Does a Bearded Dragon Need a Water Bowl?
You should provide a water bowl for your bearded dragon. Although bearded dragons in the wild are well adapted to dry conditions, they do still need to take on water.
In the wild, they would get their water from their food or from the rare rainfall. They don’t really drink much in the traditional way.
However, it is advisable to still provide a water bowl for them.
This means that they can drink if they need to, but also allows them to bathe in the water if they get too warm.
In the wild, they can survive for up to 2 weeks without taking in any water at all. However, you should always provide the option for a captive bearded dragon, so they have the choice themselves.
Never make them go without any water for a 2 week period, as it could be detrimental to their health, especially if they’re young, elderly or if you have a gravid female.
Despite them living in desert conditions in the wild, bearded dragons really like the water. Even if your dragon doesn’t feel like drinking, a shallow bowl of water would be a great enrichment tool.
What Type of Water Bowl Should I Buy?
The water bowl must be shallow. If your bearded dragon does want to drink, they will need a shallow bowl to allow them to get their chin into the water.
Because of the way a bearded dragon’s face is shaped, they can’t drink like a dog or cat, so will need to immerse their chin fully to drink. It should also be shallow and wide to avoid spillages.
If your dragon thinks it’s a new toy, they may try to flip it over.
A shallow, wide bowl will help to prevent this, as you don’t want to have to keep cleaning the bottom of a wet tank.
You should also keep the water quite shallow as deep water is likely to drown any live food that you put in there and your dragon will turn its nose up at anything that’s already dead.
Pet stores stock water bowls that are shaped like the rocks of their natural environment. In order to make them the perfect fit for your dragon, these are specially designed to be:
- Easy to clean
- Made from strong material
It’ll also match the decor of the habitat and make it look more attractive. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t fill this kind of bowl right up to the top.
Too much water in the terrarium is likely to increase the humidity levels and this might make the habitat uncomfortable for your dragon.
Although water bowls purchased from the pet store are cheap, usually, just a couple of dollars, if you’re looking for a free alternative, the lid of a jar would be ideal.
How Can I Make My Bearded Dragon Drink?
Bearded dragons aren’t natural drinkers. In the wild, they will get their moisture from the food they eat.
They can also store water for a long time, so, rarely need to drink. Because of this, they won’t be used to drinking out of a bowl like other pets do.
If you put a bowl of water in, you might be met with a confused expression.
To encourage your bearded dragon to drink, you could try putting a few drops of apple juice in the water at first. They love fruit, so will be attracted to the smell and taste of the water if fruit juice is involved.
As your dragon starts to get the idea (usually once they’ve tried a couple of times to eat the water rather than drink it), you’ll find that they’ll start to drink on their own.
Once they’ve got the idea, gradually remove the amount of juice until you’re back to just water.
If you don’t see your dragon drink, don’t worry. As long as they understand the process, they’ll drink when they have to.
It’s likely that you’ll go in every morning to the bowl being just as full as when you left it. It’s still advisable to change the water every day to avoid the water from getting too hot or dirty.
How to Clean the Water Bowl
When it comes to water, bearded dragons aren’t particularly tidy creatures. They have a long tail that tends to trail all kinds of dirt into the water.
They also have a habit of defecating in it. Because of this, you’ll need to clean the water bowl every day to keep it fresh.
Keeping dirty water in there for longer means that algae and other bacteria can grow on the sides of the bowl.
The hot temperature inside the tank is the ideal environment for fast-growing, harmful bacteria that can cause health problems for your dragon.
To clean the bowl, you should use a special anti bacterial cleaner before refilling with clean water. NEVER use bleach or other household cleaning products.
If you’re filling the bowl with tap water, you should get a reptile water cleaner. This removes any chlorine from the water, making it safer for your dragon to drink.
What If I Don’t Have Space for a Water Bowl?
Bearded dragons can collect moisture from other sources. They don’t necessarily ‘need’ a water bowl. However, you should provide one to make it more comfortable for your bearded dragon.
If it’s really that you don’t have room for a water bowl, then you may need to consider the size of your terrarium. If it’s so full that your dragon doesn’t have enough space for anything else, you may need to look at up-sizing.
You could consider ‘misting’. Misting a bearded dragon means spraying them with water from a special bottle, just like a light shower.
You should do this outside their terrarium so that you don’t increase the humidity levels.
You’d need to do this every couple of days to keep their skin hydrated. It’ll also help them to shed their skin.
Bathing your bearded dragon will give them more opportunity to drink and will allow them to hydrate their skin.
They’ll also love a good paddle. It’s recommended that you bathe your dragon at least twice a week if you’re not going to provide a water bowl.
In the wild, most of the water that a bearded dragon ingests is through food. There are some fruits, vegetables, and greens that have high water content which could be ideal to give them their water quota.
However, too much fruit can cause diarrhea in bearded dragons. If you start to notice runny stools, it’s possible that you’ve overdone it with the amount of fruit in their diet.
You should always provide a water bowl for your bearded dragon, even if they seem not to use it much.
If you give them the option, a least they can drink if they feel they need to. But there’s no harm in misting and bathing alongside this to ensure they’re getting all that they need.
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