Taken: March 24th, 2008.
The Chinese water dragon (green lizard) Physignathus cocincinus can grow up to 36 inches in length for males and up to 24 inches for females. Its color can vary between bright green and dark brown.
These lizards are native to Southeast Asia. They swim well, and can submerge themselves for up to 30 minutes. They eat insects, small fish such as goldfish, small mammals such as "pinky" mice, and vegetation. The dragon typically will drop from a branch into a body of water when startled.
Chinese water dragons are fairly new to the pet trade, and as such most that are sold in pet stores are wild caught juveniles that are imported. When kept as pets they require special accommodations, needing a large enclosure and branches and items to climb on. A pool should allow it to submerge at least one third of its body. To simulate the rain forest environment the humidity should be 80%, with a daytime temperature of 84-88 degrees F, a basking zone of 90-95 degrees F, and a night time of 75-80 degrees F. As with most diurnal reptiles, they require both UV-A and UV-B lighting in order to properly absorb calcium. Chinese water dragons have an excellent temperament, rarely bite, and make good pets.