Australian Water Dragon

Husbandry Guide

Author: Northern Veterinary Services |


Australian Water Dragons are omnivores, meaning they eat both insects as well as fruits and vegetables. Reptiles need variety, so ideally the Australian Water Dragon would be offered a salad every day, as well as insects every other day. The days that overlap, salads & insects the dragon can be served a bowl of salad and insects together to entice eating. Salads should mostly consist of a variety of greens, as well as the occasional fruit as a treat. Too much fruit can be harmful to your dragon due to the high sugar content. Your dragon should eat approximately 70% insects, 25% greens/vegetables and 5% fruit.

Vet Care Fort McMurray

Safe foods include:


Mealworms, wax worms, superworms (occasionally, as the hard exterior of these worms can cause impaction), hornworms, butter worms, silkworms, and crickets. Northern Pet Emporium does now carry fresh, vacuum sealed Dubia roaches (Live ones are illegal in Canada). These are an excellent source of protein. Be sure to dust and feed any live insects so your dragon’s bones stay strong and healthy. 100% calcium dust should be used but you can also alternate with a reptile multivitamin.


Rotate protein sources regularly in order to round out the nutrient profile.


*Make sure to give small pieces of vegetables to avoid choking hazards and to encourage intake of a variety of items; shredding vegetables will help make them more manageable for your dragon to eat.

A clean kitchen grater is fine for this job!*

Dandelion greens, Collard greens, swiss chard, leafy greens, mustard greens, romaine lettuce, kale, arugula, carrots, squash, endive. You can also dust their salads with supplements to enrich the nutrients in their food.

*Iceberg lettuce is very low in nutritional value and is not recommended for consumption*

Try to mix between 5-10 different greens and veggies into EACH salad daily.


If you have a poor source of UVB you may need to dust with D3 as well, regularly.


  • Always build/buy the biggest enclosure that you can possibly accommodate. An enclosure can never be too big! As an adult the minimum enclosure size is 3m x 2m.
  • Adequate ventilation is absolutely essential for an indoor enclosure. There needs to be good airflow through the enclosure to make sure that humidity does not get too high and fresh air can circulate. You will need less ventilation in our colder climate, where retaining heat is most important; however you will always need to make sure that humidity stays low as dragons can easily contract respiratory infections and have mould and fungal problems if humidity is too high.
  • Reptiles thrive when they feel safe and secure, you can help your dragon by providing multiple hides for them to hide in, pet stores have many options for this. It is recommended to provide a hide on the warm side and a hide on the cool side. Hides should be large enough for your dragon to completely hide himself.

Water Area:

  • Water dragons need a large water area. In an indoor enclosure this is best done by having a large plastic tub, that can be easily moved in and out of the enclosure for cleaning.
  • The water area should be at least big enough for the dragon to fully submerge itself, and the dragons should preferably be able to swim around.
  • Make sure that the dragons can get out of the water – they can drown surprisingly easily. Either have a sloping bank or objects in the water that they can use to get out.
  • Branches for the dragons to perch on and areas for them to hide are essential. Water dragons feel more secure when they have easy access to water, so they will appreciate having some branches over their water area. Typically the water area sits in the middle of the enclosure to help keep the water area warm and comfortable.


Australian Water Dragons require a heat gradient, which means that they need to have a hot side & a cool side, the hot side should include a basking area with a temperature of 100f-110f. The basking area can include slate, rocks or tile for your dragon to lay and bask on, as these are similar to their natural habitat and will greatly help in keeping temperatures high enough. These can be purchased at your local hardware store, petstore, or F&A Aquariums downtown has an excellent selection! You can check your temperatures with a temperature gun to ensure adequate temperatures. The enclosure should gradually decrease to 75f-80f on the cool side, and a warm “in between” temperature for the middle area of the enclosure. This can be achieved with heat bulbs from your local pet store. This gives your dragon the opportunity to regulate their own temperature by moving around their enclosure freely.


Dragons require UVB rays which can be achieved with artificial light bulbs, they can be purchased from your local pet stores or specialty reptile stores. The most ideal UVB bulb is a linear “tube” shaped bulb which stretches across the back of the enclosure, the T5 bulb is ideal as it has strong rays and lasts the longest of most UVB lights, however, this bulb needs to be replaced every 6 months regardless of if the bulb is still lighting up in order to have enough UVB output.

Alternatively you can opt for a specific type of bulb called a “Mega Ray” bulb, which includes both heat and UVB rays, giving your reptile the best of both worlds without some of the confusion/hassle that multiple bulbs can cause. Mega Ray bulbs also have a guaranteed UVB output of 12-16 months, this will help cut down on the amount of bulbs you will need to purchase over time. Make sure to read specific directions on both types of bulbs to ensure safety for your pet.