Does anyone have any Australian Water Dragon experience?

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lifesagame
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Does anyone have any Australian Water Dragon experience?

Postby lifesagame » Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:02 am

Hope this is allowed and I know this is probably a long shot but I thought I’d ask on here anyway. Does anyone have experience keeping an Australian Water Dragon? There seems to be so much conflicting info out there I thought I’d see if anyone has first hand experience with them. I’ve been researching them for months but they don’t seem to be all that common in the pet trade at the moment, or at least not many people are talking about them!

Anyway, the main reason I’m asking is because I was looking on preloved and there’s one available for rehoming less than 10 miles away, considering how far most have been in the months I’ve been looking it feels like it’s a case of right place at the right time. The thing is I don’t have a viv ready, I was going to start working on a 4ft by 2ft and 4ft tall, which would be perfect for the space I have and could be upgraded when I move somewhere with more space.

The AWD comes with a 3ft by 2ft by 3ft tall viv that I guess he’s been in a while. He’s nearly 2 years old so maybe fully grown and it seems like it may be too small for him going by info I’ve found online, I’d guess he looks around 2 1/2 ft long. I’m just wondering if it would be ok to keep him in there for maybe up to a year depending on how long it takes for me to make/source a viv and create the background and water area I want or not. If I made it I could even go up to 5 feet tall, it might just mean a longer wait and a bit of a reshuffle rather than buying one.

I wouldn’t want to keep him in a space so small it would cause him long term issues but it’s so rare they appear in the area I live in and it’s such a good price (£200 for everything when I mainly see them £250+ without equipment plus petrol costs for travel) it just feels like I might miss an opportunity. I also don’t want him to be something I buy because it seems a good opportunity and not be ready for him.

As I said, it’s a long shot but I thought I’d ask, there don’t seem to be many people talking about them online and the few I did know of have gone quiet on the forums. If you got this far thanks for reading, it got a bit longer than I meant it to! :D
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Re: Does anyone have any Australian Water Dragon experience?

Postby kingofnobbys » Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:13 am

Eastern water dragons or Gippsland water dragons ?

https://australianmuseum.net.au/learn/a ... gJXvfD_BwE

https://media.australianmuseum.net.au/m ... 87ca78.pdf

There is a good introductory book that will set you on the right
Keeping Australian Water Dragons by D.Green, J. Goulding

More details in this
A Guide to Australian Dragons in Captivity
Dr,D Brown (Author)
there's a Kindle version of this one too.

Be aware they LOVE to have big pond in their tank (and will spend lots of time in it and even completely submerged sometimes) and EWDs are a formable dragon when fill grown upwards of 90cm long and appreciate 10% to 12% UVB.
This is kind of terrain they like
Image
so long as it's near a creek or impoundment or river.
Last edited by kingofnobbys on Wed Apr 24, 2019 10:21 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Does anyone have any Australian Water Dragon experience?

Postby kingofnobbys » Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:30 am

lifesagame wrote:Hope this is allowed and I know this is probably a long shot but I thought I’d ask on here anyway. Does anyone have experience keeping an Australian Water Dragon? There seems to be so much conflicting info out there I thought I’d see if anyone has first hand experience with them. I’ve been researching them for months but they don’t seem to be all that common in the pet trade at the moment, or at least not many people are talking about them!

Anyway, the main reason I’m asking is because I was looking on preloved and there’s one available for rehoming less than 10 miles away, considering how far most have been in the months I’ve been looking it feels like it’s a case of right place at the right time. The thing is I don’t have a viv ready, I was going to start working on a 4ft by 2ft and 4ft tall, which would be perfect for the space I have and could be upgraded when I move somewhere with more space.

The AWD comes with a 3ft by 2ft by 3ft tall viv that I guess he’s been in a while. He’s nearly 2 years old so maybe fully grown and it seems like it may be too small for him going by info I’ve found online, I’d guess he looks around 2 1/2 ft long. I’m just wondering if it would be ok to keep him in there for maybe up to a year depending on how long it takes for me to make/source a viv and create the background and water area I want or not. If I made it I could even go up to 5 feet tall, it might just mean a longer wait and a bit of a reshuffle rather than buying one.
<<< I'd focus on a tank maybe 6ft L x 4ft D x 4ft T with about 1/3 the floor area devoted to a warmed diving/bathing pond , deep enough for him fully submerge in , placing this under basking spot ( piece of tree branch / driftwood ) will ensure the water is kept warmer.

A nice setup shown here
Image

guidelines by NatParks NSW
Spatial Requirements
The NSW Exhibited Animal Protection Authority (EAPA) has spatial requirements for one to two
lizards which is 2.5L x 2.5L (where L = the total length of the largest specimen)
(Anonymous 2004:10-1). Water Dragons have a total length of 95cm, therefore the
minimum floor space for two adult lizards (even if one is larger) is 237.5cm x 237.5cm.

The EAPA has standards for the minimum size of holding enclosures, this is 1.5L x 1.5L
(where L = the total length of the largest specimen being held) therefore the minimum
size would be a floor space of 142cm x142cm. In order to provide suitable height the
enclosure should be at least 100cm from floor to ceiling (Anonymous 2004:11).


Bigger the happier the dragon as he'll have more opportunities for mental enrichment.
EWD ARE VERY SMART and inquisitive and will appreciate extra things to investigate and they do tame up like a BTS or bearded dragon in the right hands. You can literally sense that they are thinkers.
I've have actually befriended my local wild EWDs that visit my yard and often hand feed them mealworms , superworms and crickets.

You will need to build the tank yourself as since you are in the UK it's going to be too cold to keep him in a enclosed pit or converted aviary except in the peak of summer.
I live in the natural range of EWDs and frequently see a mature male in my back yard and occasionally see juveniles hanging about the garden and sunning on my concrete garden paths. I am only about 1/4 mile from the local creek where there is a colony of EWDs and they breed.

Practice here is the hatchlings and juveniles under 12 months old are generally housed in bearded dragon style tanks (except the addition of a large pond and nice deep bedding for them to scratch about in). Adults are generally kept outdoors (NSW, QLD in Australia) in converted colourbond raised garden beds , or converted rain water tanks, or converted bulk water tanks , or in bird style aviaries.
In my area , the adults are generally kept in outdoor enclosures all year round ( coastal northern NSW ).

Diet : see bearded dragon diet as good starting point .




I wouldn’t want to keep him in a space so small it would cause him long term issues but it’s so rare they appear in the area I live in and it’s such a good price (£200 for everything when I mainly see them £250+ without equipment plus petrol costs for travel) it just feels like I might miss an opportunity. I also don’t want him to be something I buy because it seems a good opportunity and not be ready for him.

As I said, it’s a long shot but I thought I’d ask, there don’t seem to be many people talking about them online and the few I did know of have gone quiet on the forums. If you got this far thanks for reading, it got a bit longer than I meant it to! :D


I have PMed you two more relevant message board links , you are more likely to get sound advise by visiting these and sourcing for advise on EWD care and housing than you will on this board or other "foreign" boards. Here in Australia , especially the eastern states , EWDs and GWDs very commonly kept as pets and regularly captive bred, nearly as common as bluetongues and bearded dragons in the hobby , you'll be much more likely to get more very good advise by visiting Australian herp boards.
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Re: Does anyone have any Australian Water Dragon experience?

Postby lifesagame » Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:14 pm

I'm pretty sure all of the 'Australian' water dragons I've seen are easterns. As far as I know there aren't many Gippsland ones here in the UK but they're all on sale/for rehoming as Australian rather than eastern that I've found.

Thanks for the links, I'll go check out the forums too. I think I have the one link already bookmarked (the 18 page one) but have lost count of the different pages I've seen so good to know which are the most reliable :) I think as I'm based in the UK most of my Google results have been European and American based and the general idea size wise when it comes to enclosures seems very different. Generally a floor space of 4ft by 2-3ft seems to be what a lot recommend and then a minimum of 100cm tall which seemed small to me going by the size of them fully grown and their arboreal nature. I was planning on going as big as possible when I had the space but hoping that a smaller 4ft by 2ft floor space with 4ft height would be ok in the mean time for a few years but looks like I was a bit optimistic!

I have been recommended a place that does custom vivs and aquariums who could add a tank for part of the bottom so when it comes to getting one if I go with a built in water area rather than adding a small preformed pond like I originally planned I might go with that as I’m not sure I’d trust my building skills with something like that! That enclosure looks amazing, I’d love to be able to achieve something that looked like that on a smaller scale, being an aquarium enclosure it looks huge.
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Re: Does anyone have any Australian Water Dragon experience?

Postby kingofnobbys » Thu Apr 25, 2019 12:26 am

Before I got my bearded dragons I was considering the option of a mixed pair of EWD hatchlings , the bearded dragon hatchlings were found on GumTree first and the breeder was only 90 km away rather than being in Sydney (Penrith) so that decided that and I bought my first pair of central bearded dragons and it's been bearded dragons, eastern bluetongues and eastern water skinks since.
EWDs , bearded dragons and eastern bluetongues sell as hatchlings or babies for about $50 - $100 each here (often cheaper if bought in groups of 3 or 4 with one male in the group) here in NSW.

I had planned on a home made tank for the EWDs had I gone that way , I was going to use a Connectit System aluminium frame with 6mm clear acrylic walls , and a 34L UBT like this as the "pond"
a 34L Long Underbed Storer Clear Plastic Storage Container Organizer Box with a ring of bricks around to help keep the substrate in the rest of the tank kinda dry. They are W:39cm H:15.5cm L:79cm.
https://www.bunnings.com.au/all-set-34l ... s_p2583375
These 34L underbed storage tubs are perfect depth for an adult to be able submerge itself in and are durable enough if full of water and so not exposed to UV. I know several people who have these in their EWD and GWD tanks where they have only one or two adults , works even better outside , they simply top up the water every few days using a garden hose.

Others go to the extent of making the ponds from fiberglass and staining the wet resin to make it look natural, others have even make fake waterfalls in the water dragon setups.

One of our friends has a very people orientated adult female EWD who greets visitors at the front door and wags her tail at them (like a dog) and had the run of her house , she has a MVB setup under a lampstand so her water dragon can warm up when she needs to, and she leaves some water in the walk in shower for it to visit.
And she puts herself back into her tank when she has had enough freerange time.
This water dragon loves to sit on her lounge next to her when she's watching TV and it enjoys a snuggle and being petted. She bought it as a little hatchling and has literally hand raised it, even hand feeding it when it was little.
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Re: Does anyone have any Australian Water Dragon experience?

Postby lifesagame » Thu Apr 25, 2019 3:31 am

That sounds amazing, having a lizard that could have the run of the house, I’d love to even let one have the run of a room but I don’t think any of them are 100% lizard proof. I am thinking of taking away the cabinet under my skink’s home so he can be on the floor and have a little area he can wander in that’s fenced off so if I got an EWD I could do a similar thing.

I have a few empty under bed storage things a similar size. I was thinking I’d use one and a few other things I already have to try and make a summer enclosure for it if the weather was up to it and see how it went. I’d still have to bring it in at night because we have a big problem with foxes and badgers when it comes to smaller outdoors pets in the area so I wouldn’t risk it even if the temps and humidity were fine.

Until the past few months I’ve not seen EWDs available anywhere in the UK near me. They seemed to be stocked in reptile shops maybe ten years ago a lot more than now. The latest animal list I found with them in was 2013 and then they were £200+ for a juvenile. I think the CWDs have just become popular and the Australian Water dragons in general have become less popular. I don’t think I’ve been into a reptile shop that doesn’t have at least one CWD recently.

This is the size I was recommended from European/Americans as a good size (not even the minimum) https://southdown-aquatics.co.uk/shop/4 ... -vivarium/ and I think it’s what a lot of people would keep a Chinese Water Dragon in too, so many of the setups I’ve looked at for any type of water dragons outside of Australia have these dimensions.

This is the one I found near me and he just looks so big for that vivarium. I need to stop looking at him or I’ll end up getting him and having looked at my space I do only realistically have the area for a vivarium with a 4ft by 2ft base.
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Re: Does anyone have any Australian Water Dragon experience?

Postby kingofnobbys » Thu Apr 25, 2019 3:59 am

Handsome adult male EWD.

A big lizard like a mature EWD is pretty easy to keep in a given room , he's too big to slip under the door ( but if he's like my recent adult male central bearded dragon - doors didn't stop him, if it wasn't latched he simply opened it using his hands and nose as we found out one afternoon with corner pantry door).

I regularly let my adult eastern bluetongues and adult bearded dragons go freerange in my house (I simply close the doors to the rooms I want them to stay out off and block off gaps between the walls and furnature with cardboard shipping boxes, and they are always supervised by one of us (my wife or me).
We are obsessive about making sure there in nothing on the floor that a skink or dragon might ingest that might be toxic or cause impaction. My BTs and CBDs love their adventure time (which they get individually).
The water skink is too small , so she get to come out for interaction with me by crawling all over me , the lounge next to me and the coffee table (she loves looking at the tub I keep the superworms in and the tub I raise silkworms in, and likes supervising me when I'm typing stuff on the computer, checks each key I hit.

Can't comment on the housing needs for a CWD (Chinese water dragon).
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Re: Does anyone have any Australian Water Dragon experience?

Postby kingofnobbys » Thu Apr 25, 2019 4:23 am

lifesagame wrote:That sounds amazing, having a lizard that could have the run of the house, I’d love to even let one have the run of a room but I don’t think any of them are 100% lizard proof. I am thinking of taking away the cabinet under my skink’s home so he can be on the floor and have a little area he can wander in that’s fenced off so if I got an EWD I could do a similar thing.

I have a few empty under bed storage things a similar size. I was thinking I’d use one and a few other things I already have to try and make a summer enclosure for it if the weather was up to it and see how it went. I’d still have to bring it in at night because we have a big problem with foxes and badgers when it comes to smaller outdoors pets in the area so I wouldn’t risk it even if the temps and humidity were fine.
[color=#00FF00]<<< be aware they are extremely powerful diggers , so you'll need the outdoor cage on a concrete slab or to have wire mesh under the ground .[/color]

Until the past few months I’ve not seen EWDs available anywhere in the UK near me. They seemed to be stocked in reptile shops maybe ten years ago a lot more than now. The latest animal list I found with them in was 2013 and then they were £200+ for a juvenile. I think the CWDs have just become popular and the Australian Water dragons in general have become less popular. I don’t think I’ve been into a reptile shop that doesn’t have at least one CWD recently.

<<< strickly illegal for EWD and GWD to be exported from Australia. Also illegal to take them from the wild.
Doesn't stop animal traffickers from trying to sneek them out as young hatchlings (most of which never survive the horrendous and cruel way they are packed and trafficked.


This is the size I was recommended from European/Americans as a good size (not even the minimum) https://southdown-aquatics.co.uk/shop/4 ... -vivarium/ and I think it’s what a lot of people would keep a Chinese Water Dragon in too, so many of the setups I’ve looked at for any type of water dragons outside of Australia have these dimensions.

This is the one I found near me and he just looks so big for that vivarium. I need to stop looking at him or I’ll end up getting him and having looked at my space I do only realistically have the area for a vivarium with a 4ft by 2ft base.


Just for your information : there is a 3rd species of water dragon in Australia : Northern Water Dragons aka Swamplands Lashtails aka Ta Ta Lizards (Tropicagama temporalis)

hatchling
Image
adult
Image

Their natural range
Image

They are smaller than their eastern counterparts and sometimes show up for sale locally here as hatchlings. These little guys are about the size of a lawsons bearded dragon.

Forgot about them til I saw an ad offering hatchlings of these from a breeder in Sydney. So tempted , but also tempted by the Nobbis they have too.
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Re: Does anyone have any Australian Water Dragon experience?

Postby lifesagame » Thu Apr 25, 2019 9:57 am

I suppose that actually the room I let my BTS loose in would be pretty EWD proof, it’s just that my BTS seems to find ways to squash himself into gaps I don’t think he could fit in and I’m paranoid about him getting behind the fitted cupboards, not sure how we’d get him out! He has time out most days, he tends to sulk after a viv clean so buries himself and refuses to come out for days, but he does love exploring. The only thing is we have a dog so I do have to limit where/when he is out and keep the dog locked in the kitchen or the garden. When he was small the BTS did figure out the stairs, that was fun to watch with me in front of him in case he fell :lol: my old beardie was more of a look don’t touch lizard, he was not a fan of being out of his vivarium, so I sort of forget that other lizards might not fit themselves into spaces that Norbert tries to! As I work from home in the room with the vivarium an EWD could be out and wandering around with a container of water on the floor and a heat lamp for a while if it was friendly enough and not stressed by it.

I’m just surprised that EWDs aren’t as popular as some other species, they look nice (to me anyway), seem to have a fairly nice temperament when you compare them to some lizards, and they seem like they might not be too hard to breed in Europe given the size of one breeder I was given a link to.

I haven’t seen northern water dragons before, they sound like they’d be a good size with a smaller enclosure than the other water dragons. I’ll maybe have a look and see if they made it to the UK before the ban in exports. It’s always interesting to find new reptile species and learn about them. :)
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Re: Does anyone have any Australian Water Dragon experience?

Postby splashy07 » Fri Apr 26, 2019 9:32 am

Looks exactly like the one I had years ago, his name was Blaze for his beautiful red undersides. Very easy to keep, at the time I was using glass tanks (all this newfangled stuff they have now wasn't available back then!) He was housed in a 125g tank with a large water pan and overhanging branches. Was one of the easiest lizards I've ever kept except for the fact that they defecate in the water, but that in itself kept the cage clean. I let a friend talk me out of it as he wanted for breeding purposes that never panned out, and since he has been sold again. One of my many regrets of those I let go.
He loved large insects, earthworms, pinkie mice and just about anything that moved. Was a sweet tame pet that would hang out with you for hours. Good Lord I miss him.
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Re: Does anyone have any Australian Water Dragon experience?

Postby lifesagame » Fri Apr 26, 2019 3:56 pm

He sounds like a great dragon. The more I'm reading from people replying on different forums the more I want one. It's definitely top of my list of reptiles when I have the space. As Eastern Water Dragons were suggested as a possible reptile when I said the space I had I think I got a bit ahead of myself. I just hope whoever gets the one on Preloved puts him in a decent sized enclosure and doesn't leave him in the 3x2 all his life.

I'm thinking I'll possibly be getting a Storr's monitor with the size of the space I have, it seems a more realistic lizard size wise. Very different from a water dragon but I really like monitors, I've wanted one since seeing boscs loose in various reptile shops, and they seem like a nice size as a first monitor. They always seemed out of my budget in the past when I was researching them and Ackies monitors years ago but they seem more attainable now. I'm not sure I'll ever go onto much bigger monitors but I can dream :lol:

Looking on the forums you sent me the link to kingofnobbys it sounds like the vivarium sizing would be ok for how they're kept there too, it seems the same worldwide for these. It's odd how much of a difference there is in recommended enclosure sizes geographically for some animals, not even just within the reptile world. I know something as simple and common as gerbils have a range of recommended tank sizes in different countries.

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