Keeping your Bearded Dragon hydrated is essential in order for them to stay healthy but how do Bearded Dragons drink?
This actually isn’t as straight forward as you first might think so I’ve done the in-depth research needed to give you the answer in both an easy to understand and actionable way so you can be sure your Bearded Dragon is getting the hydration it needs to be both happy and healthy on a daily basis.
So how do Bearded Dragons drink? Bearded Dragons drink and hydrate themselves in one of these methods:
- A water bowl in their tank
- Natural moisture/water in their food
- Owners misting their body with water and drinking the droplets
- Owners misting their food with water
- Drinking through their vent
Read on to find out more about how Bearded Dragons drink in both captivity and the wild, why drinking is important, the signs of dehydration and more.
How Do Bearded Dragons Drink In Captivity?
The way that Bearded Dragons drink in captivity is often different from the way they would drink in the wild. This is largely due to the fact that in captivity owners can provide water in a number of ways in contrast to having to find water from natural sources in the wild.
Let’s take a closer look at the ways Bearded Dragons drink and hydrate themselves in captivity.
Drinking Or Soaking In a Water Bowl
Drinking from a water bowl is probably the most obvious method for a Bearded Dragon to drink in captivity.
Although It’s not always as simple as just placing a bowl of water in your Dragons tank! Lot’s of Bearded Dragons don’t actually like to drink water from a bowl as a dog or cat would.
(If you have the same problem with your Bearded Dragon, later in this post I’ll show you a simple and effective way to get your them to drink from a water bowl)
Even if your Bearded Dragon won’t drink directly from the bowl it’s still vital that you provide one in their tank. Bearded Dragons can actually soak themselves in a water bowl to hydrate themselves rather than drinking the water. They don’t do this by taking in water through their skin but through their vent.
You should provide a bowl that is long enough for your Dragon to fit its full body in (the size of this will depend on the age of your Bearded Dragon) and you should full the bowl only shoulder deep. Here I share the bowl I use and why I recommend it.
If your Bearded Dragon will actually drink from a water bowl and use like to use this option then I would also recommend that you clean the bowl every day and replace the water with fresh water.
This is because Bearded Dragons can often urinate and even poop in their water bowl throughout the day and you obviously don’t want them to be drinking dirty unhygienic water.
Drinking Water Through The Vent
Bearded Dragons can actually drink water through their vent.
The vent is where they urinate and defecate and also has the ability to let them absorb water if they need to hydrate.
It’s common to think that if a Bearded Dragon is taking a bath then they are drinking and absorbing water through their skin to hydrate but that isn’t the case, usually, they will use the vent if they are in need of hydration.
Natural Moisture/Water in Their Food
The greens and veggies that your Bearded Dragon is eating can produce natural moisture and water that they will drink and they are eating.
Providing your Dragon with greens and veggies is obviously good for their overall health as well as helping with hydration but I would be very cautious if this is their only method of hydration or drinking.
This is because the fresher greens and veggies are, the more natural moisture and water they hold so the longer you have them there is a greater chance of them drying out.
Something else to note is that a Bearded Dragons tank is very hot and even if you have fresh greens that are full of moisture and water, they can dry out very easily in a short period of time.
With that being said, I would still recommend providing greens every day as they do no harm and whatever moisture they hold is a bonus as well as the nutrients they provide.
It’s always a good idea to provide them from a young age so your Dragon is used to eating them on a regular basis and it becomes second nature as they grow up.
Misting Your Bearded Dragons Food With Water
A very smart and easy way to get your Bearded Dragon to drink is to mist their greens and veggies with water.
Like I mentioned above, the natural moisture from greens can dry out very easily due to both the freshness or the greens and the heat of the tank so misting their greens with water is a great way to get them to drink without them even knowing it and keep them hydrated.
This method all hinges on your Dragon actually liking greens and veggies because you can mist them all you like but if they don’t eat them then it’s a total waste of time.
It really is worth the effort to provide them with greens daily from a young age to allow them to get a taste for them as they grow.
Another thing to mention is that once the greens or veggies have been misted they may need misting again depending on how long they are in the tank before your Dragon decide to have a nibble.
This goes back to the fact that when the tank is hot the water will evaporate so check the food regularly to see how moist it is and if it needs re-misting.
All-in-all this is an easy way to get your Bearded Dragon to drink and keep hydrated especially if they don’t like drinking out of water bowls.
Misting Their Body With Water
Another very easy way to get your Bearded Dragon to drink is to mist its body and head with water.
Some Dragons will actually love this and find it most enjoyable. The trick is that as you mist them the droplets that form around the top of the head will roll down towards their mouth and they will lick them up as they fall.
It’s a good idea to take your Dragon out of their tank to mist them as you will find it much easier and the heat from the tank will dry the water drops much quicker than if you mist them out of their tank.
This will allow your Dragon to drink more of the drops as they roll down their head and by the same token you can use this time out of the tank as bonding time or fun activity time.
You can mist your Dragon around 2 times per week and I think this should be fine and you should stop misting when they stop lapping up the water with their tongue. This can be backed up by reputable site animal.mom.me who state the same advice.
I wouldn’t recommend doing this first thing in the morning as your Dragon will usually want to be using this time to get under the basking lamp to regulate its body temperature.
The same goes straight after a meal as your Dragon will more than likely want to use this time under the basking lamp to help digest its food.
How Do Bearded Dragons Drink In The Wild?
For a Bearded Dragon in the wild, drinking is totally different from drinking in captivity.
In the wild, they will often take a more opportunistic approach whilst still having very clever methods to help them stay hydrated in extremely dry climates.
Let’s take a look at how a Bearded Dragon will often drink and stay hydrated whilst in the wild.
Moisture From Insects & Plants
In the wild, Bearded Dragons will get a large amount of the water they need to hydrate themselves from insects and plants. Although this may seem like a very small amount especially from the insects they eat, Bearded Dragons are very robust and able to handle the harsh desert-like environment they come from.
The plants they nibble on will often have a lot more moisture in them than the ones that are fed to them in captivity. This is because they are fresh as opposed to picked days or weeks ago and dried out by the heat of their tank.
Taking in the natural moisture from insects and plants is a natural process and something Bearded Dragons will do every day without even realizing they are doing it.
Drinking From Streams
Drinking from a Stream or other water source is probably the most obvious way for a Bearded Dragon to drink in the wild but it’s not quite that simple.
Bearded Dragons struggle to see still water which is another reason why they often don’t drink from water bowls in captivity, however, in the wild, they can come across running water from streams etc and drinking this water is much easier as they can see the water moving.
The terrain in Australia doesn’t always provide Bearded Dragons with streams and such like to drink from so it’s not always a daily option but usually, they are granted with the opportunity they will take it.
It’s a little known fact that Bearded Dragons can actually collect and store water that they can save for later then drink when they need it.
Bearded Dragons have little bumps on their back and these can be used to collect and store water in dry and tough conditions.
When they feel they need to hydrate themselves they can drop their head and arch lift their back slightly so the water runs out of the bumps and onto their face. They will then lick and drink all the water that was stored.
It’s hard to find much research or evidence to support exactly how often they will do this or how much water can be stored but I would imagine that this is a survival technique and not something that’s practised daily.
What If My Bearded Dragon Won’t Drink Water?
A lot of Bearded Dragon owners report that their Dragons won’t actually drink from a water bowl. If your Bearded Dragon is refusing to drink from their bowl try this step by step guide:
- Add a little juice to your Bearded Dragons water
- The smell of the juice will attract them to the water and they will begin to drink
- Repeat this daily for the next two weeks
- Add water to the bowl but no juice, your Bearded Dragon should still drink the water after getting used to drinking from the bowl daily.
Usually, the reason they don’t drink from a bowl is that they aren’t really hard-wired to drink from them. If you try the method above then you should notice they’re far more willing in no time at all.
Caring for a Bearded Dragon can sometimes be difficult. Some of the books and guides that are available don’t really tell you all you need to know as an owner.
I’ve done some research and found a great manual that covers just about every aspect of Bearded Dragon care you need to know as an owner. You can take a look at what I think of the manual here.
Can Bearded Dragons Drink too Much?
It’s really hard to say how much water is too much but I would always say use common sense and if your Dragon doesn’t want to drink then don’t force them.
If you are ever worried about them not drinking enough or too much then you should always seek the advice of your vet for reassurance.
Below is a chart that gives you a base of roughly how much water a Bearded Dragon needs each day based on 10% of their body weight. This should show you how little fluid they actually need in reality. The chart uses ml and oz.
(You should only use this chart as a guide, discretion and a vets opinion should always be considered first)
Bearded Dragon | Recommended Water Intake (24 Hour Period)
|Reptile Weight (Grams)||Water Per 24 Hour Period (ml)||Water In 24 Hour Period (oz)|
Can Bearded Dragons drink tap water? Yes, Bearded Dragons can drink tap water, although it’s advised to use a water conditioner to remove chlorine and other chemicals that can be harmful to Bearded Dragon over the long term.
Can Bearded Dragons drink bottled water? Yes, Bearded Dragons can drink bottled water. This is generally better for them than tap water because most of the chemicals have been taken out. You can still use a water conditioner to make sure the water is as pure as possible if you like.
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