The Chinese water dragon - what kind of animal is it?
The Chinese water dragon, Physignathus cocincinus, is one of the most popular lizards kept in terrariums all over the world. But one has to keep in mind that this pet is highly vulnerable to any mistakes made by the owner. The signs of improper treatment - unconscious - aren’t immediately apparent.
The Chinese water dragon lives naturally in south-eastern Asia. Rainforests are its natural habitat - it prefers spots located by rivers. Because of its popularity as a pet, it can be found all over the world, kept by professional breeders and private owners.
What does the Chinese water dragon look like?
The Chinese dragon might grow up to 1 meter in the natural habitat. In captivity, males reach about 80 centimeters - females are smaller and typically have 60-70 centimeters. Note that the head and body is are only 20-25 centimeters - the rest is the tail.
The crest is a characteristic element of the lizard. It starts on the neck and reaches the tail’s end. It’s taller in males than in females.
The whole body of the Chinese water dragon is covered with scales. They are usually bright or dark green. The lizard can change the shade of its color - it can become even yellow-green or grey-green. The colors mostly depend on the light, but also health and mood of the Chinese water dragon.
Types of the Chinese water dragon
The Chinese water dragon is a unique species. There are no other related lizards, so it’s assumed they are the only members of its kind.
Can Chinese water dragons be kept at home?
The Chinese water dragon can surely be kept at home. It’s called the most popular and most commonly picked lizard - not without a reason. Make sure to take care of the enclosure and provide the best conditions to your lizard.
The Chinese water dragon - care guide
When you decide to keep a Chinese water dragon, you have to provide the right conditions for it. First, the enclosure should be large enough. The bigger the container, the better, especially because adult lizards grow pretty large.
If you want to keep a single Chinese water dragon pet, the minimal size of the enclosure is 120x80x150 centimeters. If you want a couple, the cage should be 150x80x170 at minimum. You can decide on a smaller setup for young pets. A young lizard feels good in a 80x50x60 centimeters large terrarium. In this case, you have to keep in mind that when the lizard grows, you’ll have to replace the cage.
What are the best conditions for the Chinese water dragon?
Chinese water dragons love climbing in their natural habitat. For this reason, make sure to take care of the right equipment for the terrarium. You can add many small and large branches so that the lizard can move freely around and climb. We recommend covering the cage walls with a material providing a good grip - thanks to this, the lizard has an additional climbing space.
Don’t forget about another important issue - a pool with water, which should be placed at the bottom of the enclosure. It’s a drinking pool for your pet lizard, and it guarantees proper humidity in the terrarium.
What does the Chinese water dragon eat?
The Chinese water dragon needs basic and supplementary food. Make sure the diet is diversified. Crickets, cockroaches and locusts are considered the basic elements. Additionally, you should add slugs, mice, superworms and earthworms.
Don’t forget about fruits and vegetables - they should make 20% of the whole diet. Carrots, raspberries, watermelons and apples are the most popular choices.
The portions and frequency of feeding should match the age of the lizard. Young Chinese water dragons should eat every day. Adult lizards can be fed 3-4 times a week. Monitor whether the lizard eats everything it receives - not eating enough or overeating can result in various diseases.
Chinese water dragon - lifespan
The Chinese water dragon lives about 9 years in the wild. In captivity, if it has optimal conditions and the owner takes care of its health, this period is much longer. In some cases, the Chinese water dragon can live even 20 years.
Where to buy a Chinese water dragon?
You can purchase the lizard in pet stores. You can also decide to buy a Chinese water dragon from a professional breeder. Typically, there are no restrictions about trading lizards.
How much does the Chinese water dragon cost?
The price of a Chinese water dragon pet depends mostly on the size and gender of the lizard. The lowest price is $30. Some lizards might cost even over $100.
📍 How long does the Chinese water dragon live?
The average lifespan of the lizard is 9 years. But in captivity, where it's treated properly and regularly taken to a vet, a Chinese water dragon might live up to 20 years.
📍 What's the best diet for the Chinese water dragon?
The Chinese water dragon mostly eats crickets. It won't turn up its nose at baby mice and rats, either. You can diversify the everyday diet of your lizard with cockroaches and fruits, which should make up 20% of the diet.
📍 How to take care of the Chinese water dragon?
The Chinese water dragon needs the right humidity in its enclosure. It should be adjusted so that the humidity remains at 70-80% during the day and 80-90% at night.
📍 How to tell the gender of the Chinese water dragon?
You can recognize the gender of the lizard when it's fully mature. Typically, it's 18 months. The males are bigger and have a sturdier build. You can also recognize them by a higher crest. The head is also wider than of a female.