In short, yes, bearded dragons can swim. But the full answer to that question is a little more complicated than that. Not all bearded dragons are equal when it comes to swimming. Some aren’t as good at it as others and some won’t even like swimming, so be sure you keep reading for all the facts. If you have a bearded dragon then you already know they are so cool and make great additions to any family with kids who are interested in reptiles. The last thing beardy owners want to do is put them in any kind of danger. With that in mind, I put together this list of common questions and answers to help you keep your beardy safe from potential hazards if you’re considering letting them swim.
Do wild bearded dragons swim?
The bearded dragon’s natural habitat is arid and dry, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t good swimmers. They live in deserts, but also woodlands which means they sometimes come across natural springs, ponds, and streams giving them the opportunity to swim, although they can be expected to avoid deep water. They don’t live in water like other reptile species but they do swim when the situation requires it.
How do bearded dragons swim
Bearded dragons can submerge their whole bodies and heads under the water, but they don’t have gills so they can’t breathe underwater. They breathe through their nose. They are able to hold their breath for longer than a human can, but if they spend more than 8 minutes completely submerged they will drown. So for the most part, bearded dragons swim with their heads above water.
They inhale air and float
Since bearded dragons don’t swim completely submerged underwater, they inhale air before swimming which keeps them afloat on the surface of the water more easily.
They wave their limbs
Once they are in the water, they wave their arms to swim rapidly across the water. Bearded dragon body movement while swimming is similar to crocodiles who are excellent swimmers.
They move their tail
This is one of the coolest parts of watching a bearded dragon swim. They move just like an alligator while swimming, letting their legs fall back and moving their tail from side to side in a fluid motion.
Can bearded dragons swim in tap water?
Bearded dragons may be able to swim in some tap water, but not all. Not all water sources are safe for your bearded dragon. There are chloramines and chlorine in the water as well as unwanted minerals that may be detrimental to your bearded dragon’s health if ingested.
Can bearded dragons swim in cold water?
Bearded dragons shouldn’t swim in cold water because it puts them at risk for potential problems. As their body temperature drops, so does their ability to move and swim. A drop in body temperature can happen very quickly and this can be very unsafe for your breaded dragon because they may lose the functioning of their muscles and sink.
Can bearded dragons swim in a chlorinated pool?
A chlorinated pool can be very dangerous for a bearded dragon. Like tap water, chlorinated pools can be damaging to your beardy if the water is ingested. Especially if the pool has a high chlorine content. Chlorine may cause health problems like respiratory and digestive issues so it’s not a good idea to allow your bearded dragon to swim in a chlorinated pool.
Can bearded dragons swim in saltwater?
Bearded dragons have a habit of drinking water while they swim. Swimming in salt water could be hazardous to their bodies, which aren’t designed to ingest excess sodium. The stress of trying to cope with that excess could cause your bearded dragon to become very ill.
What water should I use to let my bearded dragon swim?
If you live in a city with quality water treatment systems or have a water filtration system of your own, your beardy can swim in tap water. Otherwise, use purified or bottled water.
Can baby bearded dragons swim?
Bearded dragons don’t raise their young so baby dragons don’t get any assistance in learning how to swim. Still, they have a natural instinct for swimming, but they may need frequent breaks as a young bearded dragon. They need time to get stronger, which swimming will help with. Young beardies tend to use up their energy stores rather quickly. So giving them easy access to dry places to climb up on or just aking them out of the water for breaks is advised. Swimming is a good exercise for baby bearded dragons but they should be monitored closely and removed from the water every couple of minutes. As they get stronger they may be able to swim for a longer period of time.
Do bearded dragons like to swim?
Just like people, some bearded dragons enjoy swimming and some don’t. It will depend on your beardies’ individual personality. Bearded dragon owners should monitor the reaction to swimming and don’t force it if they don’t seem to enjoy it. If it tries to claw its way out of the water as soon as it touches, that’s a good indication that it’s not thrilled with the experience. Swimming is a great exercise for a bearded dragon if you happen to have one that enjoys a quick dip now and then.
Can bearded dragons drown?
These reptiles, like people, need air to breathe. If a bearded dragon gets too tired or chilled in water and loses its ability to swim, it could take water into its lungs. Sinking isn’t the only concern. As bearded dragons lose energy, they slow down, which could cause them to take in water without you even noticing. So while bearded dragons are capable swimmers, we have to remember that they are not without limitations. Developing other health issues is also a concern with swimming. Depending on the type of water they swim in, they could develop eye infections or respiratory problems.
Should I let my bearded dragon swim?
Bearded dragons don’t need to swim. It’s not something they need in order to survive or even something they would necessarily be missing out on. It can be a good activity to keep them in shape, so if you’re comfortable with letting them swim, go for it. If not, don’t feel like you have to.
What are the benefits of letting my bearded dragon swim?
Regular baths and opportunities to swim (if your bearded dragon likes swimming) are important to keep their scales moisturized. Water will help them look and feel better in case their environment may be pulling moisture from their scales. Shedding can be a difficult and stressful process for them and swimming aids in that process.
Another benefit of swimming is giving them the extra hydration they need for a bowel movement. The warm water and movement help get things moving. This is especially helpful if your bearded dragon’s diet has it a little backed up.
How deep should the water be for my bearded dragon to swim safely?
Depth should be carefully considered. Stick to shallow water rather than large bodies of water. Keep the water depth around their knees to avoid the possibility of drowning. Alternatively, you could go a little deeper if you have something they can climb out of the water onto easily to rest. Deeper waters make the chances of fatigue much better. It’s also better to avoid a large body of water. Depending on your bearded dragon’s size, don’t go any larger than a large plastic storage bin.
How long should I let my bearded dragon swim?
15 minutes max is a safe time to let your bearded dragon swim. Even if they floated the entire time, you don’t want to overdo it. Swimming is not something they would do for fun in the wild, so hanging on in the water is not normal for them. It may seem harmless to let them swim longer, but it’s better to play it safe.
What to watch for during and after your bearded dragon swims
Watch for signs of distress like clawing or acting erratically. Remove them from the water immediately if they don’t seem comfortable. After swimming, watch for any irregular behavior. If you see any changes in your bearded dragon’s overall health, it’s best to take a break from swimming sessions for a while.
Can I bathe my bearded dragon?
Yes, as mentioned earlier, regular baths are good for keeping scales moisturized, shedding, and for bowel movements.
How often can I bathe my bearded dragon?
Bathing your bearded dragon once per week is ideal, if possible. Some bearded dragon owners do it as often as once a day. It depends on your schedule and your desire to do it. Even if you don’t do it every day, it is recommended that you do it somewhat regularly.
How to set up a safe, interactive swim gym for your bearded dragon
Use a bathtub or even a plastic kiddie pool that you can place out in the sun. Add water but keep it shallow water, up to your bearded dragon’s knees. The water should be lukewarm. Scatter some rocks, small branches, and other objects to create different spaces and islands for your beardy to explore. You could even add a small amount of sand. Each time you set this up for your bearded dragon, move the objects around to create a different space for it to check out. Make sure to create a space for your bearded dragon to easily be able to climb out of the water when it wants to.
Why you should create an interactive swim gym for your bearded dragon
Consider the difference between your bearded dragon’s living situation versus how it would be living in the wild. Creating a stimulating space for it to exercise and explore will be good for your bearded dragon. If your bearded dragon doesn’t enjoy swimming, an alternative would be creating the space without water.
Recap of things to remember for your beardy’s swim time:
- Make sure there no chemicals are in the water your bearded dragon will swim in
- Don’t put your bearded dragons in chlorinated pools
- The temperature of the water is very important. Make sure it’s tepid to lukewarm
- Use a small body of water for safety: a small kiddies pool, wide bowl, sink, or tub
- Closely supervise your bearded dragon the whole time its swimming
- Keep swim times to no more than 15 minutes
- Disinfect a tub or pool after each swim so your beardy doesn’t end up sick from reusing it. If you use a bowl of water for their swim, don’t use it again for human use. Even if your beardy is healthy.
- Always use fresh, clean water for your beardy to swim. Don’t reuse water from previous swims.
Hi, I’m Jessica! I am wife to Chris, and mom to Kaiper, Alana and Koa. I am a graphic designer, website developer and aspiring author. In this space, I share about everything from parenting, working from home, food we cook, and lots of things for kids! Learn more about me here.