If you’ve always been fascinated with dragons, you may have been disappointment, when as a child, you found out that they are fictional. But hey, maybe you’d finally like the chance to disprove people by saying that you actually own a dragon? Here are some guidelines for taking care of a Chinese Water Dragon:
Know what it is
Okay, so Chinese Water Dragons don’t exactly fit our idea of big, terrifying and cool monsters. Chinese Water Dragons can only grow up to 3 feet (2 feet for females), with its tail making up about 70% of its total length. In fact, they are more accurately categorized as lizards more than anything else.
Feed your dragon properly
The size of your dragon’s food counts: the food should be shorter than the length of its head, and no wider than half the width of its head. The Chinese water dragon’s diet consists mainly of insects (such as crickets, cicadas and grasshoppers) and worms (earthworms, mealworms and wax worms). It’s better that you buy these insects and worms from pet supply stores; though you can catch insects yourself from your backyard, chances are, these insects are contaminated with pesticides which are highly toxic to water dragons.
Apart from these insects/worms, you should also feed your water dragon pieces of vegetables and fruits every day. Once they get older, you should also offer them little pinkie mice (a great source of their daily protein requirement).
Prepare their habitat
Chinese water dragons need a lot of space to move around in. The length of the glass tank that you will prepare for your water dragon should be at least twice its total length. Make sure that you put a screen over the top of the aquarium. You could provide a substrate (or bedding) for your water dragon consisting of potting soil or sand. Another option is to stock the bottom of the tank with water (see next tip). In addition, you should provide branches on which the water dragon could climb and perch.
Regulate the temperature
Heat is important to Chinese water dragons. Make sure that their tank is between 83 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit, with a specially-heated spot that reaches up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The humidity should be kept at 80% and never more than that, as high humidity could lead to respiratory problems. Water dragons will also need UVA and UVB lighting (kept on for a 12-hour cycle, and longer during the winter months).
Give them water
Chinese water dragons love water, and it’s essential for their health that you provide them clean drinking water and swimming water every day. As mentioned, you could forego the bedding and use water instead. The problem with this, however, is that water dragon’s poop very frequently. So, you would have to clean out and replace the water from their tank daily. A great solution is to provide them with bedding, and a separate and adequately-sized pan filled with water where they can swim.
Know why it changes color
Chinese water dragons aren’t exactly chameleons, but they could change their color slightly depending on their condition. Healthy water dragons are bright green, while cold or sick dragons are pale green or even almost black. Do take the time to observe your water dragon’s coloring so you would have an idea about its condition. Healthy water dragons can live up to 18 years.
True, Chinese water dragons won’t give you the coolness factor that caring for an actual dragon will (if that’s even possible). But as you take care of your water dragon, you’d find they can be cool, too!