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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > Chinese Water Dragon

Chinese Water Dragon


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Traits & behavior

They eat both plant and animal matter - insects plus fruits, vegetables and flowers.

This means that they are active during the day and sleep at night.

Chinese water dragons are healthiest and happiest living alone.

Things to remember

Always supervise children when they're interacting with your Chinese water dragon.

Wait 3-4 days for your pet to adjust to his new surroundings, then try holding him for short amounts of time. Take care to never handle him by the tail - it could break off.

Chinese water dragons love water and do well with small water features in the habitat.

Food safety

  • Insects - Remove uneaten insects from the habitat at the end of day; do not allow to remain in habitat overnight
  • Fruits & vegetables - Fresh foods require their own dish and should be removed from the habitat after four hours to prevent spoilage

Safety & cleanliness
Please remember that all pets may bite or scratch, and may transmit disease to humans. Keep your pet's home clean and wash your hands before and after handling your pet or cleaning his home. Infants, young children, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, and the infirm or elderly are at greater risk of infections and should use caution when in contact with the pet or its habitat. Consult your doctor for more information.


Crickets & worms
Chinese water dragons eat live insects, like "gut loaded" (feed the insects a special supplement so they have extra nutrients) crickets, mealworms or waxworms.

Feeding amount & frequency (insects)
Feed juveniles once a day; adults daily or every other day. Offer an amount that can be consumed by the end of the day.

Vegetables, fruit & flowers

Once a week, offer two teaspoons of kale, thawed frozen mixed vegetables, radishes, summer and winter squashes, all types of melons, red berries, hibiscus or carnation flowers, roses or dandelions.

Calcium dust
"Dust" the insects with a calcium supplement twice a week - ask a PetSmart associate for details.

Provide water in an easily accessible, deep water dish for full-body soaking and swimming; change water daily.


Signs of a healthy Chinese water dragon:

  • Clear, alert eyes
  • Eats and drinks normally
  • Breathes easily
  • Sheds regularly during growth
  • Well-formed droppings every 2-3 days

Things to watch for:

  • Runny droppings or red streaks in droppings for more than two days
  • Eating or drinking less; weight loss
  • Swollen joints
  • Shedding problems; discolored skin
  • Discharge from the eyes, nose or mouth

If you notice any of the signs above, please consult an experienced Reptile Veterinarian as soon as possible.


Use a 55-gallon or larger, glass or glass/screen terrarium with a screen top for ventilation.

Provide natural or artificial rocks or branches.


Keep the humidity level at or near 70%. A hygrometer (humidity gauge) will help you keep track. Mist the surfaces inside the habitat daily.


  • Day - Maintain a daytime temperature between 75-85° F
  • Basking - Use a basking spot lamp to create a localized basking area of 90-95° F
  • Night - Maintain a nighttime temperature between 65-75° F
  • Place a thermometer at each end of the home to monitor temperatures

Use a daytime UVA/UVB fluorescent bulb for approximately 12 hours of light per day to help your pet process calcium.

Line a juvenile's (less than 6" long) home with reptile carpet to prevent ingestion of bedding. For adults, (larger than 6" long) line the home with 2"- 3" of coconut fiber or bark bedding. Remove waste weekly and change bedding at least once a month.

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