Water Dragon- Small
In store price: 29.99
**Read Before Purchasing**
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Asian water dragons, also known as the green water dragon or Chinese water dragon, can make beautiful pets but they have specific care needs that must be met in order for them to thrive. Once they are used to your presence, they are generally tame and easily handled. While they occasionally fight among themselves or compete for superiority with cage mates, they are rarely aggressive toward human keepers. If frightened, they might give you an open-mouthed threat, which they rarely follow through on, or a light tail whip when picked up. If scared, they may turn dark or try to hide behind a plant or in their water, and they may still dash away.
Asian water dragons originate from the southeastern Asian mainland - Thailand, southern China, Vietnam and Cambodia. The majority of water dragons for sale are wild-caught lizards that were exported to the United States for pets. These wild-caught water dragons usually have heavy infections with intestinal parasites and may need repeated treatment with prescription anti-parasitic medications to recover and become healthy again. It is also not uncommon for wild-caught individuals to have open wounds, scabs or scars on their nose and lower jaw from rubbing their faces against the cages trying to escape or running into glass or screening when startled. Small numbers of captive-born babies are available from private reptile breeders and these are much less likely to have internal parasites or injuries. You can expect to pay a lot more for a captive-bred water dragon than a wild-caught imported one, but the piece of mind knowing your animal will be healthier offsets this cost. Asian water dragons can live 10 to 15 years. Adult males grow to approximately 3 feet in length and adult females measure approximately 2 feet. Hatchlings start out about 1 inch snout to vent, and 5 to 6 inches in total length.
Handling and Care
Reptiles, especially Chinese water dragons, show unusual behavior when held in captivity. You should begin to handle your water dragon at an early age. Your pet will then become familiar to your hands. It is important that you don’t rush and allow your pet to get used to the way you handle it. You need to be gentle and more importantly, consistent in handling your pet.
Baby dragons generally are more nervous therefore you need to give them more time. Try feeding your pet with your own hands. It will be a matter of days and you will see the dragon waiting for you to come closer. It is not essential that you interact only with your hands. Try calling your dragon and then slowly lift it up.
You should use both of hands to lift the dragon and then allow it to rest on your hand or lap. Your hands need to be placed in a manner that your pet’s belly and chest area is well supported. The other hand should be used to support the upper body. Most dragons are not fond of the two hand hold and want to be free.
If your dragon struggles or gets anxious while handling, it is better that you leave it alone. You should never try to restrain your pet forcefully or pull its tail. Picking up an aggressive dragon from its tail can cause the tail to break off.
Handling your pet for about 20 minutes everyday is a good start. Gentle taming sessions will make your pet more interactive and easy to handle.
Asian water dragons are arboreal lizards, meaning they climb and like to be up high. An ideal enclosure for one or more adult dragons should measure 6 feet tall, 3 to 4 feet deep and 4 to 6 feet long. Keep in mind that water dragons don't seem to understand glass and often end up rubbing their snouts on glass walls, often permanently damaging their noses and lower jaws. A good alternative is to find a large screen enclosure instead. If the enclosure is large, damage from snout rubbing seems to be less of a problem. You can also try taping a visual barrier (such as paper or cardboard) around the outside bottom of the enclosure, so the water dragons can't see through. This reportedly can curb snout rubbing as well.
Cypress mulch works well for a cage substrate since it also increases cage humidity, allows them to dig, and breaks their fall if they jump off a perch in their cage. Sphagnum moss also works well but is much more expensive to use. Substrates that are composed of coconut husk may cause eye irritation that can lead to infection in water dragons. Make sure your dragon's food is offered in a bowl as an eager dragon can accidentally eat some mulch or moss trying to grab an insect or piece of salad. Most of the time, this material passes through the water dragon, but in some cases it can cause intestinal blockage that will need veterinary care.
Incandescent basking lights can maintain proper cage temperatures, and their heat combined with misting can also help maintain humidity. Water dragons are diurnal lizards, meaning they are active during the day and sleep at night. The lights, therefore, need to go off at night. For this reason, a lightless heat source, such as a ceramic heat emitter for day and night heating might also prove beneficial. We recommend using a thermostat or rheostat control to safely maintain the needed temperature range. Daytime temperatures should range from 84 to 88°F, with a basking area of 95-100°F. Nighttime temperatures should range from 75 to 80°F. It's a good idea to have at least two digital thermometers in the cage, one in the cool side and one in the warm side of the enclosure. Improper temperature ranges can lead to a water dragon with a weakened immune system and inadequate digestion of nutrients due to slower metabolism.
Natural, unfiltered sunlight is the very best lighting for water dragons and most other herps. Unfortunately, many people who own water dragons cannot provide natural sunlight at all. If you can, by all means do so, especially if you can build an outdoor wire cage with plants and foliage for shelter, shade and security. Never put a glass tank that contains a dragon - whether it's indoors or outside - in direct sunlight, as this could cause severe overheating and death.
Provide ultraviolet-B light (UVB) in the form of fluorescent or mercury vapor lighting such as Zoomed's Reptisun 10.0 or Powersun Mercury Vapor bulbs. UVB is necessary for a dragon to absorb calcium and build strong healthy bones. Without proper UVB lighting, water dragons often develop nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism (also known as metabolic bone disease), which causes their bones to soften, bend and break easily. It can also lead to tremors, seizures, and death if action isn't taken to reverse the deficiency.
Your water dragon should have light during normal seasonal daylight hours. Use a timer to create a day/night cycle; it turns the lights on at 7 a.m. and turns them off near sunset, perhaps 7 p.m.
Water dragons eat a variety of live food items ranging from crickets, mealworms, king mealworms, waxworms, earthworms, grasshoppers, butterworms, locusts, feeder fish, pinkies and fuzzies. These should be dusted with Zoo Med Rep Cal (calcium supplement) daily except for once a week when you should use Zoo Med Reptivite. Make sure you use a supplement such as Zoo Med Reptivite which contains true vitamin A and not just beta-carotene to prevent problems with the eyes, mouth, and breathing.
Whole prey items, such as pinkies, fuzzies and feeder fish, are an important component of a juvenile-to-adult water dragon's diet. These items are high in calcium and other nutrients, and if offered to the dragon two or three times a week will help maintain a good bone structure.
Water dragons eat some fruits and vegetables. Offer finely shredded green leafy vegetables (kale, romaine, mustard greens, squash) and small chunks of fruit that have been dusted with Zoo Med Repcal (without D3) three times a week.
Water dragons can become picky eaters and may refuse to eat when they become bored with their food. This happens most often when an owner only feeds perhaps two types of food items most of the time. One way to combat boredom is to vary the diet by offering crickets one day, mealworms the next, earthworms the day after that, and so on.