Everything that can breathe, grow, and poop needs water to survive. However, when we have bearded dragons in the picture, the point becomes mysterious. You see, beardies are semi-arid region dwellers. They have little to no access to water but they very much survive and repopulate in such conditions. They have evolved to make their lemonade out of dusty red sand and bone-dry trees, and are quite content.
Bearded dragons do drink water. They might require mere spoonfuls, but they need water to keep their guts moving nonetheless. The most fascinating thing about their drinking water is how they go about it; did you know that bearded dragons can absorb moisture through their thick scaly skin?
You may be wondering why your beardie doesn’t drink as much water as you expect or you’re simply curious about the relationship between dragons and moisture. I’ll be discussing all that to ensure your pet stays hydrated the proper way and to satisfy your curiosity.
Baby Bearded Dragons Need More Water Than The Adults
If you have an idea about their feeding techniques, you’ll understand that baby beardies assign more workload in comparison to adults. Water in this case is a daily necessity for baby dragons. They need to stay hydrated to encourage circulation and boost their growth– and they grow rapidly. Baby beardies are also pretty active, and this sets them in high demand for moisture to stabilize their metabolism.
Compared to adults, baby bearded dragons drink more water, so you may find them at their drinking bowls frequently. Because they eat fewer vegetables than adults do, they’d generally seek other water sources.
Adult Bearded Dragons Can Drink Water Once A Week
Adult beardies care less and less for food or water as they age. Sometimes, they even neglect food for a day. With water, it’s not much of a different story; bearded dragons in the wild can go days without water, but since they prey on smaller lizards, rodents, and even birds, they get relative hydration compared to beardies in captivity.
On average, adult bearded dragons may need just a teaspoonful of water in a day. Even at that, you might have to coax or trick them into drinking. Though they need water to survive, sometimes they just wouldn’t want to drink it.
So, if you find your bearded dragon ignoring its water bowls less and less as they age, worry not. It’s simply their nature to be less interested in water as they grow.
Water Bowls Can Affect The Humidity Of Your Bearded Dragon’s Enclosure
Everyone talks about water bowls and their mega importance in a bearded dragon’s life, and they’re correct in that thought. However, the dangers are usually ignored. See, beardies are accustomed to a particular level of humidity, and exceeding this mark puts them in the way of illnesses. This is exactly where water bowls bring in their cons; a water bowl in a terrarium skyrockets the humidity levels of that area to your dragon’s detriment.
Although this can be managed, sometimes you may have to subtract the water source from their enclosure no matter how good it may look in it.
Here’s the deal: bearded dragons need 30% to 40% of humidity. If you live in an already humid region, you will have to remove the water bowl to prevent your dragon from contracting respiratory infections. However, if you live in arid regions, you just might need to include the water dish to reach the ideal humidity. This is why it’s important to always have a hydrometer to pick on the little differences in humidity.
Does Your Bearded Dragon Avoid Drinking Water? Try These 5 Tips
It’s frustrating when you can’t tell if your arid-habitat little friend is simply not impressed with water or dehydrated. Whether it’s either of the options, your beardie needs to drink!
I have a few tricks under my sleeve that work perfectly to keep your dragon hydrated.
Throw A Worm Into The Water Bowl
Beardies cannot resist their delicious wriggling worms. All you have to do is throw a worm into their bowls, and they’d be licking away trying to fish it out. After a few worm tricks, you can be content knowing your dragon is fully hydrated.
Spray Their Heads With Water
Using a spray bottle filled with fresh clean water, dump a few spritzes on their heads so they can lick it off. This method is usually the best for humid areas as it wouldn’t need a water bowl at all. You can make this a daily routine for baby beardies after they feed.
Spray Their Veggies With Water
This is another great way to hydrate your scaly friends. You can even make it a routine to spritz their veggies now and then. This is more functional with adults since they eat more veggies than protein in comparison to baby dragons.
Soak Them In Shallow Water
Beardies love to cool off in the water, and you might have found them making a mini pool out of their water bowls with their little bellies dipped in it. This is because they can absorb water through their skin which makes it easy for them to stay moisturized when they bury themselves to hibernate during brumation. Once or twice a week, you can soak them in a shallow bowl for 15 minutes. Ensure that you don’t let the water exceed their ankles.
Caution: While they’re soaking, they might start to drink the water. Never pick them up during this process; beardies have valves in their throats that allow them to gulp water without choking or blocking air routes. When you pick them up, you disrupt this feature and cause them to drown. Please, don’t touch your beardies when they’re drinking.
Feed Your Dragon Water Through A Syringe
This method should be a last resort when your beardie is too weak to drink and should be done with extreme care. Using a new syringe filled with clean water, pinch open the beardie’s mouth, and through the side of the mouth, place the syringe inside. Slowly and steadily empty the content making sure they don’t choke.
Depending on the severity of your dragon’s dehydration, the veterinary doctor will instruct you on how frequently this should be done.
4 Tell-Tale Signs Your Bearded Dragon Is Dehydrated
It’s difficult to tell if beardies are dehydrated or not, and sometimes even impossible if you don’t know where to look. In case you have a suspicion, here’s how to tell if your dragon is dehydrated:
Dry, crumbly poop is the biggest “Help! I’m dehydrated!” sign your dragon can give you. Beardies are rarely constipated, and when they are, it simply means they are getting less water than they should.
Their Saliva Is Unusually Thick
If you suddenly notice that your beardie takes longer to swallow its food or starts having strings of saliva across each jaw when it opens its mouth, it’s a sign to take hydration seriously.
Their Eyelids Are Weirdly Droopy
Dehydration is accompanied by weakness, so when you find that your dragon looks sleepy or is less alert than usual, the chances of dehydration are high.
Their Skin Is Saggy
When your dragon is in a docile position, perhaps perched on their basking spot, pinch and hold their skin. If it bounces back immediately after you let go, they’re properly hydrated. If otherwise, it takes a few seconds to get back into shape, you need to seriously consider a visit to the vet and proper hydration.
Dehydration May Be A Symptom Or An Effect
While dehydration is as bad as it can get, it could be a symptom or an effect with the former being the worst-case scenario. In this case, the best thing to do is immediately pay a visit to the vet.
Here are 5 bothersome reasons why your dragon is dehydrated:
- A non-veggie diet
- Too many high-fat worms (Wax worms, etc)
- Way too dry enclosures or habitats
- Kidney failure
5 Great Rehydrating Food Choices To Feed Your Dragon
In cases of severe dehydration, you might want to include high-water-content foods to bounce them back to wellness before they stabilize. Here are 5 great foods to try:
Finally, We’re Concluding
Bearded dragons do drink and need water to stay healthy. However, they only need an amount before they get over-hydrated. They’re not like cats or dogs that take several licks out of their water bowls a day to your comfort. So, have a little patience and do a lot more observing. In the case of dehydration, you and your beardie have your vet and this article to run to.