Chinese water dragons Physignathus cocincinus can grow up to 3 feet in length for males and up to 2 feet for females. Colouration ranges from dark to light green depending on their environment, they also can have 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 are white, very pale green or pale yellow. Their throats can be quite colourful (generally yellow, orange, or peach), some with a single colour, some with stripes.
Adult males have larger, more triangular heads than females, and develop larger crests on the head, neck and tail. The tail is nearly two-thirds of their entire body and they will use it as a whip if they feel threatened. The dragon typically will drop from a branch into a body of water when startled and is able to stay under water for up to 30 minutes. (How’s that for Bungee Jumping!) It has been known to occasionally escape predators on land by rising up and running on its hind legs enabling them to run very fast.
Did you know?
Like many other reptiles the Chinese water dragon possesses a small, photosensitive spot between their eyes referred to as the pineal gland (or otherwise known as the third eye) that is thought to help thermo regulate their bodies by sensing differences in light to assist with basking and seeking shelter after sunset. Since they can recognize differences in light, the pineal gland can also help the lizard avoid predation from birds and other aerial threats.