How to Care for Your New Australian Water Dragon

Aqualand Info on Physignathus leseurrii

 
Amphibians
Axolotls
Caecilian Worm
Chaco Toad
Mud Puppies

Newts General
Newts Eastern
Newts Golden

Newts Mandarin
Salamanders
Suriname Toad
Tadpoles
Terrarium I
Terrarium II
USA Toads
Water Dogs
Misc. Toads

Frogs
Bull
Clawed
Dumpy
Dwarf
Fire-Belly
Floating
Green Tree
Leopard
Pac Man
Pipa pipa
Pyxie
Red-Eyed Tree
Tomato
Misc Frogs 
Misc Frogs II
Misc Frogs III
Misc Frogs IV

Misc Frogs V

Animals
Bunnies
Bunnies II 

Cat-N-Around Cat Club
Cat-N-Around Cat Club 2007 Annual Show
Hawkeye Cat Club 2004
Hawkeye Cat Club 2005
Chinchillas
Degus
Ferrets
Ferrets by BOB
Gerbils
Ground Squirrels
Guinea Pig
Hamsters I
Hamsters II
Hamsters III
Hamsters IV
Hamsters V
Hedgehogs
Kittens
Kids & Kittens
Mice
Mice Pets II
Parasites
Rats I
Rats II
Rats III
Rats, Hairless
S-T Opossums
Siberian Chipmunks
Sugar Gliders
Sugar Gliders II
Water Bottles

Bugs
Crabby 500
Crab 04 Results
Centipedes
Cray/Lobsters
Crayfish II
Crayfish III
Cray, Yucatan
Fiddler Crabs
Shrimp, Algae
Shrimp, Aqua
Shrimp, Red
Shrimp, Flower

Shrimp, Ghost
Shrimp, Rudolph
Hermit Crabs
Hermit Crabs II
Madagas Roach
Mantids
Mini-Clams
Mini-Crabs
Patriot Crabs
Giant Millipedes
Red Claw Crabs
Reiman Butterfly
Snail, Apple
Snail, Colombian
Snail, Land
Snail, Malaysian

Snail, Mystery
Snail, Trapdoor 
Scorpions
Tarantulas
Tarantulas II
Tarantula Night 2006
TarantulaWeen VII
TarantulaWeen 9
Misc. Bugs
Misc Bugs II  

Birds
Breeding Tips

Button Quail
Canaries

Cockatiels
Dove, Diamond
Dove, Ringneck
Finches
Love Birds
Parakeets
Pelleted Foods
Quaker Parrots

Parrot Pictures
Parrot Pix II

Parrot Pix III
Dave's Parrots


Lizards
Alligators
Anoles
Bearded Dragon

Beardies II
Calotes
Chamel, Jackson
Chamel, Panther
Chamel, Veiled
Crested Geckos
Gecko, Golden

Gecko, House
Gecko, Leopard
Gecko, Tokay
Horned "Toads"
Iguana New
Iguana Dragons
Iguana Q&A I
Iguana Q&A II
Iguana Training
Iguana Update
Cool Iguana Pics
Knight Anoles
Monitors, Nile

Monitors, Savana
Monitors, Water

Salmonella
Skinks
Skinks Blue-Tongue
Tegus
Uromastyx maliensis
Water Dragon
Misc Lizards
Misc Lizards 2
Misc Lizards 3
Misc Lizards 4
Misc Lizards 5

Misc Lizards 6
Misc Lizards 7
Misc Lizards 8
Misc Lizards 9
Misc Lizards 10


Snakes
Anacondas
Boa, Rosy

Boa, Red-Tail
Corn Snake
Garter Snake
Green Snake
Kids/Corn Snakes
Kids/Red-Tail Boas

Kids at Pet Expo 1

Kids at Pet Expo 2

Kids at Pet Expo 3

Kids at Pet Expo 4

Kids at Pet Expo 5
King & Milk
Python, Ball
Python, Burmese

Snakes Alive
Snakesgiving
Snakesgiving II

Misc Snake Pix
Misc Snakes II

Misc Snakes III  

Turtles/Tortoises
Box, Asian
Box, USA
Races
Snapping

Spiny

Sulcata
Water

Western Painted

Live Foods
Blackworms
Blood Worms
Br Shrimp I
Br
Shrimp II
Crayfish 1
Crayfish 2
Crayfish 3 
Crickets
Dandelions
Daphnia
Earthworms
Feeder Goldfish
Fruit Flies
Ghost Shrimp

Glass Worms

Grindal Worms
Infusoria
Mealworms
Microworms
Rosy Reds

Super Worms

Wax Worms
White Clouds

 

Decorating
Bubbles
Driftwood
Gravel
Plastic Plants
Rocks
Slow Growing Plants

Miscellaneous
Bob's Acclimation

How to Start
How to Add New Fish
How to Keep Healthy
Which Fish Get Along?
10 Questions to Ask
What is Ich?
Under Gravel Filters

Sponge Filters
Cloudy Water

Cool Water Tanks
Gravel Vacuums
Preventing Disease
Feeding to the Max
Frozen Foods
Green Water
Nasty Chemicals
Overfeeding
Power Filters
Rift Lake Salts
Quarantine Tank
Mini-Tank
2nd Av Bait

Pet World Visit
Dandelions

Aquatic Plants
Amazon Swords
More Swords
Sword Plants III

Anubias
Aponogetons
A. boivinianus
A. fenestralis
A. ulvaceous
Aquarium/Bog
Banana Plant
Bolbitis
Bunch
Bunch Plants II
Cryptocorynes
Crystalwort
Dwarf Lily
Grassy
Grassy II
Hornwort
Hygrophila
Lace
Java Lance Fern
Java Moss
Moss Balls
Onion
Vermiculite

Watersprite

Different Watersprite

 
Local Clubs
Cat-N-Around Cat Club
Hawkeye State Cat Club 2004
Hawkeye State Cat Club 2005
CIWGA -- Central Iowa Water Garden Association
Iowa Herp Society
MACBS -- Mid America Caged Bird Society
Iowa Aquaria Association
IAA 02.05.05
EIAA -- Eastern Iowa Aquarium Association
Northern Iowa Association of Pond and Water Gardeners

 

 Australian Water Dragon Factoids

Origin

Would you believe Australia?  The eastern side.

Temperature

80o most of the time. 70o works also.
Size Males nearly three feet.  Females two.
Maximum Age  15-20 years

Substrate

Not picky but likes to dig
Behavior Good climbers and swimmers
Water Provide a large water bowl

Security

Likes a cave or hide box

Foods

Crickets, flies, wax worms, soft fruits when small

Breeding

We've had no large ones to try

Threats

Poor diet, no UVB, prolonged cool temps

LA
Nearly two-foot long male -- still growing.

Prologue:  Nowhere full grown, we grew this laddy buck over about three years from a little dude about the size of an American anole.  Somewhat similar to its green cousin the Chinese (or Asian) water dragon, the Australian water dragon weighs in at about six to ten times the cost.  These guys make very mellow scaly buddies.

LA
Of course Australian water dragons can climb.

Origin:  Aussies find these guys lounging about their billabongs, tanks, and streams.  River strollers walking along their banks can hear these guys plopping into the water like bullfrogs do here.  Australian water dragons are quite common in their home environs.  However, since nobody but smugglers can "export" them from Australia, all the Australian water dragons you see are captive bred.  You get a better product, but they do cost more than wild caught specimens.

LA
Just out of his shipping deli cup.  Crickets behind him much too large for his size.

LA
Not really scared of people from day one.

Multi-Talented:  Australian water dragons can climb like a squirrel, swim like a water snake, and eat like a pot-bellied pig.  They can also burrow like a turtle during cold snaps.  They do quite well outdoors in our southern states.  Not so much during Iowa's below zero deep freezes. 

LA
Like most lizards Australian water dragons get along fine together when they're small.

LA
Right size crickets for one of the little dudes.  They really love house flies at this size.

LA
Snoopy little guys.  Excellent claws for climbing and digging.

LA
All the necessities of Australian water dragon life -- needs a larger water bowl.

LA
Yum.  Baby Australian water dragon enjoying a tasty wax worm.

Little Guy Foods:  Australian water dragon babies eat anything one of our American anoles would eat -- small crickets, house flies, Phoenix worms, wax worms, and fruit flies.  Theoretically they also eat soft fruits and vegetables.  This never happened while I was watching, but the crickets certainly enjoyed their last meals.

 

LA
Slowly growing and still unafraid of humans.

Substrate:  Australian water dragons, like most lizards, love to dig.  In the wild they dig hiding places.  They also dig to protect themselves against weather extremes (too hot as well as too cold).  The females dig burrows to hide and incubate their eggs.  We kept the little guys over paper towels.  As they grew, we put them over aspen.  They continually kick their substrate into their water bowl.  Aspen makes less mess than most substrates.  I also like aspen because it comes in huge bales, and it keeps the dark critters from disappearing into the woodwork.   All the lizard litters would work.  Most are messier in the water.

LA
Expectantly awaiting lunch.

LA
Excellent place for a fly to hide.


Foods de Jour:  Australian water dragons eat a wide variety of "delicacies."  Depending upon their size (and the size of their lunch critters) they will eat frogs (don't expect them to scarf bullfrogs, but don't trust them around green tree frogs), rodents (pinkies to start), small birds, cat food, cockroaches, fish, worms, nightcrawlers, and we almost forgot gut-loaded crickets, mealworms, superworms, Phoenix worms, houseflies, wax worms, and yabbies.  They reputedly (but not for me) also eat soft fruits like grapes, melons, and bananas.  Mine also ignore boiled eggs and chef's salads.

LA
Food finished, time to leave.

LA
Starting to get his male coloration.   Good claws.

LA
Claws on an adult.  Could be the same guy.

LA
He likes to climb and observe his surroundimgs.

Excellent Claws:  Australian water dragons use their claws to scrabble (the verb, not the game) over rocks and wood and even up trees.  They're not considered as much of a tree lizards as the green iguanas, but if you take your dragon to the park on a hot day he will likely revert to his arboreal roots.  They also have less of a tendency to slash your wrists than a thrashing iguana yearning to breed free.

LA
Probable male at top. 

LA
Room at the top for males and females.

LA
Wax worm temporarily escaping notice.

Temperature:  Australian water dragons, like all lizards, prefer warm temperatures.  However, they seem to do just fine (eat, run around, look wise, and defecate in their water) at room temperature.  They reputedly survive near freezing weather by burrowing into the ground.  They probably need a period of brumation to trigger their breeding juices.  

LA
Warily examining his surroundings.

LA
Male preferring to exit his cage.

LA
Female sampling the waters.

LA
Finger-fed superworms tempt them as they grow.

LA
Yank.

LA
Yum.

LA
They do like their superworms.

LA
We prepared an excellent veggie and fruit buffet plus yogurt for their dining pleasure.

LA
He did a perfect Pilates plank in it for about an hour, so we fed it to a blue-tongued skink.

LA
Oddly enough, they eat red and green leaf lettuce.

Food Again:  My Australian water dragons turn up their noses at fruits and vegetables.  The above mini-buffet contained frozen mixed vegetables (thawed, of course), blanched zucchini, strawberry yogurt, and sliced purple grapes.  He ignored the entire menu, so I put the dish in with our blue-tongue skink.  The skink ate the whole selection with relish -- except the zucchini, which I don't like either..

LA
Male.  All these photos are of the same two lizards over time.

Sexing:  Australian water dragon males grow a foot longer than the two foot long females.  However, rather than measure them, look at their chests.  Males have a red chest.  Little ones all look alike.

LA
Same male  -- 15 inches long.

LA
Same male.

LA
Female -- same exact age but only 13 inches long.

LA

LA

LA

LA
I can't see a hemi-penis on the most colorful guy.

LA
I can see the hemi-penis bulges on the less colorful guy.

LA
Nice crest on the less colorful guy also.

LA
Both of them on the look out.

More Sexing:  Australian water dragons probably need to reach a certain age before you can reliably sex them.  These two are about two years old.  Their sexes seem to be the exact opposite of the color sexing method.  So, what are you gonna do?

LA

Lighting:  Australian water dragons undoubtedly need full-spectrum bulbs to give them the vitamin D3 they need to assimilate calcium.  Since they eat many foods that contain bones, they may not need dusted crickets.  However, good lights and occasional powdered supplements on their crickets were part of their normal lizard regimen.

LA

LA
The two sexes get along fine.  They kick all their litter away -- usually into the water.

 

LA

LA
Bathing beauty shot.

LA
Room enough in this larger hot tub for two.

LA
Looking prettier as he grows.

LA
Nice nuchal crest -- looking more like a dragon.

LA
Looking very malish these days.

LA
Obvious dragon crest these days.

LA
Still looking even more malish.

LA
Still a probable female.

LA
Male.

LA
Female.

LA
Glamour shot.

LA
Too late for the Easter bunny.

April Egg:  We found this egg in their water dish.  It undoubtedly drowned but we took it out and saved it anyway.

LA
Maybe she can figure it out.

Breeding Box:  On average, Australian water dragon females produce 30 eggs per clutch.  So she should have more eggs in her.  We put some moistened coconut fiber in the bottom of this foot-long plastic container.  When we started moving stuff around to make room, she jumped into the breeding box.  Maybe she'll figure it out.

Last Words:  Australian water dragons make perfect (but pricey) lizards.  They're easy to care for, friendly, and darn good looking.  LA

© 2006, © 2007, © 2008  LA Productions

3600 Sixth Avenue

Corner of Sixth & Euclid Avenues

Des Moines, IA 50313

515 283-0300

Home

Fish

Other Stuff

 

Anabantids
Betta Leaf 
Betta Breed 1
Betta Breed II
Betta Info
Betta  Housing
Betta Pla Kat
Choc Gourami
Climbing Perch
Gourami Pix
Kiss. Gourami
Osphronemus
Pearl Gourami
More Pearls
Paradise Fish  
Snakehead
Spawn Gourami
T. trichopterus

Catfish  
Banjo
Bullheads
Bull Sharks
Channel  
Corydoras
Cory Pics
Electric
Glass
Hoplos
Otocinclus
Pangassius
Pictus
Plecostomus
Pleco Bristle
Pleco Costly I
Pleco Costly II
Pleco Costly III
Pleco Costly IV
Pleco Costly V
Pleco Costly VI

Raphael
Red-Tail
Shovelnose
Sun
Synodontis
Synodontis petricola
Turushuki Catfish
Upside-down
USD Gold Flake
Misc Catfish
Misc Catfish II
Misc Catfish III

Misc Catfish IV
Misc Catfish V

Cichlids
African I
African II
African III
African IV

Amer. Small
Amer.  Med 
Amer. Large
Angelfish I
Angelfish II
Angelfish III
Angelfish IV
More Angels
Buttikoferi

Chocolate
Chocolate Spawning
Cichlid Decor
Cichlid Food
Convicts
Convicts 2
Convicts 3
Convicts 4
Dempseys
More Dempseys
Jack Dempsey Spawn
Discus
Dither Fish
Flower Horn
Green Terror
Jaguar
More Jaguars
Jaguar Spawning

Jaguar Spawning II
Jewel Fish
Keo's Flowerhorns
Keo's Flowerhorns II
Kribensis

Oscars 1
Oscars 2
Oscars 3
Oscars 4
Oscars 5
More Oscar
More Oscar II
More Oscars III
More Oscars 2007
Oscar Spawn
Peacock Bass
Red Devils
More Red Devil
 
Red Parrots

Red Parrots Spawn
Red Parrot Spawn II
Pikes
Pink Tilapia
Rams
Red Bay Snooks
Roger Stephen's Cichlids
Severums
More Severums
Severums III

Tanganyikans
Texas Cichlid
Texas Spawning

Texas Spawn II
Uarus
Misc Cichlids I
Misc Cichlids II
Misc Cichlids III
Misc Cichlids IV
Misc Cichlids V
Misc Cichlids VI
Misc Cichlids VII
Misc Cichlids VIII

Livebearer  
Guppies
Half-Beak
Mollies
Moons/Platys
Swordtails

Minnows/Tetra 
Barbs
Barbs, Black
Barbs, Gold

Barbs, Rosy
Barbs, Tiger
Barbs, Tinfoil

Danios

Distochodus
Fathead Minnows
Headstanders
Killies, Econ.
Killies, Golden
Killies, Peat
Killies, Plant
Misc Mini-Fish
Pacús 

Piranha, Black
Piranha, Red
Rainbowfish

Rainbowfish, Dwarf Neon
Rainbowfish, Irian

Silver Dollar
Tetras, Larger
Tetras, Smaller
Tetras, Spawn
Tetra, Vampire
White Clouds

Pond Fish
Carp
Channel Cat
Gold. Comets
Gold. Fantails
More Fantails
Gold. Oriental  
Gold Oriental II 
Gold. Spawn
Kloubec Koi Farm
Koi
Koi II

Koi III
Oranda Spawn
Plecostomus
Shubunkins

Oddballs  
Af. Butterfly
Af. Lungfish
Af. Mudskippr
American Eel
Archer Fish

Arowana
Bichirs
Borneo Suckers
Brackish I
Brackish II
Brackish III
Brackish IV
Brackish V
Michael Troung's Pix
Butterfly/Wasp
Chameleon Fish
Chromides

Chin Alg Eater
Crazy Fish
Crocodile Fish

Datnioides

Dojo
Electric Cat
Electric Eels

Elephant Nose
Exodon paradoxus
Flounder
Gars
 
Glassfish
Goby Bumble
Goby Butterfly
Goby Dragon
Goby Misc.
Half-Beak
Knife African
Knife Clown
Knife Ghost
Loach Botias
Loach Clown
Loach Kuhli
Loach Weather
Moray Eel  
Peacock Gudgeons
Polypterids
Puffers

Ropefish
Scats
Siam Algae Eater
 
Spiny Eels 
Snakehead
Stingray
Stonefish
Wasp Fish
Wolffish
Wrest Half-Beak
Misc Mini-Fishes
Misc Odd
Misc Odd II
Misc Odd III
Misc Odd  IV

Misc Odd V

Sharks  
Bala
Black
Bull
Chinese Hi-Fin Banded
Iridescent
Red-Tail
Siam Algae Eater

Pond Info 
Blank Park Zoo
Bob Humphrey's Ponds
Cattails
Maffett Reservoir
DMACC's Pond
D.M. Botanical Center
D.M. Water Works
Dr. Ervanian's Garden
Duckweed

Dwarf Lily
Ewing Park "Pond"
Jan & Chris's Water Garden
John McDonald's Pond
Hall's Four Acres
Klines' Water Garden
Landscaper Effects
Mini-Pond Pics
Pioneer Corn's Pond
Pond Fish Predators
Pond on 38th Street 
Pond Pics
Pond Plants
More Pond Plants
Pond Plants III
Reiman Ponds
River Scenes
Riverview Island
Selin's Water Gardens
Selin's Japanese Garden
Tom's Used Cars Pond
Urbandale Duck Pond
Water Hyacinth
Water Lettuce
Wild Ponds