Chinese water dragons (Physignathus cocincinus) are indigenous to Southeast Asia, and Australian water dragons (Physignathus lesueurii) are native to Australia. Both species have become popular pets in the United States. Water dragons are known for their bright coloured bodies and docile temperaments. They come in various shades of green with colourful throat patches and body stripes. Water dragons can grow up to three feet in length, although over half this length consists of their tails. Domesticated water dragons can live up to 18 years when properly fed and cared for.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- 10 gallon aquarium
- Soil Substrate or AstroTurf
- Water bowl
- Pothos plants
- Dracaena plants
- UVB light
- Lizard lamp
- 2 thermometers
- Humidity gauge
- Vitamin supplements
- Small crickets
- Vegetable pieces
- Small Worms
Purchase a 10-gallon aquarium. Once the dragon grows, he will need to be moved to a larger enclosure for safety. If a water dragon's enclosure is less than twice his body length, it will severely injure himself in an attempt to escape.
Line the aquarium bottom with either soil substrate or AstroTurf. Fill a water bowl and place it in the aquarium. Arrange pathos and dracaena plants in the aquarium.
Clamp UVB lights and lizard lamps near the top of the aquarium, and put light bulbs into the fixtures. Line misters along the edge of the aquarium.
Install thermometers on either side of the aquarium. Position the humidity gauge inside the aquarium. Ensure that the instruments are out of reach of the area where your baby water dragon will live and play.
Select a baby water dragon to adopt, take him to a vet to ensure that he is in good health, then place him in his new home.
Feed your baby water dragon at least once a day. Sprinkle vitamin supplements on small crickets and cut vegetable pieces, then put them in the aquarium. Once your dragon matures, he will only need to eat two or three times per week, but it is important that he receive proper nutrition as he grows. As babies, the dragons will eat small crickets and pieces of vegetables. The dragon will eat larger insects and small worms, as it grows larger. Once your water dragon is full grown, feed it mice and other small rodents in addition to vegetables.
Monitor the humidity and temperature of the aquarium at least twice per day. Maintain a humidity level as close to 80 per cent as possible. The temperature should be between 28.3 to 31.1 degrees Celsius during the day and between 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit at night. The temperature directly under the lizard lamp should be about 32.2 degrees Celsius. Adjust lights and misters accordingly.
Refill and clean your dragon's water bowl daily. Don't provide too much water. Unless you would like to clean the aquarium everyday, water should be reduced to a small bowl. Although baby water dragons enjoy swimming they will defecate in the water and then drink it and become sick.
Replace pothos and dracaena plants once they have become maimed or clawed by your baby water dragon. It's natural for your baby water dragon to claw and bite the plans in his aquarium and you should be prepared to replace them fairly often.
Change the light bulbs in your baby water dragon's aquarium as soon as they burn out. The UVB light is necessary for your baby water dragon to produce vitamin D and properly digest food. Lack of UVB light could cause nutritional deficiencies leading to sickness and death.
Spend time playing with your baby water dragon. Observe your water dragon frequently and make sure that he is energetic and well fed.
Tips and warnings
- Take your baby water dragon to a vet if it appears sick, swollen or if its behaviour dramatically changes. This could save your pet's life.
- Never place your baby water dragon's aquarium in direct sunlight. Light reflecting off the glass will raise the temperature, and your dragon may not survive.
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