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Australian Wildlife

  Eastern Water Dragon (Physignathus lesueurii lesueurii)





Eastern Water Dragon | Physignathus lesueurii lesueurii photo
Eastern Water Dragon at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Brisbane, Queensland. This is a male - you can tell by the big head and bright red colour on his belly.

Image by ozwildlife - Some rights reserved.

Eastern Water Dragon | Physignathus lesueurii lesueurii photo
Eastern Water Dragon at Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens, Brisbane.

Image by ozwildlife - Some rights reserved.

Eastern Water Dragon | Physignathus lesueurii lesueurii photo
Eastern Water Dragon submerged in pond at Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens, Brisbane.

Image by ozwildlife - Some rights reserved.

Eastern Water Dragon | Physignathus lesueurii lesueurii photo
Water Dragons really do swim. One of the children dropped a baby's dummy into the water and this dragon swam across and grabbed it. Off it swam with the sucking end of the dummy in its mouth, then clambered up onto a rock with it. On discovering that it wasn't edible, it dropped it back in the water. Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens, Brisbane.

Image by ozwildlife - Some rights reserved.

Eastern Water Dragon | Physignathus lesueurii lesueurii photo
Eastern Water Dragon at Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens, Brisbane.

Image by ozwildlife - Some rights reserved.

Eastern Water Dragon | Physignathus lesueurii lesueurii photo
Eastern Water Dragon at Brisbane Forest Park. I tried to get a bit closer to this one but it jumped off the rock into the creek. These lizards are really good swimmers and will dive into water for safety.

Image by ozwildlife - Some rights reserved.

Eastern Water Dragon | Physignathus lesueurii lesueurii photo
Eastern Water Dragon at Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens, Brisbane.

Image by ozwildlife - Some rights reserved.



REPTILE FACTS

Description
The Eastern Water Dragon is a large lizard. It is grey-brown with black banding and a row of spines from the crest of the head to the tail. Usually has a broad black stripe extending from the eye to the back of the head, Males often have a red belly and chest. It is a good swimmer and dives into the water when disturbed. It can remain submerged for around half an hour.

Size
Total length up to 80 cm including tail. Head and body length 20-25cm.

Habitat
Near creeks, river and lakes in forests, woodlands, grasslands and also parkland in urban areas. Usually seen on rocks logs or overhanging branches.

Food
insects, molluscs and crustaceans as well as small vertebrates including fish, hatchling tortoises and small mammals. May be seen scavenging around picnic spots. Also eats fruit and berries.

Breeding
The Eastern Water Dragon lays a clutch of 6-18 eggs in a shallow burrow. The female digs a shallow nest about 10-15cm deep in a sunny open position in a sandy soil. The female lies above the burrow and deposits the eggs into the chamber below. She then back-fills the burrow by scraping the soil with her back legs and then packing it down with her snout. Loose debris is then scattered over the nest area.

Range
Coast, ranges and hinterland of eastern Australia.



Classification
Class:Reptilia
Order:Squamata (Sauria)
Family:Agamidae
Genus:Physignathus
Species:lesueurii lesueurii
Common Name:Eastern Water Dragon

Relatives in same Genus
  Gippsland Water Dragon (P. lesueurii howittii)