Are you worried about your bearded dragon not knowing how to get its water?
Do you like to plan and look at everything involved in caring for your bearded dragon?
Great owners take care to know what their pets need and how much they’re getting.
For bearded dragons, many owners feel confident in how much food they give their pets, but there is always doubt when it comes to water.
So you may wonder:
How much water does a bearded dragon need?
Bearded dragons need as much water as they need; this seems unclear, but there isn’t a hard and fast answer for the amount of water. As the owner, you need to provide them with a shallow water bowl filled with clean water to drink and sit in, healthy foods for diet, and baths all for hydration purposes.
Read on for more details about how much water a beardy needs and some tips to help them learn to drink from their dish.
How Bearded Dragons Get Water
The bearded dragon’s natural habitat is the Australian desert.
The hot and dry environment has forced these reptiles to evolve in a couple of ways different than we think of for humans.
First, the bearded dragon doesn’t need a large amount of water to survive.
It’s able to conserve what it needs to get by in times of drought.
Second, beardies can get water just as effectively from ways other than drinking.
This is how they survive when standing water is limited (as it is most of the time in the desert).
Bearded dragons get their water in three main ways, which we’ll detail in this section.
The primary way a bearded dragon can get its water is by drinking.
Beardies use their tongues to lap up water as they flick their tongues at it.
This is the most efficient way for the reptiles to hydrate, but it’s also the most vulnerable way to get their water.
In nature, when an animal is actively drinking, it gains a blind spot and is more susceptible to predators.
So the beardy will usually like to mix up where it gets its water to keep itself protected.
If the pet feels at all threatened or stressed, you may not see it drinking too much.
In captivity, you help with this by providing a small water dish in the tank at all times.
It may not drink from it a lot, but it will when it needs to.
When picking a water dish, it should be shallow.
If the reptile decides to climb and soak, you don’t want the water getting in its eyes and mouth a lot.
One of the other main ways a bearded dragon hydrates is by eating food.
All foods have some amount of water inside it, whether a lot or a little.
Bearded dragons are used to absorbing water through their food.
During times of drought in the desert, their food may be their only good source of water for an extended period.
Bearded dragons are omnivores meaning they eat plants and proteins.
The proteins they eat are usually small insects and worms.
Fruits, veggies, and salads tend to have more hydration potential than insects do.
This is truer the fresher the food is.
Fruits especially provide a lot of hydration.
In captivity, you can help provide water for your beardy by making sure it has a well-balanced diet of greens first, then insects.
Read more about the diet on our general bearded dragon care page.
Absorbing Through Their Skin
The final way bearded dragons absorb moisture is through their skin.
Most reptiles can do this, but beardies are good at this.
You may find your pet soaking in his water dish just as much or more than you’ll find him drinking from it.
In nature, there will often be some wet spots, even during the dry months.
This is usually wet, moist earth under an object or deeper in the ground.
To get water, a beardy can bury itself in the mud or damp earth and absorb it gradually through its skin.
If they feel threatened, a bearded dragon will prefer to do this than drink from a puddle.
In captivity, it can be done in two ways.
The first is by keeping the water dish full and clean.
This way, the lizard can sit in it if it wants to.
The other way is by giving the beardy regular baths.
This soaking time is a great way to bond and to rehydrate your pet.
Many vets recommend giving your beardies baths when they don’t feel well or get dehydrated.
The water will often help them feel better.
How Much Water Does Your Beardy Need?
Now we know how a bearded dragon gets water, we need to talk about how much water a beardy needs.
The answer is unclear.
It depends on the environment of your house and the bearded dragon’s health.
The right way to answer this question is to set out a list of requirements you, the owner, need to provide your pet.
A typical healthy bearded dragon in an average household with a moderate to low humidity will need the following things:
- A small water dish always full of clean water
- A balanced diet including a variety of insects but especially fruits and vegetables
- Regular baths (at least once every two weeks)
Doing this will keep your bearded dragon hydrated.
A humid environment will need the same things, but the water dish should only be given once per day in a small 1-2 hour block of time.
The baths should also be shorter (5-10 minutes instead of 15 minutes).
The presence of water in the tank may increase the humidity beyond what the dry lizard can tolerate.
An unhealthy or dehydrated bearded dragon may need more baths and more super-wet foods like fruits and hornworms to rehydrate.
Overall, you should notice the bearded dragon drinking at least twice per week.
How Can You Tell If A Bearded Dragon Is Dehydrated?
Dehydration is severe, but it’s usually easy to tell when this happens.
Look for these signs:
- Sunken eyes
- Wrinkled skin
- Lack of appetite
- Lethargy (lack of movement)
Use this test:
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.
Read more about how long a bearded dragon can go without water.
How To Get A Bearded Dragon To Drink
Still, water dishes may not be interesting enough to bearded dragons to get them to drink.
Or, because of a humid environment, only give them water for a short period.
In this case, you need to help them realize they need to drink.
Here are three tricks to get a bearded dragon to drink.
The most common and effective way to get a bearded dragon to drink is through misting.
In the wild, beardies know it’s time to drink when rain or water is falling.
Misting tries to activate the reptile’s instincts similarly.
Using a spray bottle, lightly spray the water dish.
This may help the bearded dragon realize there’s water there.
Also lightly spray near the beardy to help it feel the “rain” if it isn’t paying attention to the dish.
Don’t spray too much (especially in humid environments).
This can increase the humidity in the tank too much.
#2 Add Flavor
Another sneaky way to convince the beardy to drink is to use juice flavor.
By adding a little bit of juice to the water, the lizard will smell and be interested in the water.
Then, it should begin to drink it.
The extra sugar doesn’t hurt them either!
This trick shouldn’t be used all the time and forever, but this is a training tool.
Gradually reduce the amount of juice you put in the mixture until it’s nothing but water.
#3 Use It Like A Bath
For bearded dragons, drinking and bathing are two sides of the same coin.
When they go soaking in water in the wild, they’re probably going to drink at the same time.
Your beardy may not realize the water is in the dish.
By calmly picking the lizard up and putting it directly in the water, you may awaken its desire to drink.
As usual, when doing anything like bathing, make sure the water is no higher than the shoulders on your pet.
Now you know how much water a bearded dragon needs and how to get a bearded dragon to drink.
Remember, these reptiles come from the deserts of Australia, so they won’t drink as much as you’d probably like them to.
Just make sure you offer the water dish, give healthy food, and provide baths, and your pet will stay hydrated just fine.
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