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Pet Reptile Care Sheets
Water Dragons

Water dragons are native to the Southeast Asian mainland and Indo-Australian archipelago. Most imports arrive from Thailand or southern China.

Males typically reach 3 feet; females are somewhat smaller. Males develop larger heads, jowls and crest on the back of the neck, and their femoral pores are somewhat larger than on the female.
Water Dragon Reptile Care Sheet
Always have new animals checked by a vet for internal and external parasites (bring a fresh fecal sample if you can - or get one to the vet at the soonest opportunity), hydration, nutritional status and overall health.

Captive Environment

You will need a large enclosure, one larger than most people think will be needed by a lizard of this size. The reason most are missing much of their faces, rubbed off from the snout back past the front teeth, is that water dragons will literally rub their flesh off and break their jaw bones trying to get out of a too small enclosure.

They need space at least 2 x their total length - so you are talking min 6 ft long (side to side), at least 2-3 feet deep and 4-6 feet high to do it right.

Water dragons can be kept together, with one to three males in a room-sized enclosure. Some females can be domineering and may not want any other females around...others can co-habit with 3-4 females.

You must monitor them all the time to assure all are feeding and basking properly throughout the year. If any aren't, you are most likely seeing the results of intimidation and will need to increase the number of basking and feeding areas and/or increase enclosure size or separate them.

Water dragons are semi-arboreal but also need enough water to submerge and swim comfortably in, as well as Flexi Branches for climbing, and plenty of ground area for roosting and feeding. They also need the appropriate thermal gradients, photoperiods, and a UVB light. A recommended product is the T-Rex Dome Light from Aquamania at only 27.99.


A mixture of 2/3 peat soil + 1/3 clean sand with areas of bark. Can also be kept on fake Astroturf. Very active digestive systems so lots of messy poop if they don't go in their water. There are many products to provide good substrate but T-Rex Calci Sand (only 6.99), and T-Rex Sani-Chips (4.99) are recommended and available at Aquamania.


Placed on the diagonal for climbing, horizontal for roosting. Flexi Branches are good for this.


Suggestions for suitable live plants include dragon plants (Dracaena), pothos (Scindapsus aureus), Ficus benjamina trees, Monstera deliciosa (philodendron) and staghorn ferns. Plants will need to be replaced as they are shredded by claws or eaten. Aquamania recommended the Exo-Terra range of Jungle plants (4.99).


Day time: 84-88 F with drop to 75-80 F at night. Must have a basking area going up to 90 F during day at one side of tank. Use reptile thermometers! No hot rocks - use overhead basking lights and an under-tank heat pad or one under the indoor/outdoor carpeting substrate. Recommended heat mats are the T-Rex Cobra Heat Mat (from 14.49), and the Hydor Heat Mats (from 15.49)

UVB Lighting

Must have direct sun or a suitable UVB-producing fluorescent (Vitalite by Durotest or Zoo Med's Iguana or Reptile light). Plant grow lights do not produce UVB and most so-called 'full spectrum" lights do not either. Must produce wavelengths in the 290-320 nm range.


Must be available at all times for full body immersions up to at least 1/2 their height. Must be cleaned and disinfected daily... two days is okay if they don't poop in it! If they dive into their water from a shelf or branch, you need to make the tub deeper so they do not injure themselves. See our range of Reptile Water Dishes.


Hatchlings and Juveniles:
2-3 week old crickets which have been previously gut-loaded. Crickets are available on our website in our Live Foods section.

Also offer finely chopped vegetables and fruits. As the dragons grow, offer only slightly bigger crickets, and add in some mealworms and baby ('pinkie') mice, and occasionally a waxworm for a treat.

Smaller food items are more nutritious and more efficiently digested than fewer bigger items. Feed every 2 days - or more often if they look hungry.

Small mice, 4 week old crickets, kingworms (Zoophoba) as well as plant matter. Feed every 2-3 days - or oftener if they look hungry. Also feed plant matter, such as greens and fruits.

Please only take the information given in any of our caresheets as general advice. They may not provide an exact answer to your particular reptiles problem and are to act as a general guide and 'heads-up' to keeping reptiles.

We cannot be held responsible for any problems your reptile encounters following the reading of these pages.

Pet Reptile Care Sheets

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VAT No: 674 5118 25
Inc. in Eng No: 3959731
Reg. Office: 22-28 Willow St, Accrington, BB5 1LP

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Aquamania Aquariums, & Reptiles