Bearded dragons are unpredictable creatures with any number of quirky behaviors which makes owning a bearded dragon extremely fun and rewarding. If you have owned or cared for bearded dragons at any point in time then you know how notorious they are for sleeping anywhere they feel comfortable, including their water bowl.
Although, it is always sweet to see your beloved bearded dragon snoozing happily, where they decide to take their naps or sleep at night can be quite concerning from time to time. Catching your bearded dragon sleeping in their water dish can be very alarming and may have you wondering if it is okay for your bearded dragon to take his or her naps there.
As a general rule of thumb, no, you should not allow your bearded dragon to sleep in his or her water bowl or dish, especially over the course of the night. While it may seem harmless or like your bearded dragon has a handle on how he or she is sleeping, it can turn ugly with one slip and it is best to remove their water dish from their enclosure at night.
Allowing your bearded dragon spend their time sleeping in his or her water dish, depending on the depth, could turn into something quite tragic. Possible drowning, water aspiration, decrease in body temperature, and general filth causing illness are all issues to be aware of when it comes to your bearded dragon sleeping in his or her water.
It is highly recommended to remove their water dish at night to avoid any possible accidents and to ensure their safety and well-being. We will be discussing the possible dangers of allowing your bearded dragon to sleep in his or her water and what you could do instead for your beloved bearded dragon.
Now, let’s dive head first into why you should not let your bearded dragon sleep in his or her water.
Reason 1: Danger Of Drowning/Water Aspiration
If you have provided your bearded dragon with a water dish that is large enough for them to fit their entire body in and you keep it filled with several inches of water, then you are taking a risk of your bearded dragon accidentally drowning or aspirating on water. Aspiration occurs when any oxygen breathing animal pulls any small amount of fluid into their lungs, which can cause a string of respiratory illnesses, including pneumonia, and can be deadly.
Drowning occurs when any oxygen breathing animal pulls a large amount of fluid into their lungs and the lungs become overwhelmed with fluid causing suffocation. You may notice your bearded dragon will lay with their heads in the air or in a more vertical propped up position while they are laying in their water dish, while this seems like an appropriate position to deter drowning or aspiration, all it would take is a small slip and an inappropriately timed gulp for air while in the water to cause drowning or aspiration.
If you plan on providing your bearded dragon with a water dish that can remain in their tank at all times, it would be wise to choose an extremely shallow dish that is no bigger than the size of their head so they are unable to fit their body inside it.
Reason 2: Decrease In Body Temperature
Bearded dragons can and will fall asleep just about anywhere as long as they feel safe and comfortable. This can cause some issues when they fall asleep inside their water dish.
Even if you have provided a “swimming” type bowl with very little water to reduce the risk of drowning or aspirating; a decrease in body temperature can occur because their entire body is still able to fit inside the dish. Without a proper heat source and lamp above them, the water can actually cause your bearded dragon’s body temperature to lower without them really noticing, which is extremely dangerous for your bearded dragon.
Bearded dragons require a warm climate to be able to properly thrive, and although the enclosure may be warm, their water might not be. Cool or cold water can cause a series of issues for your bearded dragon if they are submerged in it for too long, including a decrease in body temperature and even respiratory issues or illnesses.
It is best, if you are providing your bearded dragon with a swimming dish for a short amount of time, to use warm water and place the bowl under their heat lamp to keep the water and your bearded dragon warm for as long as possible. Once the water begins to cool, immediately remove the water dish and dry your bearded dragon off gently, then place him or her back in their basking spot to finish warming up.
Reason 3: Possible Illness
It is extremely important to maintain a clean and feces free tank for your bearded dragon, to not only keep the smell down but to also maintain the health and well-being of your bearded dragon. A dirty tank and filthy living conditions can cause a number of respiratory issues for your bearded dragon.
Respiratory tract infections are caused by parasites, fungi, bacteria, and/or viruses. If your bearded dragon is sneezing, having trouble breathing, discharge coming from their eyes or nose, or keeping their mouth open, it would be a good idea to contact your local herp vet for further diagnosis and treatment.
Bearded dragons are also known to eat whatever is in front of them, including their own feces, which can cause severe illness for your bearded dragon just as quickly as a respiratory illness could come along. Fecal matter also carries its fair share of other bacteria that can cause intestinal infections and fungi on the skin.
Any one of these illnesses or diseases could prove fatal to your bearded dragon. It is your responsibility as their owner to provide your bearded dragon with a safe, clean, and healthy environment so they are able to properly thrive and live a long and healthy life.
Remember to always remove any fecal matter or soiled water from your bearded dragon’s tank immediately or as soon as you see it. It is extremely important for their health and will keep any odors down to a minimum.
If you have your heart set on providing a constant water source for your bearded dragon because he or she will actually drink from a dish, then it would be recommended to provide a very shallow and small dish, no deeper than an inch or larger than your bearded dragon’s head. This may not seem like enough water but bearded dragons obtain their hydration from many sources, including their food and being misted with a spray bottle.
Providing this small amount of water will prove more than efficient for your bearded dragon and will reduce the risk of your bearded dragon slipping and drowning or aspirating. Large amounts of water can also raise the humidity levels inside your bearded dragon’s tank which can in turn cause respiratory illnesses for your bearded dragon and fungi to grow within the tank.
If you are unsure of what type of sleeping arrangement your bearded dragon would prefer, trial and error. Bearded dragons are fans of hammocks, log tunnels, little caves, and even burrowing in their substrate.
Just never allow their water dish to be an option when it comes to their sleeping habits. If you are ever concerned about the health and well-being of your bearded dragon or need tips on how to properly set up and care for their tank, contact your local herp vet for any updated advice and guidance.
When you are the owner of a bearded dragon or maybe multiple bearded dragons, it is your responsibility to ensure you are providing the most up to date and proper care to give them the opportunity to thrive and live a long and happy life. It is always best to provide water in a safe and shallow dish for your bearded dragon to reduce the risk of drowning or aspiration.
Providing a small and shallow dish also reduces the possibility of your bearded dragon resting their entire body inside or submerged in water which could cause a decrease in their body temperature and cause any number of issues for your beloved bearded dragon. If your bearded dragon enjoys a swim on a daily basis then take them out of their tank, provide a warm pool for them, after about 15 minutes, take them out and dry them gently and completely, and place them back in their basking spot to continue warming up.
This will also count as a bath and is important to help keep your bearded dragon’s skin hydrated which will aid in the shedding process and in their growth and overall health. Remember, it is never a good idea to let your bearded dragon sleep in their water dish, especially when there are so many alternatives that are much safer for your beloved bearded dragon.