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The Chinese Tree Dragon is a recent import into the United States. Little is known about these beautiful little lizards, which are members of the agamidae family.
Like all agamas, these are Old World lizards, cousins (in habits and habitats, if not in fact) to the New World iguanids. Agamas are generally easily recognized by their large, broad triangular shaped head, long tails, and strong legs. Many are equipped with sharp claws for digging and tree climbing. Their tails may break off defensively, but they are not known to regenerate. They are primarily carnivores, and most are egg layers. All are equipped with excellent eyesight. They are able, like the New World anoles (Anolis sp.) and other agamids and iguanids, to change colors in response to temperature changes and stress.
Tree Dragons are found primarily in southeastern Asia, Indonesia, New Guinea, and Australia. They range in size from 10 - 24". Their nuchal and dorsal crest, which runs down the back, is similar to a water dragon's. Males have a large dewlap which can be lowered; some have spikes on the outer edge. Legs and toes are long, and heavily clawed for climbing trees. Tails are long, and in some species may also carry a crest. The mouth is large, and quite capable of inflicting a painful bite in the bigger species.
Wild and Captive Habitats
Tree Dragons live high in the trees in the dense tropical and mountain rainforests. Occasionally they are found on the ground in the undergrowth, but they prefer height. They will bask occasionally, but require a slightly warmer, dense arboreal rainforest setup with access to water. They prefer temperatures ranging between 77 - 88º F during the daytime, and between 70 - 80º F at night. Some sunlight and UVB is beneficial to these lizards. However, a proper temperature range is more important than a specific basking area.
Tree Dragons thrive on a variety of insects such as crickets and superworms, hornworms, phoenix worms, and other small insects. Supplement each meal with multivitamin and calcium supplements. Since many reptiles hate the taste of powdered supplements, feed their prey insects a healthy diet of calcium-rich foods like powdered milk, yellow corn meal, and chunks of fresh potato for moisture.
Tree Dragons require high humidity and large pans of water. Additionally, outfit your tank with a drip system or bubbler to maintain the high humidity needed.
Tree Dragons are egg-layers. They prefer moist earth or peat for laying. They breed year-round, laying eggs among the tree roots. Hatchings incubate for 4 months, and are 3 - 6" long at birth.