As one of the more exotic types of lizard, the Chinese water dragon is an ideal choice for those looking to keep a tropical pet. While the juveniles are small in size, this species can grow quite large, which makes people wonder about their temperament. After all, that's quite a large mouth to get bitten by. The good news is that these beautiful lizards are actually quite docile.
The Chinese water dragon is also known as the green water dragon, Thai water dragon and Asian water dragon. The species is native to East and Southeast Asia and lives around permanent water sources, such as rivers and swamps, within the rainforests. With the ability to remain hidden under the water's surface for up to 25 minutes, the Chinese water dragon can often elude predators.
Growing up to 3 feet long, the Chinese water dragon ranges in beautiful shades of green that help the reptile blend into its tropical environment. The species has strong back legs that are used for both swimming and running; the water dragon can even run bipedally. The species has sharp claws for climbing and small, pointed teeth. In order to catch its prey, which is insects, the water dragon is equipped with a long, sticky tongue. When well taken care of, the Chinese water dragon can live up to 16 years.
Chinese water dragons can be aggressive towards both males and females of their species. The good news is that Chinese water dragons are known for being friendly with humans. If you do have trouble getting your dragon to be sociable, work on handling the dragon each day, but also give it time to rest in its habitat. Newly purchased dragons should be given time to adjust to their new home before you attempt to handle them.
Chinese water dragons can be an entertaining reptile to own. You will need to set up a 6-by-4-by-6-foot vivarium that has a pool of water, climbing vines and sterile soil as the substrate. The soil will help keep the habitat humid. The humidity in the vivarium should be close to 80 percent and the daytime temperatures should range from 84 to 88 degrees with a basking area of 95 degrees. Nighttime temperatures should be between 75 to 80 degrees. UVB lighting will also need to be provided. Chinese water dragons eat a diet of live insects including crickets, meal worms and even cockroaches.
Amy Brantley has been a writer since 2006, contributing to numerous online publications. She specializes in business, finance, food, decorating and pets.