Chinese Water Dragon


Chinese Water Dragons originate in the Southeast Asian Mainland where they live in the low and high forest lands near freshwater streams and lakes.

They are similar looking to Iguanas except they are smaller, generally tamer and they eat almost anything. Chinese Water Dragons are omnivores so enjoy veg, insects, small mammals and in the wild would even eat other small reptiles.

Water dragons enjoy an arboreal semi aquatic environment. We suggest an arboreal large tank with plenty of room to jump around with a large body of water to enable the dragon to exhibit its natural behaviours


Chinese Water Dragons require a large arboreal enclosure so that they can run and jump around as they would in the wild.  They require high humidity so a forest style, humidity holding substrate like forest floor or repti-bark would be ideal. It can then be sprayed regularly to hold extra humidity if required.

Water Dragons require a large body of water. There are options to add drippers and misters to your enclosure to add some extra water, there should be a tub or bowl at the bottom to hold some for your dragon to lie in. Lots of plants and décor should be added to the enclosure such as branches, slate, stones, artificial plants and bark. Using a mixture of décor will allow your animal to experience different surfaces like it would in the wild. 

Chinese Water Dragons tend to rub their faces on the glass during mating times or if waiting for food, so we always advice wood and glass enclosures rather than mesh as this can cause damage to the nose. Mesh enclosures are not as good at keeping humidity in. They require heat and UVB in order to keep their bones and body healthy. This can be provided via T5 or T8 UVB tube. Compact UVB should not be used as it does not cover enough of the tank to provide the level of UVB required.

We recommend a thermostat along with a thermometer and hygrometer to check both temperatures and humidity. The thermostat will allow the enclosure temperature to be fully automated both saving power and ensuring your pets temperature are correct at all times.


Always wash your hands before and after handling your dragon.  Chinese Water Dragons can be tame once they are used to you. They can be skittish until then and this can take several months so we advise ensuring that doors and windows are locked and you handle in an enclosed environment.

Always take your dragon from underneath and do not grab hold of its tale as it may drop this. They can grow back but this does take some time and it may not appear as it used to.

Take care of nails as they are sharp and tail can be used to whip if animal is defensive.


Genus, Species: Physignathus cocincinus
Adult Size: 60-95cm
Habitat: Forest / semi- aquatic
Lifespan: 10-15 +
Diet: Insects: locusts, worms, roach, crickets, Leafy Greens
Ambient Temp (f): 84-88
Basking Temp (f): 95-97
Humidity (%): 70-80
Locality: Southeast Asia Difficulty: 3
Breeding Age: 2-4 years
Social Structure: Live alone except breeding times. Females can live together with monitoring



Sexing water dragons can be hard when they are small and you may need to wait until your dragon is 30-40cm. Older males will have a larger crest than females. This will be taller and longer and will extend further down the body. Males have larger heads than females. As with many lizards, Chinese water dragons have pores on the insides of their legs. These are much more noticeable in males but once again may be hard to distinguish until older. You should only keep several water dragons together if you know the sex.


Eyes–  Eyes are fully open and clear of stuck shed. Eyes are clear and not cloudy. Cloudy eyes can be the sign of an eye infection. Always consult a vet, there are many additional products on the market to aid in recovery.

Skin– The skin is clear of shed and there are no cuts or scrapes on the dragonss skin or tail. Occasionally locusts or crickets can nip the skin of the dragon. Always remove live food that is not eaten after the dragons meal to prevent further bites and stress which can stop your dragon eating.

Limbs– All the limbs are moving correctly and the dragon is able to walk and move normally. Dragons can suffer from a condition called MBD (metabolic bone disease). This occurs when dragons do not have enough calcium D3 and causes their bones to grow abnormally, eventually restricting their movements. MBD cannot be reversed so always dust livefood with calcium twice a week to avoid MBD occurring.

Dehydration– As water dragons require such humidity and spraying to keep drinking water available, it is easy for them to get dehydrated if they are not provided enough. Dehydration can be spotted easily by the eyes appearing sunken in. Spray your dragon 2-4 times a day, more regularly on hotter days and ensure a fresh body of water is provided daily.

advice for life