Given that the original habitat of beardies is the Australian desert I got curious about whether you should offer them water and if so how much water do they need. I did some digging here are my findings.
Table of Contents
Do bearded dragon drink water?
Bearded dragons do drink water and need it for survival. An adult bearded dragon weighing 300g needs about 10 ml of water per day both from food and direct drinking. Dragons can go without water for 3 days to 2 weeks. However, severe dehydration may kill the bearded dragon.
However, too much water in a bearded dragon cage or enclosure can raise the humidity beyond the recommended levels.
Does Bearded Dragon need water?
Most reptiles can go for several days without food, but without water they can become severely dehydrated.
The following factors contribute to dehydration diet, size, environmental humidity and health.
In the wild bearded dragons get water from their foods plus once in a while, they may come across rainwater.
On the other hand, domesticated or home-raised dragons need to be hydrated not only from their foods but also by having a bowl or other sources of water in their tanks.
How can you tell if a bearded dragon is dehydrated?
The major signs of dehydrated bearded dragon include
- Sunken eyes
- wrinkled skin
- saliva tackiness, double strands forming when the mouth opens.
- Decreased skin elasticity, the skin tents when gently pinched.
- lack of appetite
- doughy abdomen
You can check whether your bearded dragon is dehydrated by gently pinching it on the back.
If the pinched area rolls back to its original state fast enough then your bearded dragon is hydrated. While if it does not roll back then the dragon is dehydrated.
How do I get my bearded dragon to drink water?
Below is a list of the best ways to hydrate your bearded dragon
Water bowl is the easiest way of offering water to your dragon. The type of material a bowl is made of does not matter.
Nonetheless, you should consider getting a bowl that is smooth and whose material is chemical resistant. These factors will make cleaning and disinfecting easy.
The second consideration when buying a bowl is its size. As a rule of thumb, the bowl should be large enough such that the bearded dragon can immerse its entire body.
However, you should also consider the amount of humidity a large bowl will add to the cage or enclosure with time. But a well-ventilated habitat should be just fine with a water bowl.
The next consideration when buying a bowl for your beardie is the depth. A little over shoulder depth is fine for the dragons.
You should however, know that bearded dragons cannot see stagnant water.
Make sure to clean your beardies water bowl and add fresh water since they normally defacate in the water.
Caution: Remove the water bowl from the bearded dragon enclosure to avoid messing up with the humidity.
Spraying Your Bearded Dragon
Should I mist bearded dragon? Yes, you can mist bearded dragons. Misting helps with shedding and hydration.
While wild-caught bearded dragons are not used to stagnant water, or simply put water in a bowl. Most home-raised dragons can easily drink from a water bowl especially if they have been trained by the breeder.
For bearded dragons that are not comfortable drinking from the bowl, spraying can be a good alternative to hydrate them.
Hand spraying is a very effective and easy way to hydrate your beardie friend. Spraying your pet’s enclosure or cage plus its components will improve humidity, promote feeding and drinking.
You should use distilled water that does not have minerals especially if you have a glass-made cage or enclosure to avoid staining the glass.
The frequency of spraying will depend on the type of substrate, temperature, humidity, and ventilation. You should consult with your vet.
You can safely spritz a bearded dragon every morning to mimick the morning dew that they drink from in the desert.
You should make sure the ventilation and temperature are adequate enough to allow the mist to clear in an hour’s time.
you can choose to be hand spraying or use an automatic misting system.
Automated misting systems are designed to be timed when you want them to spray your bearded dragon habitat and how much spray you want.
Bathing Bearded Dragons
Another little know way to hydrate bearded dragons is by bathing them. There are lots of debates from various forums online of people arguing that bearded dragons absorb water through their skin.
Various research has been done on several reptile lizards included and shows that they do not absorb water through their skin.
Instead, they have some pocket-like structures in their scales, which trap water. Then the lizards will bend their heads and lift their bodies which allows water to trickle down to the lizard’s mouth as revealed in this study.
Now that we have cleared the way that bearded dragons do not absorb water through their skins, how does bathing or swimming them help hydrate them?
Bearded dragons hydrate through bathing through their vent. A small opening through which their pee and poop.
When bathing some bearded dragon owners have also said that they observed their pets drinking water.
Hydaration by feeding
The other and easy way to hydrate your dragon is by feeding them foods that have high water content. You can also mist these foods and especially veggies or fruits before feeding your pet.
Insects such as hornworms also offer water to your dragon.
Below is a list of foods that have high water content to help hydrate your bearded dragon.
|Watercress fresh, raw||95.11|
|Zucchini inc skin, raw||94.79|
|Lettuce Romaine or Cos fresh||94.61|
|Capsicum, bell peppers, raw||93.3|
|Mustard greens, frozen unprepared||93.21|
|Turnip greens, frozen||92.93|
|Rocket fresh raw||91.8|
Using a syringe
You can fill a syringe with water and try to give your bearded dragon water. This method will work well if your bearded dragon does not fear you.
You will have to develop trust with your pet before using this method to hydrate your bearded friend.
Water fall and bubblers
Waterfall and bubblers can add beauty to your bearded dragon terrarium and also serve as a source of humidity for your bearded dragon, especially during the summer months.
As we stated earlier, bearded dragons do not see still water, having a waterfall or a bubbler can be a good way to ensure that your dragons can see water and even drink it.
Surround your water with artificial or live plants that have broad leaves, dew will form on the leaves and make it easy for your bearded dragon to drink.
You can also add an airstone to your bearded dragon bowl, connected to a small air pump. This will create water movement which will entice your stubborn bearded dragon to drink water.
Caution: A waterfall in a bearded dragon cage can easily mess up with the humidity levels. Care should be taken when using a waterfall or a bubbler.
How much water should bearded dragons drink?
As a rule of thumb reptiles should drink between 10-30 ml of water per kg of weight per day. This water includes water the reptiles get from food.
Adult bearded dragons weigh about 300 grams plus or minus. Using the above recommendation, a mature bearded dragon weighing 300 grams would consume about 10 ml of water including water from feeds.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long can bearded dragons go without water? Bearded dragons can go for a few days without water since they get some water from their food. However, it is not advisable to deny your bearded dragon water as it may lead to very severe health conditions and even death.
How do I get my bearded dragon to drink water? You can get your bearded dragon to drink by offering water in a bowl, hand spraying, bathing, waterfall or bubbler, or using a syringe. Additionally, you can feed your bearded dragon foods with high water content.
How often should bearded dragons be watered? Adult bearded dragons should take about 10 ml of water per day. Therefore you should water your bearded dragon enough times to match the 10ml capacity including water in foods.
Do bearded dragons drink water through their skin? Contrary to popular beliefs bearded dragons do not drink water through their skins, but rather from their vent. However, they can trap water in their skin, bend their head raising their body, and drink water from their skin using their mouth.
Well, we have already established that water is very important in the health of a bearded dragon. Always ensure your bearded dragons gets enough water per day to avoid it getting sick. For beginners stick to hydrating your bearded dragon through spraying and through feeds. Water can easily affect the humidity levels in a bearded dragon cage which can be dangerous.