bearded dragon handbook

Get our pet owner's guide for bearded dragons and help your special friend live its best life.

How Long Can A Bearded Dragon Go Without Water?

Are you worried about your bearded dragon not drinking?

Do you wonder how long a beardy can survive without water?

You’re not alone.

It is scary when a bearded dragon doesn’t seem to be getting water, so you do need to know about your pet’s limits.

This is why you wonder:

How long can a bearded dragon go without water?

A bearded dragon can go without water for a surprising amount of time due to its dry and hot natural habitat in the Australian desert. Depending on the reason for their lack of water, they can still survive without water from 3 days to 2 weeks, but this shouldn’t be stretched, and other considerations should be checked as you go.

Read on for more details on water and bearded dragons, including how they get water, reasons they may not be drinking, and other helpful information.

Do Bearded Dragons Need Water?

Yes, bearded dragons need water, just like all animals.

However, bearded dragons have evolved to function on less water than most animals.

They also get water in ways which may seem unusual to us as humans.

Read more on this in the next section.

In captivity, bearded dragons should have a shallow bowl filled with clean drinking water at all times.

Even if it seems like the beardy isn’t drinking you still need to provide this bowl.

They may not appear to use the water, but they still could be using it when you’re not looking.

There is no hard and fast “amount” of water bearded dragons should be getting.

More importantly, your job is to offer them a lot of different hydration methods and watch for signs of dehydration (later section).

How Bearded Dragons Get Water

Bearded dragons don’t take in water as we do.

This is due to their natural desert habitat.

However, any discussion of water and beardies needs to be prefaced with an introduction on how their reptiles get their water.

Without this knowledge, you may find yourself making incorrect assumptions, which will result in poor care decisions.


Drinking is the most obvious way a bearded dragon gets its hydration.

With drinking, bearded dragons will put their mouths in water and lick.

This gets them their water directly.

While this may seem like the “best” method to you, it isn’t as natural to their habitat.

In the desert, there isn’t a lot of standing water, so the other two methods are going to be more common.

In captivity, you provide this drinking water, as mentioned before, in a shallow water dish which should be kept full of clean drinking water at all times.

The water should be no deeper than the shoulders of the bearded dragon. This is because of our next way beardies get water.


Eating is the top way bearded dragons hydrate themselves in the wild.

All living things, both plants, and animals have an amount of water stored inside them. 

Bearded dragons, just like us, can absorb this water as they eat.

For beardies, the best foods for hydration are vegetables and fruits.

Greens/vegetation offer some hydration value as well, but not to the same degree.

With live food and insects, it’s a little more hit or miss.

But they do all have water in them to some degree.

The phoenix worm is an excellent insect for hydrating your reptile pet.

Many vets will suggest feeding these to your beardie when it’s sick and dehydrated.

Make sure you have a balanced diet of 70% greens and 30% protein for adult bearded dragons to keep them well-hydrated.

how long can a bearded dragon go without water

4 Reasons Bearded Dragons May Not Be Drinking

There are several reasons why a bearded dragon may not be drinking, but we’ve worked to narrow it down to the four most common categories of causes.

In this section, we’ll discuss these reasons and how they affect your beardy’s health.


All the reasons are null and void if you see signs of illness and dehydration indicated in the next section.

#1 Satisfied

The most common reason a bearded dragon goes without water is it’s already satisfied.

As we said before, beardies don’t need a lot of water to survive.

Coming from the desert, these lizards can get by on a little.

If your pet is still eating and acting normal (but not drinking or bathing), it could be it is getting all the water it currently needs from its food.

As long as you don’t see the signs of dehydration, there’s nothing to worry about.

Just keep the water dish filled and give it baths at least once per week.

A bearded dragon has no problem going like this for a few days if it’s showing other healthy behaviors.

#2 Stressed/Threatened

Drinking is a vulnerable activity.

Some herd animals take turns watching for predators while others in the herd drink safely.

Bearded dragons are more solitary creatures, but they still don’t eat or drink when they feel threatened or stressed.

Beardies can get stressed by several things, but they all boil down to drastic changes in sound, light, and environment or the presence of other creatures.

Make sure all of these habitat factors are consistent, and your pet may soon be drinking and eating again.

Also, don’t store more than one beardy in a tank and keep all other pets away as much as possible.

Stressed beardies lose hydration faster than when brumating, so make sure it starts drinking and eating within the next few days, it may get dehydrated.


Even when stressed, giving baths can increase water levels and help decrease stress.

#3 Brumation

Brumation (reptile hibernation) is a period during the cold seasons when the bearded dragon hunkers down and conserves energy. 

During this time (which can last a few weeks to a couple of months), beardies don’t eat or drink too much.

If your adult bearded dragon hasn’t brumated in a year, it may be brumation in captivity.

It won’t eat much, but may still move for the very occasional drink.

Keep the water dish full and watch for signs of dehydration.

#4 Sick/Ill

Its possible dehydration is a sign of actual sickness which needs attention from a vet.

Usually, the lack of drinking is also accompanied by one of these signs:

  • Lack of movement
  • Foam around mouth
  • Visible injury
  • Lack of appetite

If you see any of these, visit a vet right away. 

How Do You Know If A Bearded Dragon Is Dehydrated?

There are a few signs to look for, which indicate dehydration.

If you see these signs, it’s essential to pay close attention to how much food, drinking, and bathing your pet is doing.

If it’s not doing any of those things and is still dehydrated, take it to the vet.

Common signs of dehydration include:

Beyond these signs, the best test for dehydration is based on the elasticity of the bearded dragon’s skin.

Pinch the skin slightly, so it bunches up.

If the skin stretches back into place immediately, then your beardie is well-hydrated.

If the skin moves back slowly, then it’s dehydrated.

Also, keep an eye out for other signs of illness discussed in the section above.

When all of these elements are in play, chances are, your pet is sick.

Then, it’s time to take them to the vet. 

Do Bearded Dragons Absorb Water Through Skin?

No, bearded dragons do not absorb water through their skin.

These pet lizards only take water in through their mouth by eating and drinking.

Ensure they have a water dish in their tank that you change out regularly with fresh water and if you think they need a boost mist their food and feed them juicy insects.


Now you know how long a bearded dragon can go without water.

Depending on the reason, it can survive from a few days up to a few weeks.

However, if you notice signs of dehydration or other illnesses, make sure to take him into the vet right away, as this is a sign of something serious.

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