Water Dragons

Although it can be a challenge it is not impossible to breed these lizards. In my last article I talked about their housing and feeding needs, so in this one I will concentrate on their breeding requirements. Picking up a breeding pair is fairly hard because it is hard to sex water dragons, but if you stick to breeders who know how you should be alright. To do this at a pet store yourself where the employee is not too sure I would suggest looking for the following characteristics. Males mostly have bigger rooster combs at about a half a year old, and females tend to scrap it out at an early age of about 4 months. You could try buying 3 hatchling and take your chances but be prepared to keep 3 enclosures because sometimes water dragons regardless of sex just will not get along. At around late fall and winter water dragons will start to breed. So in the early fall lower your light period which is mostly around 12 to 14 hours a day to around 10 hours a day and decrease feeding to about once a week. Heating should be lowered at night to about 74 degrees and back up during the day to 85 for about two months and then return everything back to normal. When they do decide to breed you may get a little freaked because the male will grab the female by the neck violently and drag her off to his favourite spot and breed her several times.

Within the next 20 days you will need to set up a lay box for the gravid female. This box should be about 20 inches long by 12 inches wide by about 18 inches deep and should be kept away from the water tub. Fill it with damp soil and sphagnum moss to about 10 to 12 inches making sure the mixture is not to wet or to dry. When picked up and packed it should not fall completely apart or ooze water so when she digs it will not fall back into the hole or pool water. If done wrong she may hold onto the eggs and get egg bound which is a very serious condition. When she is ready she will start her digging process and then lay up to an average of 8 to 14 eggs. Sometimes you will see her digging a second hole on the other side of the lay box as a decoy.

You can make your own incubator by using a 20 gallon fish tank and adding 3 and a half inches of water, and then placing a 75 watt submersible aquarium heater in the water. Place a brick in the water so that a plastic storage container can be placed on top of it above the water level. Fill the container with an inch or so of moistened vermiculite (10 parts vermiculite to one part water by volume). A thermometer is placed inside the storage box, and a lid with an eighth inch hole in each corner is put on top the fish tank. Adjust the temperature on the heater until you achieve the proper temps for incubation (84-86 degrees). Now dig up the eggs, being very careful not to turn them at all. Bury the eggs in the container two thirds of the way covered and about an inch apart from each other. In about 55 to 70 days you should have hatchlings, in-between this time you should check eggs for yellowing or mold. If an egg is yellow or has mold you just throw it out, but if mold is present you can reduce humidity by opening the lid a little for a few hours a day. I suggest you check the eggs about twice a week and make sure they are in an area where they are not being bumped or vibrated.

When your baby lizards hatch be sure to remove them quickly so they do not injure any other eggs, and as a side note I would suggest putting some floating bark in the water just in case a baby decides to go for a swim. Place babies into their enclosure, it should be set up like the adults but on a smaller scale. The water tub needs a branch to avoid drowning and food sources should be sized accordingly.


About Dragon Mystic

I fell in love with dragons when I read Tea With the Black Dragon, and never looked back. Not the clunky winged Medieval dragons that ate cows, the graceful Asian dragons that could fly without wings. Later I discovered the elegant Welsh dragons, red and white, as described by R.J. Stewart in his books on the historical Merlin.
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