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Can Lizards Drown? (Devasting Reaction?)

If you have heard that lizards can swim you may have wondered if there is a chance that they could drown, and which lizards can survive well in water…

Can lizards drown?

Lizards can drown. This is because they need to breathe in oxygen on land and if they are starved of it underwater they will eventually die. Some can swim or survive in water for long durations, but they all could be droned if they are trapped underwater for too long without oxygen.

So, now you know. But, can lizards actually swim? Can they all survive in water? How long can they stay underwater? Keep reading for these answers, and much more…

Can lizards swim?

Can lizards drown?

A banded monitor lizard (Varanus Salvator) on grass heading into some water.

Most lizards can swim, some are stronger swimmers than others such as the scuba-diving lizard, from Costa Rica. For example, this lizard can swim and stay underwater for up to 16 minutes. However, other lizards may not come close to that but still have the capability to swim.

So, if you have ever wondered if liards will survive in water then you have an idea of what to expect. Either way, there is no need to try and put a lizard in water in a domestic setting because that is not ideal for most captive lizards.

Can a lizard survive in water?

Most lizards can survive in water. Even if they are not strong swimmers, like the scuba-diving lizard of Costa Rica, they stand a good chance of survival in water. However, they may not last long in the water if they are not natural swimmers.

Also, without access to oxygen, meaning if they can’t breathe by bobbing their head above water they will drown in the water eventually.

How long can a lizard stay underwater?

Some lizards can stay very long underwater, such as the scuba-diving lizard. This lizard can stay underwater for up to 16 minutes. This is not the standard, or even most lizards, it is regarded as an exception. Other lizards would struggle to stay underwater for a fraction of that time.

What is the Scuba-diving’ lizard?

The Scuba-diving lizard, also known as the Water Anole (Anolis Aquaticus), is a Costa-Rican lizard that lives near the mountains, with streams of water near it. It has evolved to swim very well and hold its breath underwater for long durations, up to 16 minutes.

One of the tricks it uses, to stay underwater so long, is using a large air bubble, that it creates, then uses it as an air source while in the water.

How do you revive a drowned lizard?

There is a theory to revive a drowned lizard that includes placing the lizard on its back and forcing the water out and using mouth to mouth to resuscitate it. However, I am unsure if this is proven or the success rate, considering the range of sizes and weights of lizard species.

Where do lizards die?

Lizards can die in several places. However, domestically, it’s likely to be in your home from a health issue, lack of food, or negligence. In the wild, it could vary from being attacked by predators and left for dead, starvation, from lack of hunting success.

When starting with your pet, remember this rule of thumb: don’t let the water go above the lizard’s shoulders, as the little guy should always be able to choose between walking or swimming.

Do any house lizards swim?

Many lizards livein the water, but these tend to range towards larger, wilder lizards(in other words, not your average house pet).

How long can the Basilisk hold its breath underwater?

The Basilisk can hold their breath for up to 30 minutes, allowing them to find food underwater, or escape from predators if needed. Some other exceptional lizards, such as the Marine Iguana can hold their breath for up to 10 minutes.

Most lizards, especially those we keep as pets, have a much, much smaller span of time. Always remember, with your pet lizard, it cannot breathe underwater! As mentioned, avoid having a lizard’s habitat set up in a way that the lizard is forced to swim underwater.

Why does the sandfish Lizard swim in the sand?

The sandfish lizard swims in the sand to hide from the heat in daylight, or if a predator attacks them. It is certainly one of the most unique types of lizards that you could ever come across. Their small curl into an S-shape and, with a wriggling motion, actually swim through the sand!

This environmental advantage allows them to escape both the hot heat of the desert and stalking predators by burrowing down into the sand.

Can lizards breathe underwater?

Lizards cannot breathe underwater. Some can swim in the water, and some can spend a long time underwater, like the Marine Iguana, or scuba-diving lizard, but neither can actually breathe underwater. In time they will need oxygen from the surface to survive.

One great example of the confusion that many people find on this topic is the Marine Iguana, mentioned above. This animal is fully aquatic and even feeds underwater. This is because of its ability to hold its breath for up to 10 minutes and dive for sometimes over thirty meters. Yet, this animal is still forced to return to land for air.

How well can bearded dragons swim?

Green Bearded Dragon

A green bearded dragon on a rock.

When in the wild, Bearded Dragons are actually excellent swimmers. They can swim in deep water effortlessly. However, they do need access to the surface to recoup their energy and rest after swimming.

As pets, some of them do not enjoy swimming so it is very important not to force it. Get to know your pet as well as you can, taking cues from him or her. There are many ways to learn what your Bearded Dragon needs for a happy life and a safe environment.

Can a chameleon swim?

A chameleon can swim. Chameleons are a common pet, one that is known for their swimming abilities. Their trick is to inflate themselves with air, to float on the surface, and then they move by doing what looks similar to a doggy paddle.

Chameleons are also unique creatures in that they come from a very wide variety of habitats. This includes anywhere from deserts to rain forests, and they are typically found inhabiting trees or bushes. While these animals typically live their life at a little bit of a higher altitude (they are climbers!), they have the ability to swim for natural reasons, such as seeking out food or finding a mate.

What kinds of lizards live in water and land?

Most lizards that can swim will need land. Such as the Marine Iguana, Scuba-diving lizard, or Basilisk. This is because they need oxygen, heat from the sun, and sleep on the land. They may use the water a lot, but they will need access to land.

Lizards (Click here to see if Geckos can Swim) truly come in all shapes and sizes, but the one thing that most of them have in common is their high body temperatures. In most lizards, the high body temperatures urge them to seek life on land; however, the majority of lizards tend to stay near some source of water, as they are dependent on it for both breeding and feeding.

Are Salamander lizards born in water?

Yes, salamanders are always born in the water; however, many don’t remain in it. This depends on the species or a variation of the specific salamander lizard in question. Salamanders vary from terrestrial to aquatic, to semi-aquatic. Aquatic salamanders, of course, live out their whole lives in the water.

Terrestrial salamanders have a less direct definition, as they spend their lives on land, but do return to the water for mating and reproduction only. Semi-aquatic salamanders similarly return to water to reproduce, after spending part of their adolescent lives on land.

Water is almost always an important necessity for any type of lizard. For salamanders, water is crucial to their breeding and reproduction process. Even terrestrial salamanders choose their terrestrial homes based on how near it is to a body of water, and by the moistness that is necessary for keeping their skin hydrated.

Can baby lizards swim?

Most baby lizards can swim, but some will swim stronger than others. In fact, some lizards are born in water, such as salamanders, who have the ability to swim since birth.


Hi, this is me with my daughter and my Lizard friend. I hope you enjoy my research. Please feel free to check out my "About Me" page to find out more about me.