Do Bearded Dragons Drink Water (and How)?

Close Up Of Pogona Vitticeps Drinking Water

Bearded dragon owners should know that their beardie pets need water. Still, you might not understand all the intricacies about how much they need and how often they need it.

After all, bearded dragons are lizards that originate from pretty dry areas of Australia, so it can be confusing.

Like humans and other animals, bearded dragons need water to survive, and it’s essential to get it right for optimum health so that they are hydrated and healthy.

But how often do you need to give bearded dragons water, and how much? The quick answer is that they should be given fresh water each day.

This could be with a shallow water bowl or misting. Continue reading to discover everything you need to know about bearded dragons and their water intake.

Do Bearded Dragons Drink Water?

Yes, bearded dragons need to drink water to survive. Of course, they don’t drink much compared to humans and other animals, but they wouldn’t survive without it.

Adult beardies weighing around 300g must consume 10 ml of water daily. This can come from water-rich foods as well as direct drinking.

Though they need this amount of water, they can survive without water for between three days and two weeks, depending on the circumstances.

However, this is their survival mechanism coming into play. Without adequate water, bearded dragons can have health problems caused by dehydration – for example, constipation.

Thankfully, there are many different ways to keep a bearded dragon hydrated. You can provide a shallow water bowl, use a syringe, mist their food, provide vegetables with high water content, give them a bath, or even have a waterfall in their enclosure.

That said, too much water can be problematic, too, as it can cause the humidity levels to be too high for your bearded dragon’s needs.

How Do Bearded Dragons Drink Water in The Wild?

In the wild, bearded dragons get their water from the foods they eat and from occasional rainfall.

The food could be insects or plants that might drink from streams or puddles. 

In the wild, bearded dragons drink as per their needs. However, in captivity, it’s up to owners to ensure their pets have adequate water to drink.

Dehydration isn’t usually a problem in the wild, but it can happen quickly for captive beardies. Bearded dragon size, diet, health, and humidity can contribute to dehydration.

Signs of Dehydration in Bearded Dragons

Owners should be aware of the signs of dehydration. Here are the significant signs:

  • Wrinkly skin
  • Sunken eyes
  • Double strands of saliva when opening the mouth (indicates saliva tackiness due to dehydration)
  • Decreased elasticity of the skin – the skin will ‘tent’ when gently pinched
  • Decreased appetite
  • ‘Doughy’ abdomen
  • Lethargy

If you’re concerned that your bearded dragon is dehydrated, you can pinch him on the back gently.

If the area you pinch goes back to normal when you release the pinch, your bearded dragon is well hydrated. If it doesn’t roll back, your bearded dragon is likely dehydrated.

How Can You Get a Bearded Dragon to Drink Water?

If you suspect your bearded dragon is dehydrated, you must encourage him to drink water. But, unfortunately, being dehydrated will make him feel unwell, so getting your beardie to drink can be difficult.

Here are some ways you can rehydrate a bearded dragon. Suppose you think your bearded dragon is severely dehydrated. In that case, you should seek advice from a specialist exotic vet – especially if this is in baby bearded dragons.

Water in A Water Bowl

The most obvious solution to a dehydrated bearded dragon is to provide water in a water bowl. The bowl material doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that it is easy to clean – and resistant to cleaning chemicals.

The next thing to think about when choosing a bowl is the size. Generally speaking, the water bowl must be big enough for your bearded dragon to immerse himself.

However, this will also affect the bearded dragon’s tank humidity. Beardies aren’t used to humid climates, so low enclosure humidity is essential. Your bearded dragon shouldn’t have a problem if the tank is well-ventilated.

Moreover, you should make sure the bearded dragon is only up to his shoulders in the bowl. Bearded dragons can drown.

Finally, if you’re putting a water bowl in your beardie’s enclosure, make sure you change the water daily. Suppose your bearded dragon chooses to sit in his water bowl. In that case, he’s likely to defecate there, which causes obvious problems when it comes to drinking water.

If your bearded dragon defecates in his water dish, clean the container before adding clean water.

If you notice the enclosure’s humidity creeping up with the water bowl inside, remove it once your beardie has spent some time in it and had a drink.

Misting Bearded Dragons

Another way to get bearded dragons to drink water is to spray them with a misting bottle. Misting can help rehydrate them and also aids the shedding process.

Giving a bearded dragon a good misting is a way to help them rehydrate when they’re not a fan of drinking from a water bowl.

As well as misting your pet, you can use the spray bottle to mist their food and enclosure to encourage them to lick the surfaces and get water.

Though you can use tap water in a water dish, it’s best to use distilled if you spray water so that you don’t stain the enclosure glass with the minerals in tap water.

How often you spray your bearded dragon depends on the enclosure temperature, ventilation, humidity, and substrate. If in doubt, speak to an exotic pet specialist.

Most bearded dragons can be spritzed each morning as this will imitate the dew they would drink in their natural habitat.

Things to Check Before Misting

Before misting, check the enclosure temperature and humidity, then watch how misting changes these. The temperature and ventilation should be adequate enough that the mist will have cleared within an hour.

While some people always spritz by hand, lots of bearded dragon owners choose to invest in automatic misting systems.

An automatic misting system will time the misting and dispense the right amount of water into the cage.

Give Him a Bath

There are many debates on bearded dragon forums arguing whether or not bearded dragons absorb water via their skin. However, research suggests this is not the case, and bearded dragons can’t absorb water through their skin.

That said, bearded dragons do have little pocket-type areas that trap water underneath. When they bend and twist, the water trickles down to their mouths. A bath is a great way to get your beardie to drink water.

There is also another way that bearded dragons benefit from bathing. These reptiles can rehydrate themselves in water by taking in water through their vent. This is the opening underneath their tail where they defecate from.

Hydration with Food

Another way to rehydrate your beardie is by feeding them with foods that have high water content. You could even mist the foods as well.

Examples of foods with a high water content include:

  • Celery
  • Watercress
  • Cabbage
  • Arugula
  • Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Collard greens
  • Spinach
  • Cucumber
  • Apples
  • Plums
  • Watermelon
  • Pear

Insects like hornworms are also great.

Rehydrate Your Bearded Dragon with A Syringe

If you want to try and get your bearded dragon’s water intake up, you can fill a syringe with water and use it to encourage drinking water.

Place the syringe or close to your beardie’s mouth and release some water a little at a time. This is an excellent method for beardies who are friendly and unafraid.

Pets who trust their owners will do well with this method.

Bubblers and Waterfalls

Bubblers and waterfalls not only look great, but they also encourage your beardie to drink.

These will add humidity to the enclosure, so they must be carefully managed.

However, if you manage to have one and you can keep your humidity within the desired range, bubblers and waterfalls are incredible.

Bearded dragons struggle to notice still water in a water dish. However, when you have a bubbler or a waterfall, they will be able to see the moving water and will be more likely to take a drink.

To improve this further, you can surround the water with live or artificial plants with broad leaves. This will mean dew forms, and your beardie can also drink water from the leaves.

Adding an airstone to your bearded dragon’s water will mean the water moves and will entice even the most stubborn of reptiles to take a drink from a bowl.

How Much Water Should a Bearded Dragon Drink?

Generally, reptiles need between 10 and 30 ml of water per kilogram daily. This includes water taken in from the food they consume.

What Happens if A Bearded Dragon Is Dehydrated?

Since biological and metabolic processes require water, it’s essential to hydrate bearded dragons sufficiently.

Dehydration happens if there isn’t enough water to replace the fluid used in physiological processes and biological activity.

Dehydration can be mild and cause minor or severe problems. Death can occur in the most extreme cases or extended periods of dehydration.

Before it becomes a fatal issue, dehydration can cause other medical problems like:

  • Problems shedding (dysecdysis)
  • Constipation
  • Gout
  • Kidney disease

Without proper hydration, your beardie can become very ill indeed.

Problems Shedding (dysecdysis)

It is usual for bearded dragons to shed their skin as they grow. However, an adult bearded dragon will shed less frequently than a baby bearded dragon or juvenile.

If you notice shedding problems, dehydration should be ruled out as a cause.

It can be hard to know whether shedding problems are caused by dehydration because bearded dragons don’t shed their skin in one shed like geckos or snakes. Instead, they shed each scale individually.

This means that bearded dragons often look messy and disheveled when shedding.

A dehydrated bearded dragon will shed more slowly or will retain its shed. This is known as dysecdysis.

This can cause serious problems, especially around the eyes, toes, or tail. In addition, any retained shed that is left untreated can build up. When this happens, it constricts the areas and can end up in bearded dragons losing toes!


A dehydrated dragon will naturally have less fluid in his excrement. Digestion is one of the biological processes that need water to function correctly.

If your beardie is dehydrated, his fecal matter will be dry, and there may even be blood present. You might also notice him being uncomfortable or straining when attempting to defecate. Finally, there might be a cloacal prolapse.

Constipation is severe because it can also lead to impaction.


All reptiles are prone to getting gout. However, in most cases, gout in bearded dragons is caused by inappropriate hydration and a poor diet. You need to get your pet beardie to a vet when gout is suspected.

Though gout can be caused by dehydration or poor fluid intake over time, it can also be a secondary problem caused by renal failure or kidney disease.

Here are some of the symptoms of gout in bearded dragons:

  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Weight loss
  • Swollen and painful joints
  • Weakness
  • Cream or while deposits in their mouths (tophi).

If your bearded dragon suffers from severe gout, toe or limb amputations might be needed.

Moreover, because gout is so painful, if the condition is severe, a vet might recommend euthanasia.

Kidney Disease

Kidney disease is a natural follow-on from severely dehydrated bearded dragons. This is because the kidneys need water to function correctly.

Often, kidney disease goes hand in hand with gout.

The tricky thing about kidney problems is that they’re not usually apparent until they are advanced. Early signs include a lack of appetite, sunken eyes, and lethargy.

When the disease is advanced, you might smell an unusual odor and see the oral mucosa having a white sheen.

The final stages of kidney disease (before death) might show as necrosis on the digits or tail tip. If the bearded dragon is forced to eat with advanced kidney disease, it will likely regurgitate or vomit.

As you should expect, it is better to prevent this by ensuring adequate water intake to avoid disease and health issues.

Do Bearded Dragons Drink Water? FAQs

How Can I Get My Pet Bearded Dragon to Drink More Water?

If you’re worried about water intake, offer him fresh water bowls each day, spray him by hand, try bathing him or use a syringe directly into his mouth. Don’t forget you can also feed him foods with high water content.

How Often Should I Give My Bearded Dragons Water?

Adult bearded dragons need water daily – around 10 ml is the average. Therefore, offering your bearded dragon a water bowl with fresh water each day is crucial. What’s more, provide water-rich foods like fresh watercress, spinach, cabbage, etc.

Do Bearded Dragons Absorb Water Through Their Skin?

No. This is a common misconception. Bearded dragons drink water through their mouths and can’t absorb it through their skin. However, they can take in water through their vent (the opening under their tail where they defecate and lay eggs (females). They can also trap moisture in their skin and then drink water that runs into their mouth when they bend their head and raise their bodies.

Final Thoughts on Do Bearded Dragons Drink Water

As you’ve seen from the information above, Bearded Dragons need to drink water. A healthy adult dragon needs around 10ml of water daily to stay hydrated and maintain good health.

For beginners, stick to hydrating your bearded dragon through spraying and feeding.

Water can easily affect the humidity levels in a bearded dragon cage which can be dangerous.

Scroll to Top