If you want you can take your bearded dragon swimming as they do like water, you just need to be very particular about what water you put them in.
Most bearded dragons enjoy playing around in water. It keeps them from getting bored and also helps to keep them hydrated. If they are near the time to shed their skins, it may also help loosen up the old skin, so it sloughs off more easily.
You do need to be careful about the kind of water you put him into, however. The water should be free of chlorine, which is usually a part of most water provided by a city or water company. This can be done with special water conditioners. There are even products made especially to remove chlorine from water specifically for reptiles.
You can also use spring water or filtered bottled water but should avoid distilled water. Distilled water basically has nothing else in it, which would sound good but in fact, is not. Distilled water tends to be slightly acidic, which is not good for your dragon to drink, and they usually do drink a bit when put into water.
Can I Let My Bearded Dragon Swim?
Since most dragon species live in the desert or at least dry climates, you wouldn’t think that they could swim, but bearded dragons like water and actually have a means so that they can float in it. They will inhale some air that allows them to float, much like a water toy. This even allows them to hold their breath and swim completely submerged at times.
They don’t quite swim the way you might expect, but they do move their limbs and tail to get around. They keep their heads above water while their bodies are submerged, much like alligators.
However, they can only float well for about 15 minutes at the most. Many people find that having some sort of floating platform that is easy for the beardie to get onto and won’t tip over when he climbs up will give your dragon some rest. You can also put in a couple of large rocks that will help him climb out of the water.
Some dragons will even play with toys in the water. There are actually floating toys and platforms designed just for beardies. They go from one to the other, resting as needed. One strange fact is that dragons cannot see still water. It has to be riffled on the surface for him to see. Dripping water on the surface can help.
Of course, each dragon will have his own preferences, and some love being in and playing in the water, while others just don’t care for it at all. This is probably due to whether or not they were introduced to water when young.
To find out if your bearded dragon likes water and will enjoy this activity, make sure the water is at least 80 degrees F and no deeper than his knees. Just put him in and let him sit or explore at his leisure. If he seems nervous or unhappy, take him out. You can always try again some other time.
Being in the water is actually good for your beardie. He will absorb some of it through his skin and most likely will drink some. It not only helps keep his skin moist, which will aid in shedding, but the swimming motion itself can actually aid bowel movements and prevent impaction.
The exercise is good for him, especially with younger ones to aid in strong bone development, and the activity will keep him from being bored. After all, no matter how inviting his enclosure is for him, he will get bored with it eventually and will appreciate something different.
If you bathe him regularly as you should, he already will be used to water and be less likely to be uneasy about being in it. If he likes the activity, you can deepen the water a bit the next time, but it should be just deep enough for him to swim. It’s not like you can just plop him into a full human bathtub.
Any kind of plastic or rubber tub that is at least twice as long as your beardie will be sufficient, although you can put him in your bathtub with shallow water. You may even want to do this outside on a warm day. The sun will help keep the water from cooling off too fast and he’ll enjoy the natural sunlight.
Before you take him out of the water, it would be a great time to gently scrub his skin. In fact, many owners incorporate swim time right after bath time. You’ll need a brush with soft bristles. An old toothbrush is great, but make sure the bristles are soft. Toothbrushes have different bristle stiffness, and some can be downright tough. No cleaning products are needed, just water.
Brush gently in the direction the scales lay. This will help get off any remnants of old skin, besides removing dirt. Remember that dragons do tend to walk around in their own waste, so bathing helps keep them clean and free of germs. Just avoid the eyes and cloaca and be gentle. Your beardie will probably like the attention.
Can I Put My Bearded Dragon in Water Every Day?
It’s not necessary to do this. The recommendation for bathing runs from three times a week to once a month. Considering how dragons aren’t careful about not walking over their own waste, it’s probably best to bathe him two or three times a week. Let him soak for up to 15 to 20 minutes afterward, but don’t force him to stay in the water if he indicates that he really doesn’t care for it.
How Long Can You Leave a Bearded Dragon in Water?
Whether during swim time or after bath time, about 15 to 20 minutes is enough to leave your dragon in water. Dry him thoroughly with either a soft towel or paper towels. When paper towels tear, they can leave bits stuck to your dragon. If using paper towels, make sure you don’t leave any paper scraps on him.
You don’t have to rub, blotting is best. Just make sure to dry him as quickly as possible. Since your beardie is cold-blooded, he’ll cool off quickly in the room air temperature and you don’t want him to get chilled.
Should I Spray My Bearded Dragon with Water?
Dragons should be misted in their enclosure to encourage them to drink water, but they don’t need a heavy spray. Just use a plant mister or something similar to moisten his skin. If you can, mist his head so that it forms a drop or two and he’ll lap it up.
After your brush his skin during a bath, it’s also a good idea to rinse him off and get off all the dirt and other things the brush loosened. Just use a small cup or another similar item to slowly run water over him, avoiding his head. He doesn’t need to be dowsed.
Can I Let My Bearded Dragon Swim in the Bathtub?
You can put him in the bathtub if the water is shallow enough. However, this is not necessary. It’s probably easier to use a small tub or storage box that you can put on a surface convenient to your height. Besides, shallow water in a large area like a bathtub is likely to cool off more quickly than water in a smaller container, and your beardie may get chilled. Besides, you’ll have to wash the tub or container afterward, and it’ll be much easier to clean a container than a bathtub.
How Deep Can Bearded Dragons Swim?
Dragons can totally submerge themselves and can remain underwater for a time. However, they can drown after being underwater for 10 to 15 minutes. Anytime a bearded dragon is put into water, even shallow water, he should not be left unattended. They aren’t likely to dive way down into the water, but some do like swimming submerged. Most of the time they will swim with their heads above water.
Being able to touch bottom with their feet also keeps them from getting stressed and having more confidence when in the water. Then they can concentrate on having fun and not on survival.
This is especially important when you are first introducing your beardie to water fun. While bearded dragons like water it’s not something they are naturally used to unless introduced to it when young. You don’t want yours to become afraid the first time he’s in the water and be less likely to enjoy the prospect.
Since bearded dragons like water and do need to be bathed regularly, it’s easy to incorporate some playtime after a bath. If your beardie is a bit reluctant to be bathed, the expected playtime may soften his attitude toward bathing.
Just take it easy introducing him to water, make sure the conditions are right and that he’ll feel secure, and he’ll probably soon find out how much fun he can have. If he turns out to be one of those that just doesn’t take to swimming and playing in water, don’t force the issue, but don’t neglect the baths because of this either.
Who knows, you may find that your bearded dragon likes water so much that you end up with a whole play gym of water toys and plenty of video footage to post online.