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Water Dragon Care

By: Dr. Steve Divers

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Males are larger than the females, and their dorsal crest is more developed. Although both sexes possess pre-femoral pores, there are much more developed in the mature male. A hemipenal bulge can also be seen at the base of the tail in mature males.

Sexual maturity is usually reached at one year of age, with the animals measuring around 40 cm in length. Breeding usually occurs during the winter and early spring. Males in breeding condition will become brightly colored from golden-yellow to deep orange on the chin, chest and side of the head.

The female water dragon can lay up to five clutches of eggs in one season, with each clutch containing 10 to 15 eggs. An egg-laying container should be placed in a remote area of the enclosure for egg laying. The eggs are best incubated on damp vermiculite at 82 to 86 F (28 to 30 C), and the babies should hatch between 60 days to 101 days.

Neonates measure around 15 cm in length at birth. Their care is similar to the adults; they should be raised in groups and fed on insects dusted with mineral supplements and given access to unfiltered sunlight or broad-spectrum, artificial lighting.

Common Diseases and Disorders

  • Facial abrasion from the animal hitting the glass/mesh of the enclosure
  • Metabolic bone disease and fractures (low dietary calcium, lack of UVB)
  • Egg retention (females)
  • Burns from heating pads, hot rocks or unscreened spot lights
  • Traumas (damage or bites from cage mates or prey items)
  • Abscesses
  • Dysecdysis (bad shedding, skin retention causing loss of digit/tail),
  • Intestinal parasitism
  • Obesity

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