Chinese Water Dragon Guide

This is a guide made for anyone thinking of caring for a Chinese Water Dragon. I have owned one myself and have done a lot of research on them. They are a great species and are generally easy to care for; although they can be pricy when first buying them or if they are really young. My Water Dragon is currently still living and in a great condition. I purchased mine from Petsmart and it cost me about $45. If you are looking for a new addition to your family they are defiantly the way to go.


Trade names

Water Dragon, Chinese Water Dragon, Asian Water Dragon, Green Water Dragon.

Scientific name and family

Physignathus cocincinus ; Agamidae.

Features to identify the species

These lizards range in a light green all the way to a dark green/brown. A well defined crest extends from nape all the way to the tail. Light bands along the body may be present and dark bands along the tail are common in most species. Their tail is about two thirds size of body.

Origin and range

They are found throughout much of southern Asia. Both wild caught and captive bred are found in the pet trade.

Similar species

Green Iguana, Australian Water Dragon, and the Frilled Lizard.

Size for a adult

Range anywhere from 23-30 inches, about two thirds tail length.

Life span

With proper care and staying in a healthy condition they may live up to 15 years.

Get the largest terrarium that you can afford. These are a very active specie and enjoy climbing. Avoid any tank less that 70 gallons for a full size adult.

Terrarium type

Tropical forests or rivers edge, make sure to include adequate climbing space and a lot of fresh water.

Social structure

These lizards are best to be kept single or in pair or trio, The males can be very territorial.


Enjoy a range of foods; Insects fish and earthworms are a favorite. Some specimens have also enjoyed chopped fruits, greens and mixed vegetables. Although mice are recommended to not feed often to avoid fat build-ups in the eye.

Common problems

Most if not all captive dragons show signs of rostral abrasions caused by the lizard rubbing nose against front of glass. Providing the adequate space, climbing and hiding areas will minimize the abrasions; I have also noticed on my own that allowing time to climb around house is also helpful in minimizing abrasions.


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