Bearded Dragon Care

Bearded Dragon Not Drinking Water? (What To Do)

If you’re a new bearded dragon owner, having a bearded dragon not drinking water is concerning since we know animals need water to survive. However, bearded dragons come from dry, low-humidity environments, so they adapted to absorb water in unique ways.

Bearded dragons go without access to fresh water in the wild for long periods. They don’t naturally drink water out of bowls, although they do drink water droplets from where they collect and can absorb the liquid through their skin.

You may need to help your dragon drink if they become dehydrated.

This article will discuss why your dragon isn’t drinking and how to get them to drink. Your bearded dragon mustn’t be dehydrated because this can lead to many health issues. Here’s what you need to know. 

Why Are They Not Drinking

Bearded dragons might not realize that they can drink water from the bowls you put in their enclosure. These animals didn’t have much access to standing water in the wild, so they don’t always recognize it in captivity.

You can show your pet that there’s water in the bowl by lightly tapping it with your finger. Sometimes, seeing the ripples across the water makes your lizard notice it. This method doesn’t always work, however.

Bearded dragons also absorb a lot of water from their food. If they’ve recently eaten, they may not feel thirsty. Kale, collard greens, and small amounts of fruit are good options to help them get enough water.

Overall, your bearded dragon isn’t drinking because they don’t usually get their water intake through swallowing the liquid. They evolved to absorb water through their skin or drink small drops off of leaves. You can provide them with a bath if you’re concerned about dehydration.

How Long Can They Go Without Water

Bearded dragons come from very hot environments with low humidity levels. They’re very used to dry weather and won’t need to drink water very frequently. Many can survive a few days without drinking water at all.

However, you’ll still want to offer your lizard a bowl of clean water every day. That way, they have the option to drink or bathe if they need to. Baby dragons also need more access to water than adults since they primarily eat insects, not fruit.

Your lizard will become dehydrated very quickly without access to water. These are some of the common signs of dehydration in bearded lizards:

  • Slow shedding
  • Lethargy, no appetite, or constipation
  • Thick saliva that appears in double-strands
  • Wrinkled skin that doesn’t move back quickly after pinching it

How Do I Get My Dehydrated Bearded Dragon To Drink Water?

To get a dehydrated bearded dragon to drink water, there are three options which include:

  • Putting water on its snout to get it to lick it off
  • Tapping or spraying a stream of water into the water in its bowl
  • Soaking the bearded dragon in water as they can absorb water through the skin

You can try teaching your bearded dragon to drink from a bowl. Start by adding a small amount of pear or apple juice to their water bowl. The sweet smell should encourage them to come to check out the water.

You’ll want to make sure you use juices that don’t contain high amounts of sugar. You may also need to try different types of fruit juices until you find one your dragon likes. Take your finger and dab a little on their snout to get them to lick it off, which can sometimes trigger them to drink from the bowl.

You can also mist your dragon with water. Simply spray them with a water bottle on their head. The lizard will lick up any water droplets that run down its face. This process is how they drink in the wild, so your beardie will do it naturally. Also, spray their bowl with a harder stream to get them to see the water movement.

If they don’t drink, try bathing them regularly. The lizard will absorb the moisture through their skin and it won’t need to drink water to rehydrate. Plus, bathing is fun for them (most will swim around) and it helps the dragon with shedding. You should bathe them about three times weekly when they’re not shedding. Increase the number of baths you give when they shed to five.

Should I Force Them To Drink

You shouldn’t force your bearded dragon to drink unless they’re already severely dehydrated. Instead, offer them greens or fruits. Watermelon, mangos, strawberries, or cucumbers are great options for providing your pet with ample water. 

You can also spray the lizard with a misting bottle or provide them with a bath. Since these are desert creatures, they don’t need much water. If you keep trying to force them to drink, it could be harmful to them.

Can They Drink Tap Water

You can give your bearded dragon tap water- hard water is safe for reptiles to drink. Soft water contains sodium (salt), which isn’t a problem unless your pet is on a special diet.

Overall, bearded dragons don’t need access to special water. They can have tap or bath water without worry.

Final Thoughts

To summarize, it’s normal if you don’t see your bearded dragon drinking water all that often. Most won’t drink from water bowls, although you should always provide them with clean water daily. Make sure you review the symptoms of dehydration in bearded dragons and bathe your pet at least three times per week.


Chris is a reptile enthusiast, breeder, and blogger from the Milwaukee, WI area. After breeding hundreds of bearded dragons to supply local pet stores and owning many other types of reptiles, he is now focused on sharing knowledge to help owners properly care for their little reptiles friends.

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