Can Bearded Dragons Swim?

two bearded dragons basking near a water source as owners ask Can Bearded Dragons Swim?

It is no secret that bearded dragons love the feeling of water on their bodies but it is normal for owners to wonder whether they can swim. Questions about the swimming abilities of bearded dragons are common on popular bearded dragon forums on the Web.

This article answers the question “Can Bearded Dragons Swim?” by revealing whether beardies can survive in water bodies. We also discuss how much time they could hold their breath during swimming and what types of water bodies are suitable for these reptiles.

Can Bearded Dragons Swim?

Bearded dragons may be terrestrial reptiles native to the deserts but can still swim by inhaling air to float on the surface of the water while using their limbs to paddle. Bearded dragons avoid submerging in water for too long because the risk of drowning could be high.

Not all beardies like to swim and owners are required to watch the body language of these pet lizards after contact with water to determine whether to allow continuance or not. Beardies that show positive reactions to bathing typically enjoy swimming but getting confirmation is still necessary.

How Do Bearded Dragons Swim?

Bearded dragons primarily dwell in deserts which explains why many folks wonder how they are able to swim without drowning. Here’s how beardies stay afloat in water.


two bearded dragons in a water source
two Pogona Vitticeps with scaly skin. A reptile living in Australia in the desert wildlife.

Bearded dragons breathe during swimming by inhaling oxygen which enables movements in shallow water bodies without losing their breath. The oxygen promotes the ability to survive in water without submergence.


The inhaled oxygen promotes floating in bearded dragons during swimming. Beardies keep their head above water during movements to enable more inhalation since they do not have the ability to breathe in oxygen underwater.


The powerful reptile limbs enable waving through waterbodies at a quick pace. This promotes the ability to swim from one end to another in a similar fashion to crocodiles and other aquatic and semi-aquatic creatures.

Body Movements

Beardies master the art of survival in water by keeping the head floating to inhale oxygen while the rest of the body may remain submerged. This keeps them alive in shallow water bodies by preventing drowning.

What Are The Benefits of Swimming For Bearded Dragons?

Swimming can offer benefits for bearded dragons that show a positive reaction to the sport and a few are listed below.


Swimming could be pleasurable for bearded dragons that may be bored from spending day and night in their tanks. It offers a change of scenery from the confines of their enclosures while enabling positive moods.

This is typically great for their overall well-being especially after recovering from an illness or medical situation that may have taken a toll on their physical and mental health. Bearded dragons live largely boring lives so the slightest chance at fun is often welcomed.

Physical Activity

bearded dragon drinks water from a shallow stream
close up of Pogona Vitticeps drinking water. Bearded Dragon for its scales under the neck that swell and darken when it’s angry, is a reptile living in Australia in the desertic wildlife.

Bearded dragons require regular exercises to burn calories, reduce stress, and keep internal organs functional to enhance their overall wellbeing. Swimming allows them to enjoy some much-needed physical activity that can be mentally and physically stimulating.

Swimming is known as one of the best physical activities for humans and animals since it provides total body workouts with exceptional calorie-burning rates.


Supervised swimming not only enhances the safety of beloved bearded dragons but also improves your mutual bond. The domesticated reptiles begin to associate their owners with fun and exciting activities.

This can get beardies excited every time the owner is present because they look forward to another form of adventure. Bearded dragons begin to feel safer in the presence of their owners which provides the right atmosphere to thrive.

Reduce Impaction

Like most animals, bearded dragons instinctively poop when water makes contact with their bodies. Swimming can be a great way to enable beardies to ease themselves, especially after a diet of hard-shelled insects.

This may reduce the risk of constipation and impaction since swimming frees up the bearded dragon’s bowels.

Ease Shedding

The shedding or molting process enables bearded dragons to get rid of old skin in favor of new ones. It can be a slow, painful process due to the scaly nature of skin in reptiles. Fortunately, swimming softens the bearded dragon’s skin to speed up the molting process.

This ensures that the adorable lizard does not have to go through excessive discomfort and pain throughout the process.

Where Can Beardies Swim?

Bearded dragons enjoy swimming in multiple water bodies and a few of the most popular options include:

Lakes and Ponds

pond with leaves and debris for bearded dragon swimming

Bearded dragons swim in lakes and ponds without problems as long as temperatures are warm. The summer is the best time to introduce the pet lizards to these water bodies but make sure there are no existing aquatic predators beforehand.

Lakes and ponds could get extremely cold in the winter so that may not be the best time to allow pet lizards to swim. Their internal temperatures can tumble quickly leading to an increased risk of brumation.

Old Bathroom Sinks and Tubs

Old bathroom sinks and tubs offer swimming opportunities for bearded dragons when filled with water. Avoid sinks used by household members to prevent the risk of salmonella infestations in humans.

Bleach and other household chemicals used in our bathrooms may also be harmful when physical contact is made with bearded dragons.

Plastic Bowls or Basins

Plastic bowls or basins could be purchased solely for the bearded dragon’s swimming activities. These basins may be filled with lukewarm water to maintain the reptile’s internal body temperatures. However, avoid using the bearded dragon’s swimming basin for any other purpose to minimize the risk of disease transmissions.

Kids Pools

Kids pools can also be a good avenue for beardies to swim during the summer. The pool water should be warm enough to maintain the pet lizard’s internal temperatures. Additionally, make sure the kid’s pool water is drained and cleaned before allowing kids to swim in it after each beardie swimming session.

Can Bearded Dragons Swim In Chlorine Pools?

Bearded dragons should not swim in chlorinated pools because the harsh chemicals could trigger respiratory infections and even eye problems. Kids pools typically feature small amounts of filtered or non-chlorinated water so beardies may swim in them without problems.

How To Maintain The Safety Of Bearded Dragons During Swimming?

Swimming can be enjoyable and promote calorie burning but it does not come without risks. Here are the best ways to maintain the safety of domesticated bearded dragons during swimming.

Lukewarm Temperatures

woman looking at lake in the summer

Bearded dragons may enjoy swimming but they are cold-blooded creatures that do not have the ability to self-regulate internal temperatures. Cold water exposure can be detrimental to their health and swimming in lukewarm water is non-negotiable.

Kids’ pools, plastic basins, and unused bathtubs should be filled with lukewarm water before the reptile’s release. Ponds and lakes heat up during hot summer afternoons which can present perfect swimming opportunities for beardies.

No Harness

It can be tempting to put beardies on a leash when swimming in external water bodies like ponds and lakes but the practice is often counterproductive. Harnesses could increase the risk of drowning in beardies since they restrict movements and may even interfere with the domesticated lizard’s ability to breathe underwater.

Instead, allow beardies to swim freely so they can use their limbs, lungs, and other organs to navigate water bodies joyfully without risking their lives.

Keep An Eye On The Beardie

Never allow beardies to swim without your full attention. While these reptiles are good swimmers, the risk of drowning will always be high particularly if allowed to submerge under water for extended periods.

Beardies should be allowed to swim into the chosen water body themselves without being pushed or dropped into it to prevent loss of their bearings.

Shallow Water Bodies

Swimming is one of the most exhaustive exercises even among humans so imagine how much physical exertion lizards may experience. Shallow water bodies that enable the beardie to keep its nose above water are recommended.

Also, provide a resting platform like a wooden plank or floating toy to enable the adorable pet lizard to enjoy some respite once tiredness creeps in.

Let Bearded Dragons Decide Whether To Swim

Bearded dragons should always show an inclination to swim before being released into the water. Despite the inherent benefits, never release bearded dragons into water bodies if they are showing signs of reluctance because the results can be catastrophic.

Beardies may be brought near a sink or basin filled with water while still in the owner’s palms. If the reptile breaks free to jump into the water then it is obviously ready to swim. Also, watch out for signs of stress in beardies after swimming to determine whether they enjoy the activity or not.

Stress marks, declined appetites, and lack of interest in their surroundings is proof that the bearded dragon is severely stressed. Think twice before allowing the reptile in question to swim in the near future.

Provide Warmth After Swimming

3 towels for keeping the beardie dry after swimming

Bearded dragons should be provided warmth immediately after swimming to prevent their internal temperatures from plummeting. Fresh clean towels can keep the beardie dry while access to basking light immediately after should enable internal temperatures to reach the desired levels.

Can Bearded Dragons Swim in Saltwater?

Bearded dragons should not swim in saltwater bodies like the ocean because the excessive sodium content can lead to dry skin. The risk of ingesting the water could also be high leading to an increased probability of kidney problems.

Can Bearded Dragons Drown Themselves?

Bearded dragons cannot drown themselves because they instinctively keep their head above water even if the rest of their bodies remain submerged. Cases of drowning beardies are usually accidental and not intentional.

Can Bearded Dragons Hold Their Breath Under Water?

Bearded dragons may hold their breath underwater for 7 to 8 minutes. An increased risk of drowning becomes apparent when they submerge in the water longer than the stipulated timeframe as exhaustion from the lack of oxygen begins to take a toll.

Conclusion: Can Bearded Dragons Swim?

Bearded dragons can swim in shallow water bodies like kids’ pools, basins filled with water, or old bathroom sinks in the home no longer used by household members. Introduction to chlorinated pools may pose risks to their health due to the harsh chemicals.

Bearded dragons should be monitored throughout their time in water bodies to minimize the risks of drowning and other problems that could pop up. The pet lizards should only be introduced into water bodies with warm temperatures to minimize brumation.

Additionally, make sure ponds or streams do not have existing predators like crocodiles before introducing the adorable lizards into them. Also, beardies should be excited to swim before being allowed into a water body while watching out for signs of stress after swimming.

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