CHINESE WATER DRAGON - ©Joe Kellard/wildlightgalleries.com
Water dragons are large diurnal arboreal agamid lizards in the genus Physignathus. There are two species, the Chinese water dragon Physignathus cocincinus, and the Australian water dragon Physignathus lesueurii (two sub-species). They are sometimes kept as pets, especially P. cocincinus, though a full-grown male of that species will measure about three feet (1 meter) total length.
The Chinese Water Dragon (P. cocincinus) is found throughout South-East Asia, in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and south China. These lizards are semi-aquatic, using their laterally-compressed tails to propel them when swimming. They are able to remain submerged for long periods of time. Like many lizards, water dragons have a parietal eye, a light-sensitive “third eye” located in the top of the head.
Physignathus lesueurii males are easily distinguished from the females as they have a red coloured chest and belly, which is mostly visible when they lift their heads in defensive mode. Generally water dragons are usually shy creatures in the wild that may only make themselves known to the passer by from the sound of them dropping into a waterway.
However, in breeding season, the mothers may become more aggressive in order to make themselves known to distract any potential predators from capturing her young. Juveniles are very sociable, playful creatures and are usually found in groups ranging from 3 - 8 young dragons.