Asian Water Dragon (Physignathus cocincinus) Care Sheet

Asian water dragons are semi arboreal lizard, found throughout Indonesia, Vietnam, Southern China, and Thailand.  This beautiful and docile lizard is usually found near bodies of water within the rainforests of Southeast Asia.  Water dragons are a medium sized lizard that can reach 3 feet in length and males are larger than females.  Male water dragons can be distinguished from females by the larger dorsal crests, heads, and jowls.  Adult dragons can be successfully bred before they are two years old.  After a successful mating females will lay 6-14 eggs inside her nesting hole.  The eggs can be incubated at 82-84 degrees and will hatch within 70 days.  Water dragons are fairly long lived and with proper care these lizards can live 10-15 years or more. 

Temperature and UV Lighting

     Water dragons should be maintained at a daytime temperature of 85-90 degrees, with a basking spot reaching up to 95.  Night time temperatures should be maintained between 70 -75 degrees.  If your home is cooler than these temperatures at night you will need a red or other dark colored heat light.  Water dragons come from a humid environment and ideally humidity should be maintained from 70-80%.  This level of humidity can be accomplished by misting the cage daily with water.  Water dragons require 10-14 hours a day of UVB light. This light enables the lizard to produce vitamin D3.  The vitamin D3 produced by UVB metabolizes the calcium in the lizards’ diet.  In general it’s what makes water dragons bones hard and without it they usually die.  This process of inadequate UVB and calcium is called Metabolic Bone Disease.  Also it is very important to change your UVB light every 6-8 months, after this time the light stops producing adequate UVB.  If you’re not sure if your UV light is still producing UVB, bring it in and we’ll be happy to test the light for you.


     Water dragons also require a calcium and vitamin supplement. This supplement works with the UVB light allowing the lizard to receive the proper amounts of calcium and vitamins. This should be used every day as babies and reduced to 1-2 times a week as adults.  Calcium is sold in a powder form and is sprinkled on the insects that you feed your lizard.  You should apply a very light coating to the food items, being careful not to waste any excess powder.


    Our recommendation for bedding is bark, coconut bark or some other type of mulch.  This bedding absorbs water and helps maintain a high relative humidity.

Food and Water

     Water dragons should be fed appropriate sized crickets, mealworms, waxworms, and superworms.  A mixed diet of these food items, five to seven times per week, is ideal and will ensure proper growth and health.  Water dragons are excellent swimmers and a water bowl large enough for them to completely submerse themselves is ideal.