How Do You Know If a Lizard Is Dehydrated? [What To Do]


Ah, hydration! It’s as vital to us humans as it is to our lovely pet lizards. And just like us, lizards can get dehydrated too. So, how do you know if a lizard is dehydrated? That’s the million-dollar question we’re going to dive into today.

From the rugged Bearded Dragons, known for their spiky ‘beards,’ to the swift-footed Geckos, with their charming ‘smiles’, every lizard has its unique charm.

They also have unique hydration needs. And it’s our responsibility as pet parents to ensure those needs are met.

But before we get into the nitty-gritty, here’s a fun fact to kick things off: Did you know some desert-dwelling lizards, like the Thorny Devil from Australia, can absorb water through their skin?

They have special channels in their skin that draw water to their mouths. Talk about a built-in hydration system!

As we delve deeper into this topic, you’ll learn more about the importance of hydration, the signs of dehydration in lizards, and how to prevent and treat it.

This information will help you keep your lizard pal happy and healthy and deepen the bond you share with your pet. After all, understanding is the first step toward empathy.

And what better way to show empathy than caring for our pets’ health?

Oh, and while we’re on the topic of bonding with your pet lizard, check out this interesting article on “do bearded dragons get attached to their owners?” It’s a fantastic read that delves into the emotional world of these spiky creatures.

What is Dehydration in Lizards?

Dehydration in lizards, huh? Just like in humans, it’s a condition that occurs when our lizard pals lose more fluids than they take in, upsetting the delicate balance of minerals in their bodies.

This can lead to serious health problems if not addressed promptly.

Now, you might be thinking, “Wait a minute, my lizard’s not chugging a water bottle or sipping from a straw! How do you rehydrate a lizard?” Excellent question, and we’re getting to that soon!

But before we do, it’s essential to understand the basics.

Lizards, particularly desert species like Bearded Dragons, are adapted to conserve water exceptionally well. But even these hardy critters can get dehydrated if they don’t get enough fluid from their diet or environment.

Here’s a little nugget of knowledge to impress your friends: Some lizards, like the Green Basilisk, are so good at conserving water that they can run across water surfaces without sinking!

They’re even called ‘Jesus Lizards’ because of this neat party trick. But remember, not every lizard is a Basilisk, and they can’t all walk (or run) on water, so it’s up to us to ensure they stay hydrated!

Warning Signs of Dehydration in Lizards

So, you’ve got your lizard (maybe it’s a Bearded Dragon, or a Gecko, or an Anole – they’re all awesome in my book), and you’re wondering, what are signs of dehydration in a bearded dragon or any lizard for that matter? Well, my friend, you’ve come to the right place!

Sunken Eyes

One of the first things you might notice is sunken eyes. A healthy, hydrated lizard should have bright, plump eyes. If your lizard’s eyes look sunken or dull, it might be time to up their water intake.

Wrinkled or Loose Skin

Another tell-tale sign is wrinkled or loose skin. A quick and easy pinch test can help determine if your lizard is dehydrated.

Gently pinch their skin; if it stays “tented” or takes a while to snap back, they might be dehydrated. Just remember to be gentle – their skin isn’t as tough as ours!

Loss of Appetite

Is your lizard turning up its nose at its favorite cricket treat? A loss of appetite can be a sign of dehydration. Keep an eye on their food intake, especially if you notice any other signs of dehydration.


We all know lizards love to lounge around, basking in the warm glow of a heat lamp. But if your normally active lizard is showing signs of lethargy, it may be cause for concern. Dehydrated lizards may appear sluggish or less responsive than usual.

Changes in Droppings

Lastly, changes in their droppings can signal dehydration. If their droppings are smaller, harder, or less frequent, it might be time to consult a vet.

Causes of Dehydration in Lizards

Now that we know the signs, it’s time to talk about what causes dehydration in lizards.

One of the main culprits is a lack of water availability. This might seem obvious, but it’s important to remember. Unlike our cats and dogs, lizards aren’t usually going to lap up water from a bowl.

They need water droplets, either from a mister, a drip system, or their food.

This brings us to another cause: an improper diet. Some lizards get a lot of their hydration from the juicy bugs and fruits they eat. They can become dehydrated if they’re not getting enough of these, or if their food isn’t properly hydrated.

Heat and low humidity can also lead to dehydration. Remember, many lizards are used to hot, dry environments. But even they have limits!

If their environment is too hot or not humid enough, they can lose water faster than they can replace it.

Lastly, illness can lead to dehydration. If your lizard is sick, it might not eat or drink enough, leading to dehydration. This is why it’s always important to keep an eye on their behavior and consult a vet if you’re worried.

How to Prevent Dehydration in Lizards

Prevention is better than cure, as they say. And that adage couldn’t be truer when it comes to keeping our reptilian pals hydrated.

One of the simplest ways to prevent dehydration is by providing a suitable environment. This includes maintaining the right temperature and humidity levels in your lizard’s habitat.

For most lizards, a relative humidity of about 30-40% is ideal, but it’s always best to research your specific species’ needs.

Food is another essential aspect. Ensure your lizard’s diet includes plenty of hydrating foods, like juicy insects or fruits, depending on their dietary needs.

Water misters or drip systems are a great way to provide drinking water. Remember, our lizard buddies prefer to lap up water droplets from their environment rather than drink from a dish.

Regular health check-ups are also crucial. If your lizard is ill, it might not be hydrating properly, so frequent vet visits can help catch any potential problems early.

Treating a Dehydrated Lizard: When to See a Vet

Okay, so we’ve talked about the signs and causes of dehydration and how to prevent it. But what if your lizard buddy does get dehydrated? How do you rehydrate a lizard? Let’s dive in.

First things first, if you suspect your lizard is dehydrated, try offering them water. You can do this by misting their enclosure or even gently misting them directly. For lizards that eat fruits or vegetables, try offering them a juicy treat.

Increasing the humidity in their environment can also help. Remember, every species has its own humidity needs, so research your pet’s requirements.

However, if your lizard is severely dehydrated or showing signs of illness, it’s time to see a vet.

Dehydration can be a symptom of other health issues, so getting a professional opinion is crucial. Plus, severe dehydration may require fluid therapy under a vet’s care.


So, there you have it! We’ve taken a deep dive into the world of lizard hydration, from understanding what dehydration is, how to spot it, and most importantly, how to prevent it.

Whether you’re a seasoned lizard lover or a newbie just starting your journey, I hope this guide has been helpful. Remember, every lizard is unique, with its own needs and behaviors.

But one thing all lizards have in common is the need for proper hydration.

Staying vigilant about hydration can help ensure your scaly friend stays healthy and happy. And who knows, with your new-found knowledge, you might just become the go-to hydration guru in your lizard-loving circles!

Before we say our goodbyes, here’s a final fun fact for the road: Some lizards can go months, even a year, without drinking any water, getting all their hydration from their food.

But don’t try this at home with your pet lizard! They rely on us to ensure they stay properly hydrated.

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