I have a 2 year old Chinese Water Dragon that is almost constantly shedding. Is this normal? He never acts as if he is feeling bad. He is actually very active. I've just never had a reptile that sheds as much as he does and I'm a little worried. Any information you have will be greatly appreciated.

ANSWER: When you say he's constantly shedding, do you mean he's going through repeated rapid shed cycles, or do you mean that the shed skin is not all coming off within a couple of days each time, so he always has stuck shed skin on him?

If he's going through rapid shed cycles, check him over for possible mites.  If he has stuck shed, be sure he has a water pool deep enough for him to completely submerse himself in, and clean it once or twice every day.

How frequently he sheds would also be helpful information.  Water dragons do grow very quickly, and reach adult size by age three.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: He is going through repeated shed cycles.  I'd say he sheds at least three times a month.  What would I look for in the case of mites?

Mites are extremely tiny, and can appear as teeny black or tan flecks in the water.  You may also see them crawling around on the animal and in the cage.  (I recommend a magnifying glass).  If his scales look roughed-up, it's time to look carefully.

Here are some resources:

Other things that can cause rapid shed cycles are skin irritations and injuries.


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Donna Fernstrom


My particular focus is on snakes and lizards, but I have a decent smattering of knowledge of turtles and crocodilians as well, plus the experience to get relevant information quickly if I don't have it on hand in my brain. I can answer questions on captive care, diet, breeding, incubation of eggs, starting hatchlings, and more. I am particularly experienced with ball pythons, Lygodactylus geckos and other small lizards with similar care requirements, leopard geckos, and garter snakes.


I am a professional breeder of ball python morphs, Lygodactylus (dwarf) geckos, and mourning geckos. I have begun working with Irian Jaya carpet pythons, and plan to expand to include more gecko species in the future. I also have a background breeding leopard geckos, and have kept several other species of small lizards, snakes, and a water turtle.

Nebraska Herpetological Society (

I have many care sheets published on my own website.

High School Graduate. Extensively self-taught due to high interest in wildlife and reptile care.

Awards and Honors
Fauna Classifieds board of inquiry Good Guy Certification

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