Australia’s largest Dragon style lizard is the eastern water Dragon – Miles may grow to a metre long though 80 cm of this is tail… Loving water they are found only on Australia’s east coast the rest of Australia being too dry. They are found as far north as Townsville right down to the very bottom of Victoria.
Keeping a water dragon Indoors.
Keeping a water Dragon as a pet can be fascinating as they are large active colourful lizards. Though active they spend the vast majority of the day basking in the sun. They are exceptionally hardy and can adapt to a wide range of conditions assuming there is water.
They can be kept inside require a large enclosure of no less than 1.5 m long and 50 m wide. As they liked to sit on perches the enclosure should be at least 1 m high.
They are not called water Dragons for nothing – they like water and should be supplied with a water bowl or bath long and deep enough for them to completely immerse themselves within. This large water source can cause problems with high humidity in the enclosure resulting in the enclosure being damp and mouldy. These conditions are far from ideal for your water Dragon and they can develop respiratory problems to ensure the enclosure is well ventilated.
They need an area to bask in a need areas to hide in. To warm the enclosure place in her hitting lamp at one end – they will lie under it or near it as long as they need to maintain their optimum body temperature. Indoors they also require UV lighting – failure to do so can result in and developing deformities of their bones.
Juvenile water Dragons a voracious hunters of insects, they are especially fond of feeder crickets, slaters, but pretty much anything that moves and is big enough to fit in their mouth will end up there. The diet of the adults is more varied as their size is difficult to be supported by eating insects alone. Adults will eat small yabby is fish, frogs and fruit. Remember your captive water Dragon in a relatively small enclosure is less active in the wild water Dragon so be careful not to provide too much food.
Adults will eat a wide variety of food including insects, small yabbies, fish, frogs and fruit. Captive Water Dragons tend to be a bit lazy so care needs to be taken not to overfeed them.
Keeping a water Dragon outdoors
outdoors the issues of ventilation, mould and heating come less of a problem assuming you live in an area where they naturally exist. Outdoors however, your enclosure needs to extend below the ground as they will dig under any fence. Their enclosure should have an area that captures the sun most of the day, as well as a shaded area they can use to hide in or to regulate their body temperature. Of course, they still need access to water to bathe in.
Ideally this outdoor enclosure will contain plants that can act as both shade and insect attraction. Water Dragons do not like to be handled but with time and patience may grow to accept a level of gentle handling in exchange for a food reward. Always be careful of their strong claws.
In the wild, water Dragons live in areas they can get down to near freezing at night and they are able to tolerate low temperatures. In the wild however they are able to seek shelter from extreme conditions so ensure your outdoor enclosure provides such shelter.