list of your bearded dragon. If you are not confident about the safety of your bearded dragon while allowing it to swim, you may skip it entirely. Moreover, bearded dragons do not swim a lot in the wild too.
However, if your beardie loves it and you are sure that it will be safe for it, exercise will become an excellent fun activity. Most importantly, if an obese bearded dragon is interested in swimming, it will be one of the best activities to help it lose that extra fat.
As discussed before, not all bearded dragons are interested in swimming. So, better respect the personal preference of your pet and let it be. Otherwise, it will not only stress it out but can also lead to multiple diseases and high chances of drowning.
Can Bearded Dragons Swim In Cold Water?
Bearded dragons are ectotherms. So, they acquire the temperature of their surrounding. Therefore, they should never be allowed to soak in cold water.
Even when the water cools down during the swimming process from the initial lukewarm stage, it becomes an alarming threat for your pet. In cold water, the activity level of the body drops, and the metabolism slows down. So, it takes away their ability to move or swim.
If the bearded dragon is underwater and the water temperature drops, it will eventually cause it to drown. So, better monitor the water temperature closely and keep it lukewarm when allowing your pet to swim.
How Long Should Bearded Dragon To Swim?
The ideal swimming time is 15-20 minutes. For obese bearded dragons, it is 10-15 minutes for maximum. If your pet becomes too tired to swim, drowning is much likely to happen.
Do not let your bearded dragon swim for long, especially for obese bearded dragons. It is because the bearded dragon is not very habitual of extreme exercise and will exhaust soon. This will increase the chances of drowning or put unnecessary stress on the body of your pet.
How To Know That Swimming Is Not Ideal For Your Bearded Dragon?
When you allow your bearded dragon to swim, always stay on close monitor. Signs of stress in bearded dragons may include:
- loss of appetite
- unusual fatigue
- low activity levels
- loss of interest in basking
- aggressive behaviors
- dark colorations
- chewing various parts of tank etc
If you notice any such behaviors, you may need to think about other activity options for your pet cause swimming is uncomfortable. Or you may slowly introduce it to water, to let it be habitual with it.
How Long Can A Bearded Dragon Stay Underwater?
The ability of every bearded dragon is different when it comes to holding their breath. However, for sure, it is more than humans.
Even if your beardie is a pro in swimming, do not let it stay underwater for too long. Moreover, never try to test the breathing holding time of your pet underwater. Always stay at the safer end and make your beardie come on the surface after a couple of minutes.
Can Bearded Dragons Drown?
Bearded dragons cannot breathe in water. But they can hold their breaths underwater much longer than humans.
However, if your pet is underwater for long enough, the water will start filling its lungs. The pet will eventually die when the fill is more than half.
So, it would be best not to allow your bearded dragon to go off sight when it is swimming. Moreover, please do not allow it to stay underwater for more than a couple of minutes.
Can Bearded Dragons Swim Underwater?
As we discussed earlier, bearded dragons can hold their breath underwater.
So, as long as your beardie holds its breath, it can swim underwater. However, it would be best if you never force your bearded dragon to swim underwater. Moreover, if it is too long underwater, call your pet back and give swimming a good break.
What If My Bearded Dragon Aspirated Water?
If you hear the sounds like choking from your bearded dragon, you know it has aspirated water. For the emergency revival, you need to place it with its head angled downwards directly under the basking lamp. Switch the lamp to a two-degree temperature higher than usual. Watch for difficulty in breathing or if there are any signs of bubbles. Water aspiration can lead to severe respiratory infections.
So, even if your bearded dragon has returned to normal, you need to contact the vet for prophylaxis.
Can Bearded Dragons Swim In A Bath Tub?
Bathtubs serve as DIY swimming pools for bearded dragons. They are completely safe for swimming for your beardie as long as you are continuously monitoring them.
However, bathtubs are commonly used by humans, so they should be wholly disinfected after a bath by the bearded dragon to minimize any chance of infection in humans. It is because bearded dragons have a massive amount of bacterias on their surface, especially Salmonella, which can cause food poisoning. Moreover, they also tend to poop while swimming. So, complete disinfection is essential after every swim.
So, if you cannot dedicate a bathtub for your bearded dragon, it will not be a good idea to use the bathtub regularly. However, as a DIY hack, it can efficiently serve the purpose.
Can Bearded Dragons Swim In Tap Water?
No, tap water is not ideal for swimming for bearded dragons.
Tap water usually contains a lot of chlorine, chloramines, nitrates, and other components. These components can not only cause metabolic diseases but can affect your bearded dragon’s skin. Especially when it is shedding, it can cause skin infection. Moreover, chlorine and metal ions also affect the eyes severely.
Therefore, dechlorinate water using good chlorinating agents, as discussed before.
Can Bearded Dragons Swim In Chlorine Pools?
A big no for chlorine pools for bearded dragons!
A high level of chlorine is utterly intolerable for bearded dragons. It will dry out the skin, cause skin infections, and causes ulceration in the gut. Moreover, chlorine will damage the eyes of your pet too.
So, you better keep it away from chlorine waters.
Can Bearded Dragons Swim In Saltwater?
Never allow your bearded dragon to swim in saltwater. Bearded dragons tend to drink water while swimming. High levels of salt will make it ill in minutes to hours.
They do not have any mechanism to manage high sodium concentrations. This can cause a massive electrolyte shift in the body leading to severe metabolic disorders.
Can Bearded Dragons Swim In The Ocean?
No, bearded dragons should never be allowed to swim in the ocean.
Bearded dragons should never be allowed to swim in open waters. Not only is there a high risk of your pet fleeing away, but also there are predators who can harm them. Also, oceans have very salt water which will pose the same risk as discussed before.
Can Bearded Dragon Swim In Deep Waters?
No, bearded dragons should never be allowed to swim in deep water as there is a high chance of drowning.
The ideal depth of water for swimming is up to the knee/elbow length.
Can Bearded Dragons Swim In The Lake?
No, the bearded dragons should not be allowed to swim in lakes.
There are multiple reasons for this. First, the water depth in lakes is higher than recommended, which can cause your pet to drown. Secondly, there is a high microbial count in lakes which can cause gut and other metabolic infections in your pet. Third, there is a high chance of your pet sneaking away. Fourth, there can also be any predator in open water, coming after it and hurting it.
So, it would be best if you never allowed your bearded dragon to swim in the lake or other open waters.
Swimming can be a healthy activity for bearded dragons as long it is well monitored, and the pet enjoys it. It would be best to keep a good eye on your pet when it is in the water to avoid undesirable events. Follow our instructions precisely to be on the safer side and enjoy this recreational activity to its whole.
We tried to answer almost every query we received in this article. In case of any further questions you may comment down, we would be happy to help.
I am a graduate of a veterinary university. Dealing with all the kinds of pets from the dawn to dusk, it’s like understanding their language. That is the best time ever, I must say!
Writing has always been my orphenadrine. I love to share my experience and talk about the most common issues people have been facing with their pets. My writing career began in 2015. I aimed to work for pets to share my experience and make pet humans relation a lot better. I usually talk about the most significant or recurrent cases of the day. During my practice at pet centre, I face a lot of questions by pet owners. Moreover, I also own a variety of pets myself including different species of mammals, birds and reptiles.
Therefore, I have decided to educate all the pet owners about their little friends who can’t talk the way we do. Understanding what they are telling us is all we need to do. And most of us fail to perceive.
So, I am here to serve the purpose. Let’s help each other in better understanding the needs, behaviours, and problems of our best friends with the best possible solutions!