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5 Simple Ways to Hydrate Bearded Dragons

Do bearded dragons drink water?

As you’ll learn, you’re not the only bearded lizard’s owner worried about their beardies not drinking enough to stay hydrated.

To soothe your worries, I’m going to explain all about bearded dragons’ drinking habits and how to avoid dehydration.

Check: Why Do Bearded Dragons Open Their Mouth?

Bearded Dragons and Water

bearded dragon on top of a stone

In their natural habitat, bearded lizards may go without fresh water for extended periods of time. That’s because they have adapted to survive a dry climate with low humidity.

However, when you raise these lizards in captivity, it’s necessary to pay attention to how much water your bearded lizard drinks. Chronic dehydration can cause a variety of health issues. 

But unlike cats and dogs, hydrating your bearded lizard isn’t as simple as placing a water dish in their tank because lizards aren’t used to drinking from bowls.

So, let’s talk in detail about your lizard’s drinking behavior. 

Do Bearded Dragons Need Water?

bearded dragon with a wide open mouth

According to a survey conducted among bearded lizard owners by beardeddragonsworld.com, over 50% of owners have never seen their lizard drink from a water bowl.

So, do bearded dragons drink water?

All living things need fluids to survive, even plants and animals that live in the driest places of the world. Bearded lizards aren’t an exception and should have access to water. 

However, since these lizards come from a dry habitat, they’ve developed unique ways to absorb moisture, for example, through their diet – insects, greens, vegetables, and so on. 

If you provide a balanced diet and mist your pet’s tank, it’s normal for your bearded pet to drink small amounts of liquid every few days. 

Take a look at this video:

How Much Water Do Bearded Dragons Drink? 

In general, bearded dragons need 10-30 ml of water per kg a day, but the right amount varies from adult to baby lizards and depends on diet and humidity. 

  • Provide a shallow bowl of water all the time if you live in a household with low to moderate humidity
  • Leave the bowl in the bearded dragon’s tank for an hour or two in humid climates. Then remove it. 
  • The humidity level in the tank is vital because high humidity causes respiratory infections, while low humidity leads to dehydration. 
  • The exotic pet expert Simon Girling says, “a relative humidity of between 25–50% is often adequate.” [1] But most specialists recommend humidity between 30% to 40%, so keep an eye on the levels. 

How Do Bearded Dragons Drink Water? 

bearded dragon surrounded by green leaves

In the wild, bearded dragons stay hydrated by lapping water droplets from surrounding vegetation, eating leafy greens, soaking in warm water, and drinking from puddles.

Another interesting fact about bearded dragons is that they can absorb water through their vent, located at the base of the tail. But despite common beliefs, bearded dragons can’t absorb fluids through their skin.

As such, it’s not clear if bearded dragons recognize stagnant water as a reliable source of hydration. That’s why some pet lizards completely ignore their bowls. 

How Long Can Bearded Lizards Survive Without Water?

Since bearded lizards are desert creatures, they can survive without drinking longer than other animal species.

Still, your adult bearded dragon won’t survive more than a week or two without any source of moisture. And it will be severely dehydrated after a couple of days without any fluids.

As for baby lizards, their diet needs differ from adult bearded lizards. They eat more insects than vegetables, so baby dragons don’t get enough fluids from their meal.  

Moreover, baby bearded dragons are very delicate and will quickly take a turn for the worse without adequate hydration.

Do Bearded Dragons Need Water Bowls? 

Since many bearded dragon owners rarely see their pets drinking for a water bowl, it’s natural to wonder if you should place a bowl inside the tank.

So, do bearded dragons need a water bowl? 

As experts from RSPCA explain, “a large, shallow dish must be provided at all times.” [2] Even if your pet doesn’t drink, they can soak in the bowl to absorb the liquid through their vent.

However, since bearded lizards aren’t the best swimmers, you should pick a shallow dish suitable for lizards:

  • Ensure the water isn’t above your lizard’s shoulder to prevent drowning.
  • Avoid big bowls because they can raise the humidity level in the enclosure and lead to mold and mildew overgrowth. 
  • Don’t leave a bowl of water for baby bearded dragons since they’re too small and can easily drown. 
  • Clean the dish every day and replace the water whenever you see it’s soiled.

Also Check: What Humidity Do Bearded Dragons Need?

How to Tell if Your Bearded Dragon is Dehydrated? 

bearded dragon sitting on a stone

So, you’ve never seen your bearded lizard drinking. It’s natural to be worried because dehydration can cause kidney problems, gout, shedding, and problems with brumation.

But how can you tell if your bearded dragon is dehydrated? The common signs of dehydration are:

  • Wrinkled skin. Pinch the loose skin between your finger. If your pet has adequate hydration, the skin should bounce back quickly. 
  • Saliva tackiness. The saliva becomes thick with a double-strand appearance when your bearded dragon opens its mouth.
  • Shedding problems. Inadequate hydration leads to retained shed or shedding that takes longer than usual.
  • Other common signs of dehydration are constipation, dark/sunken eyes, lethargy, and lack of appetite.

As you can see, some of the signs of dehydration in bearded lizards are subtle, and it’s easy for a novice owner to overlook them.

The good news is that you can treat mild dehydration at home by providing adequate hydration—more about that in a bit.

However, if your bearded lizard is severely dehydrated, they need professional help to administer fluids and prevent future health issues. 

How to Hydrate a Bearded Dragon: 4 Simple Tips 

Since not all bearded lizards will drink from a bowl, you must employ several routines to ensure your pet has a long and healthy life. 

#1 Regular Baths

Regular baths are the easiest way to provide adequate hydration for your bearded lizard. Some dragons will drink in the bath, while others will absorb the liquid through their vet.

Moreover, bathing helps with constipation, shedding, overheating, and wound healing. It’s also something bearded lizards enjoy. 

In general, you should bathe your beardie at least three times a week. You can increase the bathing sessions up to five during the shedding period.

#2 Misting Your Dragon

Another way to increase your pet lizard’s hydration level is misting. If you’re not familiar with the term misting, don’t worry. It’s nothing complicated.

Misting means spraying your pet lizard’s body and head with water droplets. You can do it with a misting bottle for lizards or an ordinary spray bottle. 

While dragons don’t absorb liquid through the skin, they catch the droplets that run down their face. In the wild, that’s one of the ways dragons stay hydrated. 

You can also spray surfaces because moving water is tempting to bearded lizards. But you should be careful not to overdo it and raise the humidity in the habitat. 

And if you’re using spray bottles, you should ensure they’re free of any left-over chemicals that could harm your pet. 

Related: How To Mist a Bearded Dragon?

#3 Teach Your Lizard to Drink From a Bowl

While lizards aren’t as trainable as dogs or cats, you can still encourage your pet to drink from a bowl and recognize it as a source of moisture:

  • Add a little bit of apple or pear juice to the water. The sweet flavor should entice the beardie to drink.
  • Repeat until your bearded lizard starts drinking from the dish. 
  • Experiment with different types of juice until you find one your beardie likes. But check that they don’t contain extra sugar. 
  • Mist your beardie’s bowl to provide extra moisture.  

#4 Food

bearded dragon licking the surface beside a kale

As I already mentioned, bearded lizards get lots of moisture from their diet. As such, to keep your pet hydrated, you should feed them suitable green veggies and insects, such as:

  • Watercress, lettuce, endive
  • Mustard greens
  • Turnip greens
  • Live feeder insects – crickets, mealworms, silkworms, etc.
  • Fruits – watermelon, cucumber, mangos, strawberries 

Adult dragons need more vegetables and fruits in their diet (80%) than meat, but baby lizards need the extra protein to grow big.

So, provide live feeders instead of frozen ones to ensure maximum hydration if you have a baby dragon.

Watch this video:

Do Bearded Lizards Drink Water FAQs

How Long Should I Let My Bearded Dragon Soak in Water? 

In general, you should let your bearded pet soak for about 15 to 20 minutes. These lizards love a “long” bath, and it’s a great way to ensure good hydration.

What Kind of Water Can Bearded Dragons Drink?

Tap water is safe for bearded lizards to drink on a daily basis. However, if you’re worried about chemicals and filtration levels, you can give your pet lizard bottled water. 

How Do You Hydrate a Bearded Dragon?

bearded dragon with a widely open mouth

You can hydrate your bearded lizard through bathing, misting, diet, and drinking. It’s best to use several hydration routines to ensure your pet is well-hydrated.

Do Soaking Bearded Dragons Hydrate Them?

Yes, soaking helps keep your bearded lizard hydrated. That’s because your pet can absorb the liquid from its vent or lap the droplets from the skin. Soaking your pet lizard is also beneficial for shedding. 

Conclusion

While bearded lizards don’t need much water to survive, you should provide have a shallow water bowl for them and keep an eye for signs of dehydration.

Moreover, don’t forget that regular baths, misting, and a diet of fresh vegetables/insects keep your beardie well-hydrated.

Resources

  • 1. citeseerx.ist.psu.edu. [cited 2021 Dec 12]. Available from: https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.455.7369&rep=rep1&type=pdf
  • 2. Bearded dragon CARE SHEET ENVIRONMENT [Internet]. Available from: https://www.rspca.org.uk/documents/1494939/0/Bearded+Dragon+Care+Sheet+%28PDF+350KB%29.pdf/151bb6df-1c35-a484-6de8-bffed4985abf?version=1.0&t=1556100899951
dehydrated bearded dragon but Do Bearded Dragons Drink Water?

What do you think about this topic? Do bearded dragons need water? Share your thoughts in the comment section. 

Grigorina
Grigorina

Grigorina grew up surrounded by animals – dogs, cats, cows, goats, sheep, and horses and that has shaped her into what I am today – a crazy cat lady who always has a place for one more cat (or a dog). She has two female cats – Kitty and Roni, and two tomcats – Blacky and Shaggy, but she also feeds her neighbors’ cats when they come for a visit. I just can’t say no to them. Follow her on FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM
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