Bathing a Reptile

Did you know that reptiles need to be bathed? This is important for a few reasons. For one thing, it helps your pet stay hydrated. Unlike mammals, reptiles are able to absorb water through their skin. Baths are also important for hygiene. A Michigan City, IN vet offers some tips on bathing your pet dinosaur below.

Water Depth

Although some reptiles are good swimmers, they can tire easily, and can drown in just a few inches of water. Make sure the water isn’t any deeper than your pet’s chest. You may also want to put a towel or another safe object in the water, so your pet has an ‘island’ he can climb onto if needed.

Soap (Or Lack Thereof)

Never use soap or any other cleanser on reptiles. This is very important, since, as mentioned above, they take in liquid through their skin. You could accidentally poison your pet!


Reptiles are very sensitive to temperatures, since they can only control their body heat by moving from warm to cold areas. Always use lukewarm, not hot, water. If the water starts to cool before your pet is finished, carefully add hot water from a cup.

Change The Water

Reptiles sometimes relieve themselves during their soaks. This is both a blessing and a curse. It may make bath time messier, but it does help your pet’s tank stay cleaner. If this happens, change the water immediately.


Most reptiles–including certain snakes–need to have a pool of water in their tank, so they can soak (or swim) when they want to. It’s very important to keep this water clean! As far as the required depth, that will depend on what type of reptile you have. Some reptiles and amphibians need to be able to submerge themselves while swimming. Turtles are an example of this. These guys need fairly deep pools, with filters and heaters. Others, such as lizards, only need a shallow pool to soak in. Ask your vet for specific advice on this.


With some reptiles, such as bearded dragons, you can gently remove dirt with a soft cloth or toothbrush. This is a must with many turtles, as they sometimes get algae growth. However, this isn’t necessarily safe for all pets. Check with your vet on this one as well.

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