Caresheets

With over 50 years collective experience in the reptile trade we have a wealth of knowledge on offer to help with any reptile related problems you may have.
These care sheets are written by the staff at Reptiles Plus and are how we would suggest caring for and keeping each of the following animals.

Chinese Water Dragon Care Sheet

Chinese Water DragonMinimum requirements for adult WATER DRAGONS of average size (90cm)

  1. 120cm x 60cm x 60cm (4ft x 2ft x 2ft) WOODEN VIVARIUM
  2. UV LIGHTING 10-12% 2/3 LENGTH OF TANK
  3. SPOT LIGHT (pref with thermostat) AND HEAT MAT 1/3 LENGTH OF TANK OR CERAMIC HEATING WITH THERMOSTAT FOR LARGER TANKS
  4. BROAD RANGE VITAMIN AND MINERAL SUPPLEMENT
  5. A LARGE WATER BOWL

Tank Set-Up

Infra Red BulbAll heating should be positioned at same end of the tank, creating a hot basking end. The opposite end should have no heating, creating a cool end. Place your thermometer and / or thermostat sensor in the middle of you tank just off Water Dragon Set Upthe floor, at this point the thermometer should read 84oF/29oC give or take a couple of degrees Fahrenheit the best way to achieve an accurate temperature is with a thermostat. Water dragons do not require a night time drop in temperature. Doing so may cause failure to digest large meals, causing illness.

UV lighting is essential for 12-14 hours a day. The UV tube should start against the wall at the hot end and span 2/3 the length of the enclosure thus creating a UV gradient much like your heating. It is best to position your UV tube and reflector 6-9 inches from the ceiling of a 2ft high vivarium. Only the Arcadia brand bulbs mentioned in this care sheet can be put on the ceiling of a 2ft vivarium with a reflector.

However a word of warning. Reptiles have adapted to living with strong UV radiation from above. Placing the UV tube level or within 45 degrees of the eyes could damage it severely (photokeratoconjunctivitis or cataracts) symptoms include swelling of the eye and area around it or cloudy eye/s. This is thankfully not too common but it is better to be safe and not allow your animal to sit alongside or within a few inches of your tube.

Always remember to replace your UV tube every 6 months unless the manufacturer suggests otherwise. The tube’s UV producing capability will degrade though the tube will show no obvious sign. As far as we can tell only the Arcadia D3+ and T5 range last 12 months and give a virtually guaranteed 12% UV for the duration of that time. Failure to give your new water dragon the proper levels and quality of UV could result in irreversible Metabolic Bone Disorder.

Substrate, Cleaning And Furniture

Orchid BarkOrchid bark is recommended, no other substrates are as suitable. Do not spray your animal more often than once a week. High humidity will more often than not cause respiratory problems as well as skin infection.

Spot clean your tank regularly, if done properly a full tank clean should only be necessary once a month. Only use disinfectants specifically designed for reptiles. Soaps, detergents and other disinfectants can be toxic.

Always provide your water dragon with a large water bowl suitable for your animal to bath in. Fill this bowl with clean fresh drinking water daily; tap water is fine, although there are water treatments available if in doubt.


Feeding And Vitamin Supplements

LocustMany different feeding routines and diets have been used with varying levels of success the best suited to this set-up will be explained below.
Water dragons are insect feeders. Your Common choices are Crickets, Locust, Meal, Morio and Waxworms. Baby and juvenile water dragons should be fed on insects every other day and adult should be fed 2-3 times a week.

The best way to judge what quantity of jumping insects constitutes as a meal is to place a limited amount, say half a dozen crickets or locust into the tank. If your animal is hungry it will eat them immediately, continue to put a couple of insect in the tank every time your animal finishes what it has, until your water dragon stops feeding or appears full (Stops chasing and waits for food). For various worms, place in a bowl for a day and remove what is left. Remember never leave excess crickets or mealworms loose in the tank, they can cause injury to your animal! Water dragons will also eat so much that they fill their stomachs with food, then continue to feed packing food end to end down their esophagus, try to avoid this happening. You can supplement your animal’s diet by replacing an insect meal with a defrosted rodent meal once every 2-3 weeks.Nutrobal

A good quality vitamin and mineral is very important to the well-being of your animal, always read the packaging carefully. We recommend Nutrobal on 2 of 3 meals. Failure to maintain a good supply of vitamins and minerals can result in serious illness.


Handling, Health And Additional Notes

Do not handle your water dragon immediately after a move; leave at least four weeks to allow your animal to settle. Or until your animal appears settled, active and feeding well. If you don’t, one of two things will happen.
1. Your animal may become defensive and aggressive.
2. Your animal may become reclusive and be reluctant to feed properly.

After the initial four weeks handling may begin slowly. Water dragons are naturally friendly, you do not need to restrain or excessively handle them to make them good pets. Always handle your animal near to a surface, accidents can happen and water dragons don’t fly! Always use common sense when handling animals. When it comes to your animals health, if you are ever in doubt ask a respected dealer for their advice, and if still in doubt go to a specialist veterinarian.

Reptile HealthThere are a few simple things to look out for:

  1. Unusual lethargy
  2. Prolonged lack or loss of appetite
  3. Eyes sinking back into the head (dehydration)
  4. Eyes unclear and or sticky
  5. Runny nose
  6. Prolonged diarrhea
  7. Oddly forming limbs
  8. Kinked tail

Avoid putting your water dragon in with any other animals, they are very territorial, but they will live with each other if the correct sex ratios are followed. Please ask a respected dealer for information.

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