Do Lizards Need Water?

In most cases, lizards are known to live on land because most of them feed on insects. However, some of them prefer to live around ponds, lakes, and rivers. Just like any other living animal, lizards need water to survive. Even if they do not take it directly, they need to stay hydrated.

Most lizards don’t take water orally but this doesn’t mean that they can live without it. As long as a lizard is eating, it can go without drinking water for 14 days or more. This is because lizards can draw fluids from insects that they feed on. Those fluids are enough to keep them hydrated.

Lizards use their tongues to drink water when they are thirty and those that feed on more vegetables than insects will not stay for more than 3-4 days without taking water. Lizards that feed on insects tend to thrive and stay hydrated when compared to those that eat plants and vegetables.

Do Lizards Need Water? [Lizards and Water Facts]
Do Lizards Need Water? [Lizards and Water]

Why lizards need water

As much as lizards cannot live in water, those that stay around ponds and rivers will dive into the water and stay submerged when they are in danger. Since most of their predators will never wait for more than 2-5 minutes for them to come out, that is enough time for water lizards like the Anolis Aquaticus to stay underwater.

Can lizards live in water?

No, lizards cannot live in water because they use their nose to breathe. In fact, lizards cannot breathe underwater and most of them will start drowning after 10 minutes when completely covered and submerged.

It is a fact that some lizards like the Chinese crocodile, Caiman and the water dragon lizards live around ponds. They can get into the water while chasing their pray but they will spend a short time in there before they come out. This does not mean that they live in water because they only do in to swim for a short time.

The maximum time a lizard has ever been recorded to survive under water is 15 minutes. They are not intelligent they will not hold their breath for long. Naturally, lizards need a moist keen in dry land to survive but when they are fully covered in water, their moist skin will not be able to trap oxygen for survival.

On the other hand, pouring hot water will kill a lizard instantly. This is because a lizards skin is soft and has pores that play a role in keeping it cool. Hot water water will instantly destroy their skin and they will die if boiling water is spread on them.

Can lizards swim in water?

Lizards can survive when thrown on water because they can swim. All of them can walk and swim on water because their feet are spread and designed to help them stay floating in the water as they navigate through it.

Lizards cannot drown because they can breathe while swimming. As long as they are not submerged or covered completely in water, they will manage to swim and stay floating until they get on land. Lizards that live around ponds and rivers will also swim while chasing insects that float on water.

While swimming, they will stick their nose up so that they can keep breathing. However, if too much water gets into their lungs through the mouth and the nostrils, they will drown and die. As much as lizards can swim, they can only do so for a maximum of 1 hour.

If lizards overstay in water for more than 30 minutes, they will get tired and start drowning. This is because when water gets into their lungs and cause blockage. This will then chock them to death in a matter of minutes.

Do lizards get thirsty?

Lizards will get thirsty very fast if they lack insects to feed on. They will look for any water source and drink from it. Lizards need water to stay hydrated and they cannot survive without any source of fluid or water.

The desert lizard does not drink water through the mouth. It gets hydrated through the skin and as long as it is hydrated, it will not get thirty at all. However, the house lizard can get thirsty and it will prefer freshwater over salty water that has high chlorine concentrations.

How do lizards drink water? When lizards get thirsty, they will crawl to any water source and use their tongue to scoop water. They do this by sticking their tongues into the water and drawing it back to swallow the water particles on it.

How long can a lizard live without water?

How long a lizard can go without water depends on their size, what they feed on, and age. Young lizards that are small in size and feed insects can stay for 1 month without drinking water. The large old ones that feed on plants and insects can not go for more than 7 days without taking water.

Lizards can stay for  14-30 days without drinking water depending on what they feed on and their age. This means that the young active ones that can chase insects will stay for 30 days or more without taking water because the more they feed, the higher their system gets hydrated.

This explains why young energetic lizards can go for a long time without taking water when placed in their natural habitat. They will rain the insects as they digest them and this will keep them from getting thirsty all the time.

On the other hand, old lizards are lazy and cannot move fast. This means that they cannot stay for more than 1 week without drinking water because they do not hunt and eat like the young ones. Most of them will die after 3 days because the insects that they feed on are too fast for them. Their large body size with little food makes them thirsty very fast.

How long can lizards go without water and food?

However, when there is no food, both young and old lizards cannot stay for more than 3 days without water. They get desperate when there is no food and this is why lizards will even crawl your bed when they are thirsty if they any insects on it.

There are those that can still keep hydrated through the skin but still, they will not last a week without water if there is no food. Their skin is soft with pores that absorb water and this is why cockroach spray can kill lizards because it will absorb the chemicals just like it does with water. Here is a video showing how lizards drink water:


  1. Live Science: Lizard breathing underwater 
  2. The University of Chicago Press Journals: Lizards energy, water, and food requirements


  • Felix Odi

    Hi, I’m an experienced author and content creator with over 18 years of experience as a publisher. Growing up in rural areas of Bristol, FL, I developed an interest in pest control, fish farming, and poultry keeping. Farming is a main activity in the area, and pests are always part of our major setbacks. I had to learn how to get rid of them with simple DIYs.