The Australian Water Dragon is best kept in a large wooden vivarium. Wood is an excellent insulator of heat and so a wooden vivarium will make it easier to control the crucial temperatures required inside the habitat. Other enclosures such as glass terrariums are far too efficient at releasing heat making it difficult to get up to temperature and keep this temperature consistent throughout the year. The wooden vivarium should also have good ventilation to help remove humidity and replenish the air in the enclosure.
The vivarium should be at least 1150mm (46") in length and 915mm (36") tall. There are 2 main reasons for this; firstly Australian Water Dragons are not small lizards and can easily grow to 1m in length and they require a proportionate amount of space to live happily. Secondly, the vivarium needs to have a sufficient length to allow for the creation of a temperature gradient. The enclosure needs to be intensely hot at one end, but have enough distance for the temperature to drop at the cool end. With Water Dragons height is another factor, these animals can be very active and do like to spend a lot of time off of the ground.
During the day, Australian Water Dragons require a very hot basking temperature. This is achieved by using heat lamps at one end of the vivarium. Basking temperatures should be between of 37C- 43C and should be on for 10- 12 hours per day. It is easy to set all lamps on to timers to make it easier to manage.
At night temperatures and darkness can drop to 24C-26C. The basking lights should be switched off and temperatures can be created using a ceramic night bulb, these radiate heat but produce no light which will not disturb the Lizards. Temperatures should be monitored daily using a thermometer.
Australian Water Dragons are from intense UV regions and are animals that actively bask in hot climates naturally receive a high dose of UVB from the sun. Their UVB tube should reflect that. A fluorescent UVB tube should be used inside the vivarium with a reflector so no UVB is wasted. The tube should be at least 10% UVB for this species. There are 2 different types of fluorescent tube, T8 and T5. T5 tubes are the new technology providing double the range (24'') and lasting twice as long (12 months) so if possible we would recommend the upgrade. Glass and even mesh can filter UVB light so it is recommended that the tube is inside the vivarium to provide maximum dosage.
These lizards require UVB in order to synthesise vitamin D3 inside their skin. The vitamin D3 helps the dragon to absorb calcium which crucial for bone structure and growth. Without the UVB the dragon may not be able to use the calcium in it's diet.
Aurstralian Water Dragons should be kept on a slightly moist substrate to increase the humidity inside the vivarium. Whilst any loose substrate has the potential to be accidentally swallowed, we have found this to not be a problem with coarse bark chips and that is what we keep our water dragons on.
Australian Water Dragons are partially an arboreal lizard, they do like to climb on top of things to survey their surroundings. The vivarium should be decorated with various pieces of wood to enable them to do this, making for a happy Dragon!
Thevivarium can be decorated with artificial plants for a more natural look. Natural wood ornaments look very effective and also provide further perches for the Water Dragon. Trailing plants are very good at disguising electrical wires and equipment, as well as providing cover for young lizards.
Diet & Water
Australian Water Dragons are insectivores and will mainly eat live foods like crickets, locust and mealworms. All live food should be dusted with vitamin powder to ensure that the dragon is getting all of the minerals and nutrients it requires. We also stock a range of lizard food especially designed for Water Dragons, our dragons love it!
The vivarium should be misted with water every morning to provide hydration and humidity. A water bowl or running waterfall may also be used to provide a fresh source of drinking water.
To provide Australian Water Dragons with optimal nutrition and to keep them in the best of health, they will require diet supplementation in the form of calcium, vitamins and minerals which are most commonly available as powders however we also stock sprays.
Calcium should be provided daily and dusted directly onto the dragon's food. Vitamins may be added daily for water dragons. Any live food should also be 'gut-loaded' with an insect food. This basically involves feeding the live food a nutrient rich diet before they are fed to the water dragon.