Water Dragon pet
Chinese water dragons look a lot like small iguanas and spend a lot of their time swimming. They are popular pet reptiles due to their smaller size but their care requirements are more intense than most people anticipate.
Names for Chinese Water Dragons
Physignathus cocincinus, Chinese water dragon, water dragon, green water dragon, Asian water dragon, Thai water dragon (not to be confused with the Australian water dragon)
Life Span of Chinese Water Dragons
Size of Chinese Water Dragons
Males reach an adult length (including the tail) of about 3 feet, while females are smaller (around 2 feet long). A large portion of the overall length is made up of the tail.
Appearance of Chinese Water Dragons
Chinese Water Dragons range from a dark to quite light green. Vertical slanted stripes of green or turquoise are found on the body. Their bellies are white or pale yellow and their throats can be quite colorful (yellow, orange, peach). The long tail is narrow and banded with green and brown (and it is also a powerful weapon!).
Adult males have larger heads than females and they develop larger crests on the back of the head and neck.
Housing Chinese Water Dragons
Water dragons need large enclosures - a minimum size for an adult dragon is 6 feet long, 2-3 feet deep, and 5-6 feet tall. An enclosure of this size will likely need to be custom made and is going to be costly. Unless you know your dragons are accurately sexed, you may be better of with just one - a male and female pair will likely get along, two males and even two females may display aggression unless given lots of space in a very large enclosure. Large fish tanks are often used but are not ideal.
For substrate in the tank choose something that won't cause impactions if ingested. Sterilized potting soil (no vermiculite or chemicals) with a cover of sphagnum moss can be used (good for humidity) as well as a mixture of peat, soil and sand, soil and cypress mulch, indoor/outdoor carpeting, or paper. Plenty of branches should be provided for climbing and basking (place some diagonally and some horizontally for basking). Live plants such as pothos, dracena, hibiscus, ficus, and staghorn ferns make a good addition.
Water and Humidity for Chinese Water Dragons
Chinese water dragons need a good pool of water. It should be large and deep enough so that a dragon can submerge at least half its height. A kitty litter box works nicely but if you can you should have one half of the enclosure be water and the other half be a beach area (using the aforementioned substrates). You need to be able to remove and clean/disinfect the water tub daily, especially if your dragon uses it for a toilet or have a quality water filter. The humidity should be kept at around 80 percent. Mist the enclosure once or twice daily as needed. Potted live plants can help keep humidity up as well.