Do Bearded Dragons Absorb Water Through Their Skin?
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Bearded dragons are a fantastic reptile pet to have. They are simple to care for and can be playful, and have different personalities. But, like most reptiles, keeping your bearded dragon can be tricky if you are not sure how they take in and store water.
If you own a bearded dragon or plan on purchasing one in the near future, you might have seen videos of owners misting or submerging their bearded dragon’s bodies in the water. However, this can cause some confusion. Do bearded dragons absorb water through their skin?
In short, no, bearded dragons do not absorb water through their skin. However, bearded dragons have three methods they rely on to consume water and stay hydrated.
Firstly, bearded dragons can absorb water through their vent located at the base of their tail. Secondly, bearded dragons can store droplets of water on their backs and will do a ritual of sorts to tilt their bodies up and their head down, so the water droplets slide down towards their mouth. Lastly, bearded dragons can stay hydrated by absorbing water through the food that they eat.
As you continue to read this article, we will be discussing each of the three ways your bearded dragon can use to stay hydrated.
How Do Bearded Dragons Stay Hydrated?
Bearded dragons are desert lizards that are only found in Australia’s dry, warm climate. Even if they are located naturally in a dry environment, water and hydration are crucial aspects of any animal’s diet and wellbeing.
Bearded dragons have devised a variety of creative techniques to remain hydrated despite their arid environment, and your pet bearded dragon is no exception. Misting, drinking from a bowl, eating their vegetables, and resting in a warm pool of water may all help bearded dragons stay hydrated.
Keeping Your Bearded Dragons Hydrated Through Soaking
It’s commonly known that your bearded dragon should be kept in a warm pool of water to be hydrated, but why? Bearded dragons have a vent near the base of their tail where they urinate and defecate; however, this vent may also be utilized to take in water if necessary, which is one of the reasons for the belief that bearded dragons can absorb water through their skin.
It would be best if you were bathing your bearded dragon at least once a week as part of their regular routine. This is especially true if you do not provide your bearded dragon with a fresh bowl of water every day. Soaking your bearded dragon is a critical way to keep your dragon hydrated. While soaking, your bearded dragon can drink water straight from their bath or soak it in through their vent. Soaking your bearded dragon also keeps their skin moisturized, which helps your bearded dragon shed easier.
Not only do baths help keep your bearded dragon hydrated, baths also clean them and keep them free of potentially dangerous microorganisms. So if you are worried that your bearded dragon is not getting enough water and is becoming dehydrated, give it an extra bath or two a week.
Frequent baths and soaks give your bearded dragon more opportunities to drink some extra water. However, if you happen to notice that your bearded dragon is not drinking water, it is more likely absorbing water through its vent. Not all bearded dragons like to drink water, which is why they have so many different ways of staying hydrated.
If you are bathing your bearded dragon and see that they have urinated or defecated in the water, remove them from the water immediately. The same goes for their water bowl in their cage.
Keeping Your Bearded Dragon Hydrated Through Misting
Bearded dragons in the wild will often take advantage of rainfall to stay hydrated. In fact, wild bearded dragons will use the same techniques to stay hydrated as your pet beardie when you mist them.
One method your bearded dragon might use to stay hydrated is to catch or lap up any water that runs down their face. In the wild, bearded dragons will tilt their head down so that water droplets will roll down their head towards their mouth.
Another method your bearded dragon will use to stay hydrated from misting is to take advantage of the rough ridges along its back. Mist droplets will gather in these ridges and bumps to form pools of water along its back. If your bearded dragon gets thirsty, it will tilt its body up to allow these small pools of water to slide down towards its head.
This method is more commonly seen in wild bearded dragons due to its usefulness as a survival technique. This is rarer in pet beardies because they have so many different ways to stay hydrated.
The process of misting and bathing your bearded dragon is what led to the misconception of bearded dragons absorbing water through their skin.
Keeping Your Bearded Dragon Hydrated Through Food Consumption
The most common way to keep your bearded dragon hydrated is through their food. Therefore, maintaining a balanced diet for your bearded dragon is vital so they can get enough protein, vitamins, and needed hydration.
The primary source of nutrients that your bearded dragon will consume comes from vegetables. Furthermore, your bearded dragon’s daily diet should consist of 75% to 80% veggies and the rest as insects. This should give your bearded dragon enough water to keep it hydrated.
However, if you feel like your bearded dragon is not getting enough water from its veggies, you can mist the veggies before feeding your bearded dragon. Doing so will add additional moisture to your bearded dragon’s meal.
You can also feed your bearded dragon fruits as treats. Fruits have a lot of essential vitamins that your bearded dragon needs to stay healthy. Fruits also contain high amounts of water to keep your bearded dragon hydrated. However, you should only feed your bearded dragon fruits as a treat, and they should not be a part of your bearded dragon’s daily diet.
Fruits can be fed in small portions once or twice a week. However, feeding your bearded dragon too many fruits can have unhealthy side effects. Fruits contain high amounts of natural sugars that can be unhealthy for your bearded dragon if they ingest too much. Feeding your bearded dragon too many fruits can lead to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.
Too Much Water Can Be Bad For Your Bearded Dragon
Bearded dragons are endemic to the desert regions of Australia and have adapted to survive on small amounts of water. However, because pet bearded dragons have many different ways to consume water, you must be careful not to over-hydrate them.
Overhydration in bearded dragons can lead to dehydration, and dehydration can be deadly for your bearded dragon. However, because bearded dragons are desert lizards, they do not need vast amounts of water to stay healthy.
If your bearded dragon consumes too much water, it will become overhydrated. When a bearded dragon is overhydrated, the easiest way for its body to expel excess water is through diarrhea. However, diarrhea can quickly lead to dehydration, which can be deadly if not closely monitored.
How To Tell If My Bearded Dragon Is Dehydrated?
Dehydration in bearded dragons can be deadly if not taken care of quickly. You can look out for a few signs if you think your bearded dragon is not getting enough water to stay hydrated.
Skin elasticity is an indicator of dehydration. Naturally, bearded dragons have tight skin, and it is not as elastic as ours. A fantastic way to test skin elasticity is to do a pinch test. To do a pinch test, gently pinch a small section of soft skin. Take a look at how long it takes for the skin to set back into place. If the pinched skin is slow to bounce back, then there is a good chance your bearded dragon is dehydrated.
Another good way to tell if your bearded dragon is dehydrated is to look at the saliva in its mouth. The best way to do this is to pinch the sides of your bearded dragon’s mouth gently. Doing so will gently open their mouth so you can get a good look inside. If your bearded dragon’s saliva is thick and stringy, then they are most likely dehydrated.
As dehydration advances, the skin on its back will wrinkle, making it more noticeable. Of course, there are other explanations for wrinkles, such as not having enough area for development, but it’s simple to detect the difference.
If your bearded dragon is dehydrated, they will be less likely to pass waste. So, if you notice your bearded dragon is not using the bathroom as much, they might be dehydrated.
As the dehydration level continues to rise, symptoms such as sunken eyes, muscular weakness, and even gout may appear. Reduced body weight and decreased activity are examples of behavioral symptoms. The situation is quite serious by the time these symptoms appear, and quick action is required, including taking your bearded dragon to the vet.
It is a common misconception that bearded dragons can absorb water through their skin. While some other reptiles and amphibians absorb water through their skin, it is not the case for bearded dragons. With that said, keeping your bearded dragon hydrated is vital to their health, and it can be done in multiple ways. For example, bathing your bearded dragon once a week, misting them with warm water, and feeding them plenty of veggies. Doing these three tasks will keep your bearded dragon happy, healthy, and hydrated.