Can a Bearded Dragon Swim?

Bearded dragons, with their unique appearance and fascinating behaviors, often captivate reptile enthusiasts. As pet owners, it’s natural to wonder about various aspects of their lives, including their swimming abilities. So, can a bearded dragon swim? In this article, we will dive into the topic and explore the aquatic capabilities of these remarkable reptiles.

The Natural Habitat of Bearded Dragons

To understand their swimming abilities, it’s essential to first consider the natural habitat of bearded dragons. These reptiles are native to the arid regions of Australia, where water sources may be limited. In their natural environment, bearded dragons are not known for their swimming skills.

Can Bearded Dragons Swim?

While bearded dragons are not natural swimmers, they do possess some basic swimming abilities. They have the ability to paddle and move through water using their limbs and tail. However, it’s important to note that bearded dragons are not adapted for long-distance swimming like aquatic reptiles such as turtles or crocodiles.

Swimming as an Exercise

Swimming can provide exercise and enrichment for bearded dragons. It allows them to use their muscles and provides a different form of physical activity. However, it’s crucial to ensure the safety of your bearded dragon during swimming sessions. Here are some important points to consider:

Supervision: Always supervise your bearded dragon when it is in or near water. Never leave them unattended, as they may encounter difficulties or become stressed.

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Shallow Water: Use shallow water containers or tubs for your bearded dragon’s swimming sessions. The water level should be low enough to allow them to touch the bottom with their feet and tail.

Gradual Introduction: If you are introducing your bearded dragon to swimming for the first time, start with a small amount of water. Allow them to get accustomed to the water gradually and observe their comfort level.

Clean Water: Ensure that the water you provide is clean, free of any chemicals or contaminants that may harm your bearded dragon. Use fresh, chlorine-free water for their swimming sessions.

Temperature Considerations: Bearded dragons are ectothermic, meaning their body temperature depends on their surroundings. When allowing your bearded dragon to swim, ensure that the water temperature is appropriate and not too cold or too hot for them.

Drying Off: After swimming, provide a warm, safe area for your bearded dragon to dry off. This will help prevent them from becoming too cold, as dampness can lead to temperature regulation issues.

Signs of Discomfort or Distress

While some bearded dragons may enjoy swimming, it’s important to watch for signs of discomfort or distress. Not all bearded dragons have the same affinity for water, and individual preferences may vary. Watch for the following signs:

  • Agitation or stress
  • Attempting to climb out of the water
  • Struggling or inability to keep their head above water
  • Rapid or irregular breathing
  • Unusual behavior or panic

If you observe any of these signs, it’s best to discontinue swimming sessions and provide a dry, comfortable environment for your bearded dragon.

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FAQs About Bearded Dragons and Swimming

Q: Can bearded dragons swim?

A: Yes, bearded dragons can swim to some extent, but they are not natural swimmers like aquatic reptiles.

Q: How often should I let my bearded dragon swim?

A: Swimming sessions can be offered once or twice a month as a form of exercise and enrichment.

Q: What is the best way to introduce my bearded dragon to swimming?

A: Start with shallow water and allow them to gradually get accustomed to it. Monitor their comfort level and adjust accordingly.

Q: Can I use a bathtub for my bearded dragon to swim?

A: Yes, a clean bathtub with shallow water can be used for swimming sessions. Ensure the water temperature is appropriate.

Q: Are there any risks associated with bearded dragon swimming?

A: While swimming is generally safe, be cautious of signs of distress, and always supervise your bearded dragon to ensure their safety.

Q: My bearded dragon seems scared of water. What should I do?

A: Respect their preferences. Not all bearded dragons enjoy swimming, so provide alternative forms of enrichment and exercise if they show fear or discomfort.

Q: Can swimming help with shedding in bearded dragons?

A: Yes, swimming can aid in the shedding process by providing moisture and helping to soften the old skin.

Q: Can bearded dragons drown while swimming?

A: While bearded dragons can swim, they are not equipped for prolonged swimming and can tire easily. Always provide a safe environment and monitor them closely.

Q: What should I do if my bearded dragon shows signs of distress while swimming?

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A: Remove them from the water immediately and provide a warm, dry area. Observe their behavior and consult a veterinarian if necessary.

Q: Can I leave my bearded dragon unattended while swimming?

A: No, it is crucial to supervise your bearded dragon at all times during swimming sessions to ensure their safety.

Remember, each bearded dragon is unique, and their preferences may vary. Pay attention to your pet’s comfort and adjust their swimming routine accordingly.


Bearded dragons possess basic swimming abilities and can engage in short swimming sessions. However, it’s crucial to prioritize their safety and well-being when introducing them to water. Always supervise swimming sessions, use shallow water, maintain appropriate water temperature, and ensure a stress-free environment.

Remember that not all bearded dragons enjoy swimming, and individual preferences may vary. Pay close attention to your pet’s behavior and comfort level. If your bearded dragon shows signs of distress or discomfort, it’s best to respect their preferences and provide alternative forms of enrichment and exercise.