Can Bearded Dragons Swim?

can bearded dragons swim

Bearded dragons have the ability to swim. They even can hold down their breath underwater for a few minutes and float on top of the water with their bearded chin and head out. It is not ideal for them to stay in water for a very long time as they can get exhausted and might risk being drowned. 

Do Bearded Dragons Need to Swim?

Most adult bearded dragons are semi-arboreal and terrestrial in nature. In a wild habitat, they spend most of their time on land and occasionally on trees for hunting prey or for basking. 

Therefore, in a wild habitat, they do not often have to swim in lakes or other water bodies. But, they are able to swim whenever required.  

Are All Bearded Dragons Enthusiastic About Swimming?

Despite all bearded dragons being able to swim and float on water surfaces, not all of them find it enjoyable. While some of them are able to enjoy this fun activity, some bearded dragons can find swimming to be quite a stressful experience. 

In case you find that your pet bearded dragon is not enthusiastic about swimming or gets easily stressed with swimming you should not force it to take a dip. 

The stress caused by forcing them to do an activity that they do not like can have a severe negative impact on their health. 

How Can I Tell if My Bearded Dragon Doesn’t Enjoy Swimming?

You can determine whether your pet bearded dragon doesn’t like swimming if it shows any signs of visible stress or fear. 

In case it is your pet’s first swim you should observe your pet post-swim for the following signs and behavior – lethargy, not eating its food, dark coloration on its body, stress marks, does not want to bask, and chewing at the inner walls of the pet enclosure. 

Swimming Technique Of Bearded Dragons

The swimming technique of bearded dragons is peculiar in nature.  A bearded dragon will inhale some amount of air, float on water, and paddle across the water to get around. 

Copious Inhalation 

Bearded dragons cannot stay underwater for a very long time. Therefore it is crucial for them to inhale copious amounts of air in case they have to put their head underwater. 

Floating on The Water

The floating mechanism helps them to swim across the water’s surface. The amount of air inhaled also proves to be helpful in the mechanism for them to stay afloat on the water’s surface. 

Paddling with Limbs

Bearded dragons once afloat, will use their limbs to paddle across the water surface using waving-like actions. All the while bearded dragons will keep their bearded heads above the surface of water. The bodies will naturally be below the water’s surface. 

You can take a look at this bearded dragon swimming here.   

Is It Necessary For My Bearded Dragon to Swim?

Bearded dragons can do without swimming completely. Though it is not a compulsion to make your pet bearded dragon swim, you can consider taking out your pet bearded dragon for a swim as it will prove to be a fun and recreational activity for both you and your little pet. 

It is however important that your pet bearded dragon doesn’t perceive it as a stressful activity. 

This said, swimming can also prove to be a form of exercise activity for your pet bearded dragon.

If the swimming activity is scheduled around the shedding time, being in water can act just like giving your pet bearded dragon a bath. Being in the water, your pet bearded dragon will lap up some of the water and stay hydrated thereby aiding in the shedding process and overall hydration levels of your tiny pet.  

The swimming activity can also prove to be a good way to bond with your pet. 

It is absolutely crucial to never let your pet bearded dragon out of your sight. You must always vigilantly watch your pet bearded dragon while it is swimming. In case, it shows any signs of distress, you should immediately remove it from the water. 

Is it Safe For My Pet To Swim in a Common Pool?

It’s not safe for your pet to swim in a common pool due to these reasons:

  • Common swimming pools contain a huge amount of chlorine in their tanks. The presence of chlorine in water can be harmful to your pet bearded dragon.
  • Chlorine can get into your pet’s eyes and can sting them and cause their eyes to have a burning sensation.  
  • Your pet can also accidentally drink some of the chlorinated water which can prove to be very harmful for it.  
  • The chlorine in water tanks can also dry up their skin which is harmful for your pet bearded dragon. It can also impact the gut microbiomes of your pet. 
  • There is also this danger that your pet bearded dragon can get out of your sight or could be hard to spot in a large swimming pool. It may prove to be deadly as your pet may drown. The best option is to build a swim gym for your pet bearded dragon. 

How Can I Set Up a Swim Gym For My Bearded Dragon?

Container For Swimming

Generally, you should opt for a large container as a pool for your tiny pet bearded dragon. If you don’t have a large container, you can also use your regular bathtub for your pet to swim in. 

Water For Swimming

The next step is to fill the large container or bathtub with clean tepid or lukewarm water. Ensure the water level is not too deep. 

Sometimes, your pet bearded dragon can end up drinking this water accidentally or deliberately. Make sure the water is clean and does not contain any chemicals. Do not add any cleaning agents like soap to the water as well. 

Swimming Support Accessories

It is also ideal to fill the water container with stones, rocks, and plant branches for your pet bearded dragon.

Sometimes bearded dragons can get exhausted while swimming or post-swim. In that case, they need to cling to some solid object to rest themselves and not drown. 

The branches and rocks can be perfect if your pet wants to take a break from the swim. It can be also helpful for you to determine the energy levels of your pet bearded dragon based on the time it is spending on the support accessories. 


Bearded dragons can swim if needed. However, whether each bearded dragon likes to swim or not is completely dependent on the temperament of your pet bearded dragon. In any case, you should never force it to swim or test its behavior in water. 


How Long Do Bearded Dragons Swim For?

Bearded dragons can swim in short bursts for a few minutes. Typically the time period can vary between 8-15 minutes.  

Though it is important to watch your pet bearded dragon the whole time. If it shows any signs of fatigue or stress, you should immediately remove it from the water.

For How Long Can Bearded Dragons Hold Their Breath Underwater?

Bearded dragons can hold down their breath underwater for a longer time than humans can. Usually, it is for a  few minutes. So you do not have to panic immediately if your pet bearded dragon stays underwater for a couple of minutes.  

However, do not attempt to test this by forcing your pet’s head underwater, as it can suffocate it and your pet may eventually drown. 

Is Tap Water Safe For Bearded Dragons To Swim In?

The content of chemicals like chlorine and fluoride in tap water varies from country to country. In most cases, tap water is considered safe for bearded dragons. But depending on the content of chemicals present in the tap water, it is advisable to not let your pet bearded dragon swim in tap water.

Should I Use Cold Water for My Bearded Dragon to Swim in?

No, you should not use cold water to fill the water container or bathtub where your pet bearded dragon will swim. Bearded dragons belong to the reptilia class and are ectotherms or cold-blooded in nature. 

This means, their body temperatures will drop as per the temperature of the surrounding. The drop in body temperature will slow down all activities of your pet. This can prove to be fatal as your pet may not be able to swim properly and can eventually drown. It is ideal to use lukewarm or tepid water. 

Can Young Bearded Dragons Swim Too?

Yes, baby bearded dragons can swim just like adult bearded dragons. You should ideally use a swim gym with a lot of options for support like rocks, stones, sticks, and branches for your baby bearded dragon’s safety. The accessories used for support can also be helpful for your young bearded dragon to gain confidence while swimming.

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