Feeding Your Chinese Water Dragon
Chinese Water Dragons are primarily insectivorous, which means that they get most of their nutrients from eating a wide variety of insects. However, they are also known to eat vegetation, fruits, and small animals. They can get bored of eating the same thing every day, so you need to provide a large variety of foods as part of enabling your pet to thrive. Offer as many insects as your dragon will eat via feeding tweezers in 5 minutes. Hard-bodied insects should be no longer than the dragon’s head and no wider than the space between its eyes.
As your dragon nears adulthood, monitor its body condition, and adjust the feeding schedule accordingly. If it’s losing weight and looking too skinny, feed it more. If it’s gaining weight and looking fat, feed it less. It helps to use photos of wild Chinese Water Dragons as a reference for body condition. Here is a quick list of safe insects you can feed your pet water dragon:
- Discoid roaches
- Dubia roaches
- Red runner roaches
- Snails (captive bred only)
All feeder insects should be lightly dusted with a 50/50 mixture of calcium and multivitamin powders to correct the calcium-phosphorus ratio and provide extra nutrition at each feeding. Some calcium supplements include multivitamin mixes and do not need any additional multivitamins to be added. To avoid over supplementation, you can feed undusted insects once every few feedings. Calcium with d3 should be used once per week to make up for any d3 the animal is not receiving from UV lighting. Avoid using calcium with d3 for every feeding as reptiles can overdose on d3.
Photo Courtesy: Alex’s Agamids @alexsagamids
What Types of Food Are Not Safe For Chinese Water Dragons To Eat?
Superworms, waxworms, and mealworms should be fed sparingly due to their high fat content. Never feed wild caught insects to your pet to avoid possible contamination with pesticides. Wild horn worms are toxic due to the plants they consume and can be extremely dangerous for your pet. Captive bred hornworms are aqua blue in color, and wild horn worms are bright green. Avoid large quantities of spinach.
How Often Do You Feed Chinese Water Dragons?
- Hatchlings (< 3months old) — Insects daily
- Juveniles (<16” long) — Insects and salad every other day
- Subadults and Adults (>16” long) — Insects every 3-5 days, salad daily
Pinkies, fuzzies, live-bearing fish, and chopped fruit can be used as treats, but keep treats to a minimum (no more than 1x/week) or else your pet will likely become overweight.
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