EASTERN WATER DRAGON
PHYSIGNATHUS LESUEURII LESUEURII
The Eastern Water Dragon (Physignathus
lesueurii lesueurii) is from Eastern Coast of Australia. They are
tolerant of humidity and cooler temperatures. The Eastern Water Dragon is
hardy, not much of a fussy eater, and loves bathing in water. They must be provided a good
sized water pool or pond that they can completely submerge themselves in. They also
defecate in the water and very little out of the water. Therefore the water must be
(The above pics show the obvious male / female
difference in appearance. The top picture being the Female, and the lower being the Male.
These are both five years of age.)
Eastern Water Dragons are a pet for anyone
who wants something different and large!! Males are said to reach 1 metre in length, and
females up to 80cm in length. They can live in captivity for approx. 25 years if they
aren't forced in growth during their first two years. If they are forced then their life
expectancy is halved. 70% of their length is tail, which is slightly flattened vertically
and is used as a paddle when swimming. Their tails are very strong and don't fall off if
grabbed like a Gecko or Skink. However, it is not recommended to grab their tails as
this can cause irreparable damage to the tail or their spine.
Like Turtles, the Eastern Water Dragon
requires correct lighting, diet and specialised housing in order for them to thrive.
Housing Hatchling Water Dragons can be
done easily in an empty glass fish tank. We have raised two hatchlings in a tank 120 x 40
x 40cm. If I was to raise up to four hatchlings then I would recommend using a tank 150 x
50 x 50cm. A large water tray, bark on the floor, a flat rock under a heat lamp, and a UVB
Reptile light above was pretty much the tank set up. It is worth mentioning here that the
UVB Reptile light must be no more than 300mm away from the Dragons basking
spot as the effectiveness of the light is greatly reduced the further away it is. See Reptile Lighting page for the correct
lighting for your Reptile.
We found that the tank was a perfect sized home until they
were about 15 months of age. When they got to this age they were growing quite fast and
were continuously trying to climb the walls to escape. This is when we moved them to their
outside enclosure. The outside enclosure is much like a small bird aviary. The strong 1/4
inch mesh is great for them to be able to climb to the best sunning position. Plenty of
logs and plants for them to climb also make the enclosure look more natural.
(The same pair as above basking together in the