Can Bearded Dragons Swim? What You Should Avoid

can bearded dragons swim?

Do you have a pool or do you want to give your bearded dragon a bath? Now you are wondering – can bearded dragons swim? Let me answer this question for you.

Bearded dragons are great swimmers. In the water, a bearded dragon´s movements remind of the movements of a swimming crocodile. Swimming is a great exercise for bearded dragons and it can help to clear impaction in bearded dragons.

This article will show you the best ways to let your bearded dragon swim and what you should definitely avoid. Let’s start with some key takeaways.

Can Bearded Dragons Swim? Here Are The Facts!

Can bearded dragons go swimming in a pool?

Yes, bearded dragons can swim perfectly. Bearded dragons inflate themselves with air to be able to float and then they show the movements of a crocodile to move forward.

In the wild, bearded dragons swim and bathe. This is only natural as they come from the woodlands of Australia that have these bodies of water.

It is interesting to note that there are some bearded dragons that managed to swim underwater. However, they do not stay under the water for a long time. They also do not dive deeply.

As bearded dragons are exceptional swimmers, they can also swim in deep water. Despite this, they also need to get out of the water and rest.

Do Bearded Dragons Like To Swim?

Not every bearded dragon likes to swim. Every bearded dragon has a unique personality and that´s why there are bearded dragons that love water and swim whenever they have the opportunity and there are bearded dragons that would never hop into the water.

It is very important that you do not force your bearded dragon to swim if it just doesn´t want to. We have to respect our bearded dragon´s personality.

Forcing a bearded dragon to do something it does not like means a lot of stress for your bearded dragon. However, bearded dragons can get used to the water. It just might take a lot of time.

If you want to encourage your bearded dragon to swim, I recommend placing a huge water bowl inside your bearded dragon´s tank. This way your bearded dragon is able to explore the water by choice and at its own pace.

Your bearded dragon will not only get used to the water by exploring it, but it will also get used to the water by seeing it every day as well.

Bearded Dragons Can´t See Still Water

To make sure that your bearded dragon knows where the water is, you have to move the water. Some people wiggle their fingers inside the water bowl to show their bearded dragon where the water is.

You can also install a dripper in your tank and let the water drip into the water bowl at a slow pace. This way the water will move from time to time and your bearded dragon will know where it is.

Is Swimming Good For Bearded Dragons?

If the temperature is okay and the bearded dragon is not forced to swim if it doesn´t want to, swimming is great for bearded dragons. It is a great exercise and it can help to have a bowel movement.

So what do I mean by that? It is very simple. Most bearded dragons in captivity are bored and inactive. Inactivity in bearded dragons can have several reasons.

The wrong food, the wrong lighting setup, but also an enclosure that is way too small.

Bearded dragons seem to be very lazy reptiles, but in the wild, that is not the case. In fact, bearded dragons are very active reptiles. They run around the whole day, exploring their territory and fighting off intruders.

In addition to that, in the wild bearded dragons need to hunt for their food. There are no humans who place crickets or mealworms right in front of them. So bearded dragons really have to work to get their food.

In captivity, bearded dragons have to do nothing to earn their food. They are just lying under their basking spot and wait for it. This is actually pretty bad and that´s why many bearded dragons in terrariums are way too fat.

So swimming can really help here. It is a great exercise for their body, but you will also get a much happier bearded dragon.

Swimming Can Clear Impaction In Bearded Dragons

A warm bath can help to clear impaction in bearded dragons. Unfortunately, many bearded dragons in terrariums are impacted very often. They get impacted by food that is too huge or from too much food.

Also, a lot of bearded dragons eat substrate and get impacted by that.

Swimming in warm water will relax your bearded dragon and it will have an easier time defecating. To help your bearded dragon a little bit, you can rub its belly gently, but most of the time this won´t be necessary.

If you want to learn more about this topic and learn how to give your bearded dragon the perfect bath, click here to read my article on bathing bearded dragons.

If your bearded dragon is impacted very often, you are doing something wrong and you need to find out what that is. I recommend reading my article that explains why your bearded dragon is not pooping.

Where Can Bearded Dragons Swim?

Bearded dragons can swim in a kiddie pool, a tub, or a bin. You can fill it with lukewarm water and if you are concerned about the chemicals in tap water, you can add a bit of reptile-safe water conditioner, just like this one.

Still, the best option is to just put a large water bowl in their tank so they can go into the water whenever they want to.

Can Bearded Dragons Swim In A Pool?

Bearded dragons can swim in a small pool, just as long as the pool does not have a high chlorine content. As beardies tend to drink the water they are swimming in, ingesting too much chlorine is harmful to them. Further, it can dry their skin.

However, in practice, a lot of owners let their beardies swim in their family pool which surely has chlorine. So far, there have been no reports of their bearded dragons getting sick. Still, it is better to be safe than sorry.

If you let your bearded dragon swim in your pool, it is good practice to rinse it off with just water.

Can bearded dragons put their head under water?

Can Bearded Dragons Swim In Saltwater Pools?

Technically, yes, but it is not a good idea to let your bearded dragons swim in saltwater pools. Based on the diet of beardies, their bodies cannot process sodium well.

Saltwater has a lot of sodium. When ingested, your bearded dragon may have digestive issues.

Can Bearded Dragons Swim In The Ocean?

As the ocean has salt water, it is not beneficial for a bearded dragon to swim there. There is also the matter of rough currents that may disorient your bearded dragon which is a potential risk of drowning.

Can Bearded Dragons Swim In Cold Water?

Cold water can drastically lower the body temperature of your bearded dragon. When this happens, they cannot swim properly, so they may drown.

Usually, lowering their body temperature is not a problem if it is just for a short time and they have an opportunity to bask.

This is also connected to not forcing your beardies to swim when they actually want to bask. Just let them swim out of their own accord to not mess with their thermoregulation.


Bearded dragons are exceptional swimmers and swimming can be a great exercise for your bearded dragon.

If your bearded dragon is already pretty active and gets a lot of exercise, there isn´t really a reason to let your bearded dragon swim. Except your bearded dragon wants it, of course.

Just don´t get the feeling that bearded dragon must swim from time to time, because they really don´t. Chinese water dragons or Australian water dragons definitely must have the opportunity to swim at all times, but bearded dragons don´t.

So can bearded dragons swim? Yes, they can, but they don´t have to.

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