Caring for Your New Chinese Water Dragon
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Watersprite

Different Watersprite

Water Dragon Factoids

Origin

Vietnam

Maximum Size

Males 36 inches, females slightly smaller

Sexual Differences

Males more colorful with bigger heads

Temperature

85o days, 75o nights

Winter Temperature

10 o cooler during winter (for breeding)

Tree Dweller

Needs climbing areas

Swimmer

Needs very large water bowl

Attitude

Alert, observant, territorial as they mature

Substrate

Anything except cedar, pine, or corn cobs

Humidity

Provide waterfall or mist often

Foods

Insects, Pinkies, Goldfish, Fruit

Supplements

Calcium and Vitamins

Lighting

Full-Spectrum or Sunlight

Breeding Season

October thru January

Breeding Age

two to three years

Gestation Period

60 days

Egg Laying Season

December thru March

Incubation

86 o at 100% humidity (mist eggs daily)

LA
New water dragons don't trust you at first.  Move slowly around them.

LA
And they do like to climb.

LA
Young water dragons tame very easily.

LA
And if you turn them over and stroke their bellies, they zonk out.  Don't do it.

Info from K. Fortner, July 9, 2005
I was browsing your site and noticed a caption under one of your
pictures that said that if you turn a Chinese water dragon over and
stroke its belly it will “zonk out.” I have heard from many sources
that this is not a good idea. Below is a quote from a website dealing
with this issue. Thought you might want to know this:
“I don’t even want to mention this here because I can see a lot of you
going over and picking up your dragon and trying it just to see if it’s
true. Do not hold your dragon upside down or turn it over so that
it is on its back!
“Many people have written to me and told me about the cute thing
their dragon would do when they turned it over on its back or held it
upside down -- it would go to sleep.
“I hate to tell you folks but your dragon is not going to sleep.
It’s having difficulty breathing and could suffocate if kept in that
position for a period of time. :(
“Lizards do not have diaphragms to help them breath. Their ribs
moving in and out actually cause their lungs to inflate and deflate.
When a dragon is held upside down or on its back, its stomach pushes
on its lungs making it difficult for it to breath and will
eventually result in suffocation. Please do not do this to your
dragon.”

LA Pic
Definitely looks like a dragon.

Origins:  Chinese Water Dragons live in many areas of Southeast Asia, Thailand, and parts of China.  Our Water Dragons come from Vietnam.

LA
Young water dragons put you in mind of an intelligent-looking iguana.

Size:  Adult water dragons attain three feet in length, but most of the specimens we’ve seen are under two feet.  The sellable sizes are always the small ones because the big ones fight in confinement.

LA
Water dragons quickly learn to eat crickets from your fingers (and goldfish).

Foods:  Our table above lists the more popular foods they like.  Don’t give up on a particular food if they refuse it once or twice.  Water Dragons will also eat birds and smaller lizards.  We do not recommend mixing water dragons with most other lizards.  They will rip the legs off same size lizards.

LA
With the name "water" dragon, you'd expect them to eat fish.  Good calcium source.

Supplements:  Because their bones grow so much, Water dragons need calcium supplements on their insects.  If you give them a pinkie (baby rodent) a week and feed guppies or goldfish often, you will probably meet their mineral and vitamin needs.

LA
Here's an incorrectly fed water dragon brought in to Aqualand.

LA
Nothing could be done for this poor water dragon.  We euthanized him.

LA
Young male water dragon just starting to get a hint of his color and crest.

LA
You can see this young water dragon's "starter" crest better.

Lighting:  Like most reptiles, water dragons need full-spectrum fluorescent lighting or daily sessions in real sunlight.  The closer they can climb to your bulbs, the better your bulbs work.

Heat:  An under-cage heater probably works best.  Put it under their water bowl.  Or put a submersible heater in their water bowl.  Careful.  Always unplug the water heater when changing their water or you will buy lots of new heaters.  On second thought, just forget this thought.  If you need more heat, add a good size light bulb or ceramic heater.

LA
This little piggie ate six goldfish.  You need to change his water daily.

LA
Water dragons do like their water dish.  Bigger the better.

Water:  Water dragons defecate in their water.  Change it daily.  You don’t want them drinking dirty water. All lizards have a limited understanding of basic sanitation.

LA
Give your water dragon a swimming pool.  The diving board is optional.

Not Good Mixers:  If you mix them with smaller lizards, they will eat them.  If you mix them with same size lizards, they will eat off parts.  If you mix them with slightly larger lizards, keep both well fed.  Very few lizards (except the little ones) will mix well.

 

LA
When you first get your water dragon, he'll feel a little skittish.

LA
Young water dragons learn to adapt to people very quickly.

LA
Water dragons are real people lizards.

LA
Most lizards like to climb to the highest limb.

Tameable:  Like all lizards, water dragons are wild animals.  However, dragons soon come to realize that you don’t plan to eat them.  They quickly figure out that you are their food source.  They learn to sit calmly on your hand.

LA
Without a cover, your water dragon will come out and explore.  Change that nasty water.

Intelligent:  Water dragons score fairly low on the SAT.   However they are among the smartest of all the lizards – way smarter than iguanas which they somewhat resemble when young.  Unfortunately, being smarter than an iguana still ranks low on the smartometer.

LA
Most dragons rub their noses against their cage walls.  They do not believe in glass.

Nose Scrapers:  Teenage water dragons from the wild do not know that glass exists.  They will sit/stand there and rub against it till they rub their noses raw.  They still don’t believe anything stands between them and freedom.  Put a bit of antibiotic ointment on the wound.  Put some strips of masking tape across the areas where they constantly rub their noses.  Unless they stop rubbing it, it will never heal.  Open wounds make them susceptible to all sorts of invading organisms.  Stop nose rubbing as soon as you see it.  Younger water dragons do not rub their noses as much.  But you can’t tell those teenagers anything.

LA
Looking for crickets.

LA
Kids especially need to wash their hands after touching lizards.  Kids cannot resist sticking their fingers in their mouth to keep them clean.

LA
Water dragons look quite intelligent.

LA
Baby Australian water dragon -- way pricier, about five times pricier.

LA
Three inches plus tail and already king of his 20-long critter cage.

LA
Female water dragon -- probably large enough to breed.

LA
Another profile of the same gal.

LA
Younger but prettier male.

LA
Water dragons are mellow most of he time.  Just go slow.

LA
About 16-inch Chinese water dragon with slightly crimped tail.

LA
Not skittish about people at all.

LA
Just one good-looking lizard.

LA
Even prettier male.

LA
Extra color underneath as he grows.

LA
The easily visible hemi-penis proves his maleness.

In Summary:  The Chinese water dragon makes a great pet lizard.  We expect to see local breeding soon.  But, as we look back, we have not seen local breeding yet.  LA.

LA
# 1 of three water dragons.  Voted least likely to succeed.

LA
Next day.  Guy (#1) on right better but still shaky.

LA
Former "shaky looking" dude two weeks later.  Why the pink nose?

LA
Because he loves pink applesauce. It snapped him back to health.

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