The Chinese Water Dragon, also known as the Green Water Dragon, Or Asian Water Dragon is an arboreal reptile. Growing up to 3 feet being the most, they are green with 2/3 of the body being tail. The Males are usually the biggest, Carrying Large spikes on the crest all the way to the tip of the tail. Also males have outstanding colors on the throat while Females have a orangish-pink color. Females are a bit smaller, although some may have large spikes and a big crest too.
Male and female together...note they are the same age. *female in back, male in front*
To tell A female from a male, You water Dragon will have to be at least 18 inches+. At the vent of a male you will see large pores right above it. They should be in a "V" form. Females have barely noticeable pores. Also right at the Base of the tail, the Males have two bulges which is the hemipenis. Females usually have one bump or none at all.
*female pore picture coming soon*
To tell a female from a Male on the looks are a bit more difficult, but can be VERY easy. Males are much Larger and have bigger, Wider heads , while females have thinner narrower heads. Growing into Maturity Males develop a large ridge on top of the back. They do become A lot thicker and "taller" than females. Females tend to be quite smaller, and have a more pear shape.
* notice the defined ridge (right below the spikes on the back) and the enlarged spikes*
* notice very little developement of spikes, and no ridge with a small crest*
P.S. some females have a large crest and spikes too, but the pores never fail n.n
Substate and Water needs
For hatchlings: Substrate for hatchlings can vary. For my neonatals (hatchlings) I use plain old moist towel paper. This way it is easier to change, less expensive, and it’s easy for the CWDs to eat on. Other people use Reptile Carpet, which should be the soft kind and not the kind with the fake grass as they babies can eat it and get sores. Dirt is also a favorite of many people, but should only be used on older Water Dragons. Many neonatals are clumsy and get mouthfuls of dirt when they try to hunt which can lead to impaction. Woodchips are ok, but once again they can swallow them or choke on them. Also Linoleum and Tile are acceptable, as it is easy to clean.A shallow water Bowl should be placed in The tank. Make sure it isn’t too deep as they can drown, try to put leaves or pebbles at the bottom that make the bowl shallower. Also clean pebbles thoroughly if you find them outside and make sure they are big enough so they cant eat them.
For Juveniles: Juveniles can use about anything, Soil is ok, but there are always chances of them swallowing it and having problems. Reptile Carpet is one of the nicest, clean, substrates you can use, it is easy to afford and can come in many colors.The water Bowl should be fairly big and at some point in the water bowl it should be neck deep.
For Adults: Just because they do poop a lot and cause quite a mess, Reptile Carpet, Linoleum, and Tile should be used. It is very easy to clean and Reusable. If you are breeding, you should always have a box of dirt for the female to lay in. You can easily use A cat litter box and fill with vermiculite, or bed-a-beast. Water Dragons need A large water bowl to soak and swim in. A small Litter box will do, but keep it clean as they will defecate in it.
*never use crushed walnuts as they are NOT digestible and can impact your reptile.*
P.S. sand should NEVER be considered for it is in desert/terrestrial buisness
We know that natural unfiltered sunlight is the very best form of lighting to provide for water dragons as well as most other herps, unfortunately many people who own water dragons are unable to provide natural sunlight at all (due to busy lifestyles or because they live in apartments and do not have the ability to provide adequate access to outdoor facilities for their dragons) , you will note that I will only discuss the provision of artificial UVB light sources for the remainder of this care doc. If you are able to provide natural unfiltered sunlight for your water dragons by all means do so, but please supervise your water dragon while it is sunning itself in order to prevent either escapes or overheating (to prevent overheating in the sun please provide your dragon with a shady area to go to in case it gets too hot, and never put a dragon in a glass tank in direct sunlight either as this could cause severe overheating and death! ). :)
*Written by Sk8er*
Temperature and Humidity
Temperatures throughout the cage shouldnt pass 105 at anytime. Day temps should range from 80-85F while having a cool side of 75-80F and night temps should be an all around 70-80. The basking temps should be around 100-120 at the most.
Humidity For hatchlings the first month it should be at a constant 80% since they have just come out of an egg at 100% humidity. Juveniles and adults can have humidity ranging from 50-90% but shouldn’t go below 50%. IT is ok if the humidity goes below 60% as long as they have a fairly big Water Bowl which they can soak in.
Heating, Equipment, and Cage Requirements
For water Dragons, UTH (under tank heaters) are not required since they are arboreal they wont be spending too much time at the bottom of the cage. They should have many Vines, and branches to hang on. For hatchlings BIG fake plants are always good because they will feel secure. Adults and Juvies should have Thick branches that can support their weight.
For a hatchling the biggest they should ever have is a 20 gallon long/tall if you have one. You dont want to build him/her a HUGE cage when it is only a mere 6-10 inches. They should have it small so they can find their food. Also if you have a bigger cage than required make sure it has PLENTY of hiding spots and places to climb so it doesnt feel like it is out in the open for predators.
*hatchling setup picture coming soon*
Juveniles ranging from 12 inches+ should have a 40 gallon-100 gallon.
*juviniles setup picture coming soon*
An Adult should have 100 gallons at the least. For my two adults i have a custom built 2x4x4 (wxlxh), if you have a male and one female they should have their cage be at LEAST 2x4x6 since the male will bother her while she is gravid and can end up egg bound, if not provided tons of hiding places for the female to sneak away too.
*adult setup picture coming soon*
Feeding, Supplements, and Maintenence
Water Dragons are said to be omnivorous, but few eat vegetables and fruit. IF they do they usually can eat, strawberries, Carrots, Bananas, Lettuce, and many others.
Hatchlings ranging from the youngest being 2 days old should be fed 1/4 crickets. They wont eat fruit or veggies but can be provided. They should eat about 10-15 a day or every other day. Juveniles should be fed daily. they can eat Crickets, Mealworms, Super mealworms, Silkworms, Quarantined snails *to make sure of no poison from garden fertilizers*. They should be fed at least 10-20 large crickets, as well as giving them 1-4 Supers, Mealworms, etc.
Adults can eat Mice ranging from pinkies-Adults. They should be fed Mice every 3-5 days if taken or a lot of supers, snails, silkworms, grasshoppers, and crickets. Pour some calcium and vitamin dust, and it will help them out a lot.
Gravid females should have their food dusted 3 times+ a week, While Males once or twice a week. You should use calcium that has D3 if used up to 3x a day, but if in use more often use D3 free . Vitamins can also be dusted with the food.
Cleaning the water Bowl once a day, and cleaning the cage every 1-2 months is a good start. When they get 16 inches + start feeding them with tongs for they can give nasty bites when mistaking your fingers as food. Once water dragons get around 10 inches+ you can start to hold them, but they will be jumpy so sit on the ground in an enclosed area.
A few words from the breeder
I've owned Chinese Water Dragons for over 2 years, and have enjoyed every minute of it. I have successfully bred Water Dragons and Cared for them. They are very easy to care for if you can change their water daily, and at least clean the cage every 1-2 months. They do get big, if you arent prepared for a 3 foot lizard, and want something much more handable, then I suggest a leopard gecko.
*they can be a bit jumpy* once you get them settled down they are like peaches and cream. Hold them often, tell them you love them and they will be a rewarding pet if you have the time, the money, and the room.