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Reptiles/Getting a Chinese water dragon

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Question
I want a Chinese water dragon, I have read books and websites and videos on them and how to take care of them. People say this is a pet for more experienced people I have never had a lizard I have had a snake and some fish, and I'm home a lot so I can take care of it. But I just want to know could I get one with the understanding that I will need to give it a lot of attention, or should I not get one?

Answer
Bryce, IMHO Water dragons get that reputation because they do not typically do very well in captivity.  Probably mostly because nearly 100% of the ones you see for sale are imported animals which have been HIGHLY stressed by the time they reach your hands.  Couple that with the fact that most people spend as little as possible on the cage for the lizard (read that 10-20 gallon glass tank) and you have a recipe for death.  

SO, if you really want one these lizards first really do some research on caging.  Screen is better than glass and bigger is better than smaller.  Lighting MUST be considered.  They have to have UVB.  Live plants seem to help this species.  Where are you going to get food, and you can't just feed it the same thing over and over again, it wouldn't eat like that in the wild.  Then if you're still willing to spend $200-300 on caging for a $20-40 animal we go to the next step-picking one out.

Babies are going to be the cheapest, easiest to find, and easiest to tame.  DO NOT BUY ONE UNLESS YOU SEE IT EAT!  If they are lethargic and lying around with their eyes closed they are probably going to die.  If they are active and eating at least you have a 50-50 shot!  

Once you get it home do not touch it for a week!  Let it acclimate to it's new cage and really start pounding food before you even begin to "play with it," assuming you plan on doing that.  Reptiles don't need attention the way cats and dogs do, so remember that as well.  They would prefer to be left alone.

Good Luck!

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BPC

Expertise

My area of expertise would be snakes and reptile genetics (again mostly w/ snakes). Although I have dealt w/ almost all species of reptiles commonly sold in the US.

Experience

15 years keeping, breeding, selling, and teaching about reptiles.

Organizations
Past board member of the Central FL Herpetological Society

Education/Credentials
B.S. Biology Ed. UCF

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