Chinese water dragon

Animal File

Rivers and streams
Common Name:
Chinese water dragon
Scientific Name:
Physignathus cocincinus
Size: Up to one metre in length
India, China, Asia
Conservation Status
Not evaluated

Chinese water dragons can grow up to one metre in length from head to tail. Their colouring can vary from a dark brown/green to a pale green. Their undersides are lighter in colour from white to a pale green but their throats can be very vivid in colour displaying yellows and orange tones and used for displaying.

The diet of a Chinese water dragon mainly consists of insects and occasionally small fish, mammals or reptiles.

Water dragons are most commonly found along the banks of streams and freshwater lakes, spending most of their day in trees or bushes. If threatened by a predator, they can take advantage of this environment and drop from trees into the water below them to escape and swim to safety. They can also remain submerged under water for up to 25 minutes.  Like the tail of other lizards and iguanas, they can be used as a whip like weapon, as well as to assist swimming and for balance.

Water dragons reach sexual maturity at the age of two years. Mating can be somewhat violent with the male showing dominance – initially the male will bop its head up and down and wave its legs around, following this they bite the female’s neck and grab hold.  The female will lay around three or four eggs in an underground nest and after around 65 days the hatchlings are born measuring around 15cm in length from front head to tail.

The Oceanarium’s water dragons live above the Ganges river display on tree branches that were built to replicate their natural habitat.

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