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5 Care Tips for Chinese Water Dragons

Learn five tips for how to take care of a Chinese water dragon from reptile and amphibian expert Jungle Bob in this Howcast video.


Another popular lizard in the pet trade these days is the Chinese Water Dragon. And we say that because I call him the poor man's iguana. Not that he's that much less expensive than an iguana, it's just that it makes a better pet. And it's often mistaken for an iguana because it's green, it's got that long tail, and if you're not in the know, it almost looks like one. But really, it's a lot different. It's got that beautiful mark through its back of its eye. The males have this beautiful crest on the top that will get bigger and bigger as it gets older. It just needs a fairly good size terrarium.

Chinese Water Dragons are skittish little animals that in nature, again, will hang over a limb to escape their prey. They like to do that in a terrarium, too. You need a good size water bowl, if not a little pond inside the enclosure in order to keep them happy. They love insects and small mice as their prey.

But their skittish nature, again in nature, they'll dive off the limb and go under the water, but in your terrarium they can't do that because it's glass there. So, oftentimes you'll see Chinese Water Dragons that are in an insufficient enclosure with a damaged nose because they literally slam into the side of the glass in their attempt to escape from you.

Long-term captives eventually figure out that you're not going to harm them. They'll calm down like this little guy is here. He's an older one and he just gets extremely calm and becomes a nice companion animal you can take out and show off. Still, if startled, he's gone. They're very, very quick animals when they want to be and you have to be careful.

I know many friends of mine who have these and they use a small harness or a leash to keep them under control because once they go, they're gone. They're extremely fast. But it's a way better animal to keep in captivity than their counterparts from South America or Central America, the Green Iguana. Chinese Water Dragon is gaining in popularity, that's for sure. A beautiful, beautiful animal that's a fun thing to keep.

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