Wednesday, August 10, 2011

water dragon

Australian Water Dragon (Physignathus lesueurii), which includes the Eastern Water Dragon (P. l. lesueurii) and the Gippsland Water Dragon (P. l. howittii), is an arboreal agamid species native to Eastern Australia from Victoria north to Queensland, there is also a small population in the south-east coast of the State of South Australia. There are two subspecies; Physignathus lesueurii lesueurii (Eastern Water Dragon) and P. l. howitti (Gippsland Water Dragon). P. l. lesueurii tends towards white, yellow and red on the throat and possesses a dark band behind its eye; P. l. They are fast runners and strong climbers. When presented with a potential predator, they seek cover in thick vegetation, or drop from an overhanging branch into water. They are able to swim totally submerged, and rest on the bottom of shallow creeks or lakes for up to 90 minutes to avoid detection.
Both males and females display typical agamid behaviour such as basking, arm-waving and head-bobbing.
During spring, usually in early October, the female excavates a burrow about 10–15 cm (4-6 inches) deep and lays between 6 and 18 eggs. The nest is usually in sandy or soft soil, in an area open to sun. When the mother has laid the eggs, she backfills the chamber with soil and scatters loose debris over it. Australian water dragons exhibit temperature-dependant sex determination; the sex of the hatchlings is determined by the temperature of the nest site. Nestlings and smaller juvenile water dragons are vulnerable to predation by kookaburras, currawongs, butcherbirds and other carnivorous birds. They are also prone to becoming road kill due to the attraction of warm bitumen and concrete for basking. The Australian water dragon's diet depends on its size. Juveniles and yearlings tend to feed on small insects such as ants, spiders, crickets, and caterpillars.
Diagonal stripes of green or turquoise are found on the body, while the tail is banded from the middle to the end with green and dark brown. Their undersides range from white, off white, very pale green, or pale yellow. But more attractive are their throats, which can be quite colourful (generally yellow, orange, or peach), some with a single color, some with stripes. Adult males have larger, more triangular heads than females, and develop larger crests on the head, neck and tail, and are larger in general. The tail, slightly over two-thirds of the entire body length, can be used as a weapon, for balance, and to assist swimming. Like many other reptiles the Chinese water dragon possesses a small, iridescent, photosensitive spot between their eyes referred to as the pineal gland (or colloquially as the third eye) that is thought to help thermoregulate their bodies by sensing differences in light to assist with basking and seeking shelter after sunset. the lowland and highland forests of India, Northern and southern China, and eastern and southeastern Asia (Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Burma), Chinese water dragons are most commonly found along the banks of freshwater lakes and streams. They are active during the day (diurnal), and spend most of their time in the trees or plants (arboreal).
For the captive lizard, crickets, locusts, cockroaches and mealworms are good stable foods, and they may eat as many as 3–5 during feeding, depending on the size. Insects should be gut loaded prior to feeding with foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes, apples, or bran oats. This increases the nutritional value of the insects. Insects can also be dusted with calcium and nutrient-rich powders, which can be found in reptile pet-stores. Powders such as this should be used in moderation and as specified. Meal worms and wax worms are favorites, though wax worms should be fed in moderation, as their nutritional value is low. Worms from the garden are also considered a nice treat, however, if any pesticide has been used in the area, it may be a good idea to avoid them. Head out into the woods near a creek and gather some worms there. Adults will eat young mice known as pinkies and fuzzies.

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