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Water Dragon (Physignathus cocincinus)
A.K.A. Chinese Water Dragon
Water Dragons are medium-to-large-sized, bright green lizards with head crests and small spikes along their back. The males are larger, with larger crests and spikes. Males are also more triangular in shape while females are more pear-shaped. They can grow up to 2-3 feet from the tip of their snout to the end of their tail. These lizards can live 10-20 years if taken care of properly.
Habitat and Tank Requirements:
This species is native to China and Southeast Asia.
These lizards do well with a substrate of sand or sand/gravel mix. They will sometimes burrow, so be sure the substrate is deep enough to accommodate this behavior. Add plenty of plants, wood, and rocks to the tank for them to climb and hide in.
A single Water Dragon will do well in a 30 gallon tank. A screen cover is recommended for your tank, as it allows better airflow and heating.
A comfortable temperature for these lizards is around 83-88º F during the day and nighttime temperatures around 75-80º F. LEDs or other low-wattage light bulbs work best for maintaining these temperatures. A heat pad is also recommended for basking.
Your tank should have a good-sized bowl of water that is cleaned daily. This is for your lizard to drink from as well as wade in. These lizards enjoy swimming and soaking. Some lizards won’t drink from a bowl. In this case some sort of dropper is recommended. Misting the tank with a spray bottle every 2 or 3 days is also recommended. The humidity of their habitat should be around 80% but no higher than 85-90%, as this can cause respiratory problems.
Water Dragons are omnivorous, but eat more insects than plants. They will feed on small crickets, fruit flies, mealworms, wax worms, and any other insect small enough for them to ingest. Dark leafy greens, such as kale and collards, are also a good supplement for your Water Dragon’s diet. It is recommended that food be dusted with calcium to prevent bone softening.
Allow your lizard time to become accustomed to its new home before handling them extensively. Handling them little by little over a period of time lets the animal get used to you and reduces stress.