Can A Bearded Dragon Swim?

For many new bearded dragon owners, at some point, you may begin to wonder if a bearded dragon can swim?

Bearded dragons barely drink water, however, that doesn’t mean that they can’t swim. Bearded dragons are found in hot arid locations, even places where water is extremely scarce.

To some, the idea of a bearded dragon swimming may seem a bit strange, however, they actually can swim.

Determine If Your Bearded Dragon Can Swim

Although it is not something that you might see occurring every day, bearded dragons are able to swim.

Not only can they swim, but they do so pretty well. Most reptiles have the ability to swim to some degree.

Bearded dragons don’t require large amounts of water but this does not mean that your dragon doesn’t need or enjoy the water.

Like every pet, your bearded dragon has an individual personality. Some dragons enjoy swimming while others would rather swim only when necessary.

Knowing your dragon and its personality is key to determining if it will enjoy being in the water. It’s very important to never force your dragon to engage in something that it does not want to do.

How Do Dragons Swim?

Despite what you may think, the bearded dragon is a very capable reptile when it comes to getting around in the water.

Bearded dragons don’t have fins or webbed feet, so just how they swim can seem questionable to some.

Bearded dragons use a specific technique to move through the water.

When it comes to swimming, bearded dragons, similar to crocodiles, use their tail to help propel them forward.

By wiggling their bodies, limbs, and tail in addition to inflating themselves with air to float, bearded dragons can swim pretty decently.

Not only can the dragons float and swim, but they can also dive and swim underwater as well.

It’s important to know that your bearded dragon is capable of holding its breath for a longer period of time than a human can.

It’s not uncommon for bearded dragons to dive underwater and remain there for a few minutes, so don’t be alarmed.

Even though your dragon can stay submerged underwater for periods of time, you should never try to submerge your bearded dragon in water.

Your dragon should be able to stand up and climb out as well as move freely in and about the water on its own.

Do Bearded Dragons Like To Swim?

Just because you can do something, doesn’t always mean that you like to do it. The same is true for bearded dragons in regards to swimming.

Some dragons are more comfortable from the get-go about getting in and swimming in water. If your dragon has an aversion to water it may be due to personality or maybe the water seems unfamiliar.

There are ways to help to determine if your dragon likes to swim or not. It’s a good idea that your dragon gets used to water being around.

Your dragon doesn’t have to go in the water all the time, however, it should have free access fairly often. You can do this by placing a large water dish inside your dragon’s tank.

Exo Terra Water Dish

Another way to determine if your bearded dragon can and wants to swim is with regular baths. Bathing your bearded dragon regularly is very important and has various positive effects.

Regular baths help to keep your beardie properly hydrated, it helps skin shedding, bowel movements, and reduces the risk of infection.

Normally, giving your bearded dragon a bath about 1-2 times a week is plenty. This also helps to allow your dragon to get familiar with being in the water.

During the wintertime, generally, it’s okay to scale back to about once a week for bathing your dragon.

Also in addition to helping to keep your dragon clean, allowing your dragon to swim is an excellent source of exercise for them.

Where Can Bearded Dragons Swim?

Just because bearded dragons can swim doesn’t mean that you should toss your dragon into any body of water. There are a few places you will want to avoid such as:

  • The Sea
  • Saltwater Pools
  • Fast Moving Rivers

Avoid Saltwater

Saltwater from either a saltwater pool or the ocean is not a good place for your bearded dragon to swim either.

The salt in the water will cause your dragon to become too dry. In addition, water with salt is harmful to drink for most pets and animals.

Are All Swimming Pools Dangerous?

Pool water may be perfectly fine for humans, however, chlorine in the pool is not good for your dragon.

Not only will the chlorine in the water cause your dragon’s skin to dry out, but your dragon may try to drink the water as it’s swimming.

As long as your pool does not have a high chlorine content or other chemicals in the water that could be harmful to your dragon, swimming the pool is typically considered safe.

How to Provide a Safe Swimming Area

Tip #1: Use a Small Paddling Pool

Because beardies often enjoy swimming and it provides good exercise for them, you could consider purchasing a small foldable paddling pool for them.

This would be a great way of ensuring your beardie doesn’t put on too much weight. Plus you can control the quality of the water.

Bearded Dragon Swim Pool

The best thing about this paddling pool is that it is lightweight and foldable which makes storage really easy.

Tip #2: Treat the Water

It is a good idea to use a specific water conditioner to ensure the water is safe for your beardie. This will eliminate any chloramines and will detoxify any ammonia.

REPTISAFE Instant Terrarium Water Conditioner

Tip #3: Ensure the Water Is the Correct Temperature

Something else to consider is the temperature of the water. It is important to remember that bearded dragons are cold-blooded.

water thermometer

You want to make sure that the water temperature is no colder than room temperature, and at best, slightly warm. Bearded dragons become lethargic, tired, and can possibly drown when the water is too cold.

Tip #4: Always Watch Over Your Beardie

A final note to remember is to watch your dragon when they are swimming. You should never leave your dragon unattended while swimming for a number of reasons.

If you are out in the open or the wild, there’s a chance your dragon could slip away and escape.

Even worse your dragon might drown from fatigue while swimming. Putting your dragon’s health in harm’s way just so they can swim is not worth it.

Tip #5: Provide a Floatie

Sometimes your beardie may like being in the water but would just like to bob about. This is where a floatie can come in really handy.

They are very affordable and also make for fantastic photo opportunities!

Novelty Place Floatie


Not every bearded dragon is a great swimmer but they can swim. Swimming for bearded dragons is a natural instinct, however, sometimes it is rarely seen.

By routine bathing and allowing your dragon regular access to water, you should be able to tell how well your bearded dragon can swim.

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Can A Bearded Dragon Swim

  • About Matthew Cantell

    I was just 15 years of age when I first met a bearded dragon. It was at my friend's house and I instantly grew an immediate attraction to, what has now become, my favourite animal on the planet! Making fantastic pets for both children and adults alike, they each have their own personality and are certainly full of character. There are, though, some important things that we should all know when it comes to caring for these amazing animals!
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