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Keeping Chinese Water Dragons as Pets

Information and Pictures

Two Chinese Water Dragons are standing upside down on a tree branch on top of one another. One is looking forward and the other one is looking to the left.

"These are my two Chinese water dragons, Cosmo and Eona."

Other Names

Physignathus Cocincinus

Water Dragon

Green Water Dragon

Asian Water Dragon

Thai Water Dragon


Cold blooded reptile


The Chinese Water Dragon is known to be one of the friendliest types of lizards. They love to be out of their cage and handled daily. They are also considered to be a more social animal so it is recommended to have more than one Chinese Water Dragon in the same cage. As two adult male Chinese Water Dragons tend to fight, it is not recommended to put two males in the same cage.


Males are usually about three feet long

Females are usually about two feet long


In order to take care of a Chinese Water Dragon, they need a large enclosure that is at least 55 gallons. Make sure it is at least 6 feet tall and at least 4-6 feet long. They like to climb, so be sure to purchase a tall cage and provide branches or levels for them to climb on. They also prefer hot, humid temperatures, so make sure the the temperature is controlled at around 80 degrees fahrenheit and the humidity is also turned up to about 80 percent. They also prefer to bathe and soak in water so providing a large pan of filtered water for them to climb in is a good idea. Change the water pan at least every two to three days. It is also a good idea to mist the cage with a spray bottle of water in order to keep the humidity level high.


Clean the tank at least once a week and change their large water dish to bath in at least every few days.


There are no set grooming or bathing requirements for this type of lizard. Simply make sure that their environment is clean and they will keep themselves clean.


Chinese Water Dragons can be fed a variety of insects as well as a variety of vegetables and fruits. For baby lizards, it is recommended to feed them once a day while adult lizards are recommended to be fed two or three times a day. For all insects, it is recommended to buy from a pet store rather than catching them outside. This prevents any diseases from getting your lizard sick. They can eat mealworms, crickets, butterworms, grasshoppers, earthworms, waxworms, and locusts. Some also like to eat small feeder fish, kingworms and pinkie mice occasionally. Fresh vegetables should be fed to them and should make up around 10-15 percent of their diet. Fresh fruit on the other hand should be offered less than vegetables, as a treat. Popular vegetables to feed Chinese Water Dragons include mustard greens, dandelions, collard greens, green beans, parsnips, sweet potato, and squash. Popular fruits include raspberries, strawberries, mangos, melons, figs, and papaya. Chinese Water Dragons should also be getting supplements of Calcium and Vitamin D3 frequently. These supplements usually come in a spray bottle that can easily be sprayed on their food. Most caretakers tend to give them a complete supplement spray of vitamins and minerals once a week.


These lizards require little exercise as long as they have branches and things to climb on in their cage. However, they still must be taken out of their cage regularly and must be handled regularly in order for them to get used to people and not be aggressive. They are known to be one of the friendliest species of lizards as long as they receive the proper attention.

Life Expectancy

About 10-15 years

Health Problems

Although Chinese Water Dragons tend to be healthy, there are always some health factors to look out for. The most common health problems they could have includes mouth rot, nutritional and metabolic disorders, Infectious diseases and parasites, skin infections, and in female Chinese Water Dragons, dystocia. Most of these health issues can be avoided by making sure their habitat is clean and they are getting all of their vitamins and minerals as well as a healthy diet.


Chinese Water Dragons are egg layers. They reach maturity around 2 years old. Their mating season is late winter or early spring.


The Chinese Water Dragon is native to two main countries, China and India. Since they love to swim and be around water, these lizards are usually found around freshwater streams and lakes where it is hot and humid. They are quite lazy and tend to sit in trees or on the shore while they eat various insects. They are usually quite calm, unless they feel threatened or scared. When they feel unsafe, these lizards will either hide underwater for up to 25 minutes or they will swim somewhere where they feel safe.