Can Bearded Dragons Swim? Everything You Need to Know

Bearded dragons have unique preferences when it comes to water activities? Some of these cute creatures simply love swimming, while others absolutely can’t stand it.

As a bearded dragon owner, you might already be familiar with your pet’s preferences. However, if your dragon is one of those that enjoys a good swim, you might be wondering whether it is safe for them. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about bearded dragon swimming.

Can Bearded Dragons Swim?

Seems like a strange thing for an animal that lives in arid/desert climates but sure enough yes, bearded dragons can swim. Although bearded dragons may not get many chances to swim in the wild, they are still capable of doing so.

To stay afloat, bearded dragons inhale air and then use their limbs to paddle through the water. Although they may not be the most elegant swimmers, they are capable of swimming nonetheless.

Remember that there are species of bearded dragons that do live nearby the water such as Pogona Microlepidota / Small Scaled or Drysdale and others that live in semi-tropical woodlands so it’s quite likely that they’ve commonly evolved to deal with water – if you watch them swim they use their tails much in the same way as a crocodile.

Do Bearded Dragons Swim in the Wild?

Bearded dragons are native to Australia and they mostly inhabit desert areas, although they can also be found in subtropical woodlands. In their natural habitat, they have access to various sources of water, and it’s not uncommon to see them swimming.

Despite their occasional swimming in the water, bearded dragons are not as fond of aquatic life as their cousins, the Australian water dragons, who love spending most of their time in or around water bodies.

Typically, wild bearded dragons swim only when necessary or when they come across an inviting pool of warm water.

Interestingly, bearded dragons cannot see water. Due to the way their eyes work, they can only detect water when it is in motion or if something is moving in it. They perceive the ripples created by water, rather than the water itself.

How Do Bearded Dragons Swim?

Did you know that bearded dragons swim in a similar way to crocodiles and alligators? It’s true! When swimming, they tuck their legs close to their bodies and move from side to side to propel themselves forward. You might notice them using their tail to steer, just like a rudder on a ship.

While they may not be aquatic creatures, bearded dragons are surprisingly good swimmers. They may even use a doggy paddle motion to help them along.

Although they tend to stick to the shallows, they’re not afraid to dive underwater when the mood strikes them.

One of the reasons bearded dragons are such good swimmers is because of their buoyancy. Before diving in, bearded dragons inhale air, which helps them float near the surface. So don’t be surprised if you see your bearded dragon taking a dip in the water – they might just surprise you with their aquatic skills!

Do Bearded Dragons Like to Swim?

Not all bearded dragons are fans swimming. But, if your dragon happens to enjoy bath time, then perhaps it would also love to swim in deeper waters.

Supervised swimming can be an exciting activity for your dragon to bond with you, have some fun, get some much-needed exercise, help with shedding, and even alleviate constipation.

Can a Baby Bearded Dragon Swim?

Baby bearded dragons are great swimmers just like adults. However, they should not swim for long periods of time. The reason is that they are not able to store as much air as the adults, which puts them at a higher risk of drowning.

When allowing your baby bearded dragon to swim, it is crucial to keep an eye on the water temperature. Being cold-blooded, their ability to retain heat is limited at a young age, and swimming in cold water can be life-threatening.

How Deep Can Bearded Dragons Swim Underwater?

Bearded dragons are native to dry deserts, which means they aren’t used to swimming in deep water. As a result, they usually stay close to the surface when they do go for a swim. Although they can hold their breath for quite a while, up to 15 minutes in fact, they usually won’t dive deeper than a foot or so.

To keep your bearded dragon safe, it’s a good idea to avoid letting them swim in deep water altogether. This reduces the risk of them accidentally drowning, which is definitely something you want to avoid!

Can Bearded Dragons Drown?

Contrary to popular belief, bearded dragons can indeed drown. If they become exhausted or trapped in water, they may inhale water and die as a result.

Therefore, it’s vital to let your bearded dragon swim at its own pace and exit the water whenever it desires. Moreover, you must ensure that their body temperature remains within the proper range by providing them with warm tap water to swim in.

Where Can Bearded Dragons Swim?

If you’re wondering where your bearded dragon can take a dip, we’ve got you covered. Here are some options:

  1. An outdoor kiddie pool on a hot day is a great choice.
  2. An indoor basin, bowl, or bin filled with lukewarm or warm water is another option. Before use, make sure to clean the container with white vinegar and water instead of harsh chemicals. While tap water should be fine, if your area has a lot of chemicals, you can use bottled water or a reptile-safe water conditioner.
  3. You can also use a designated sink or tub for your dragon to swim or bathe in. However, avoid sharing this space with other family members as it can lead to salmonella or exposure to harmful cleaning products.
  4. If you’re confident in the safety of the location, you can consider ponds or lakes. But be careful of cold water, currents, and predators that could harm your dragon.
  5. Avoid letting your dragon swim in the ocean as the waves and salt water can be too dangerous.

Can Bearded Dragon Swim in a Pool?

While it’s alright for your dragon to take a dip in a small pool filled with tap or filtered water, it’s essential to avoid chlorinated pools. The chemicals present in these pools can potentially cause harm to your dragon, leading to eye infections or respiratory problems. So, be mindful and keep your dragon safe by providing them with a suitable water source.

How To Keep Your Bearded Dragon Safe While Swimming?

1. Water Temperature

Did you know that bearded dragons are cold-blooded? That means we need to be careful with the temperature of their water when we give them a bath. Lukewarm or warm water between 90 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit is perfect. Cold water can actually make your dragon sick, so let’s avoid that!

Even if you let your dragon swim outside in a lake, pond, or kiddie pool, it’s important to keep an eye on the temperature. Water from a hose can be colder than we think, so always check it before letting your dragon take a dip.

2. Monitor Your Dragon at All Time

Keep an eye on your dragon at all times while they swim. The potential danger of drowning is simply not worth the risk.

Although some dragons are capable of swimming underwater, it’s important to monitor their time spent submerged. If they seem to be swimming effortlessly, it’s generally safe for them to stay under for a few minutes. However, any longer than that and it’s best to bring them back to the surface.

It may seem like common sense, but we want to make it clear: never force your dragon underwater or drop them into the water. The best approach is to gently release them from your hand, allowing them to swim at their own pace.

3. Provide a Way for Your Dragon to Rest

If you’re planning to take your dragon for a swim, it’s important to keep a close eye on them and provide a way for them to take a rest, such as a log or a plastic pool toy. Shallow water is generally the best option that allows your dragon’s nose to stay above the water level.

Pro Tip: If your dragon is new to swimming or just a baby, they may enjoy playing with props and toys in the water. You can add branches, rocks, pool toys, or even an inflatable device for them to rest on, as long as they’re not afraid of it. It’s a great way to make their swimming experience more enjoyable!

4. Don’t Force Your Dragon to Swim

If your dragon has never had a dip in the water or is not in the mood for it and shows signs of stress, don’t make him swim.

Instead, you can introduce him to the water by gently holding him in your hands and slowly lowering him down. If he breaks free and swims on his own, he is probably enjoying it. However, if he puffs out his beard or tries to escape, give him a break. Swimming may not be his thing or he may not be ready for it yet.

Some dragons love swimming but may get stressed afterward. Watch out for signs of stress once the swim is over.

  • Is your dragon refusing to eat
  • Not moving as much as usual
  • Refusing to bask
  • Showing stress marks?

If you notice the above signs, swimming may have been too much for your bearded dragon.

5. Warm Your Dragon After Swim Time

When your dragon finishes swimming, use a gentle touch to dry her off with a soft towel. Avoid rubbing them, especially if they are shedding. Next, place your dragon under her basking light to maintain her body temperature. Swimming can make her feel chilly, but the light will help her warm up.


Bearded dragons are able to swim, but it is important to note that each individual may have their own preferences.

If you would like to introduce your bearded dragon to swimming, start with a container of shallow, lukewarm water. Ensure that the water level is low enough for them to touch the bottom while still being able to keep their heads above water.

Providing an object that creates an island will allow them to become familiar with popping in and out of the water as they please.

If your bearded dragon seems comfortable with swimming, you can consider introducing them to small ponds that have rocks, branches, and other objects for them to climb on.

Creating an environment where they feel secure and can seek refuge will give them the confidence to swim and stop as they please.

However, if your bearded dragon does not seem to enjoy swimming, it is best to stop the activity. While there are some benefits to swimming, the stress it can cause negates those benefits. You can provide your bearded dragon with hydration and help with constipation in other ways.

It is important to always supervise your bearded dragon when they are swimming, and never leave them unattended. With the right environment and attention, some bearded dragons may enjoy swimming as a fun activity.

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