Backyard Buddies
Eastern Water Dragon

Photo: FNPW Image Library

Eastern Water Dragon

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The Eastern Water Dragon Physignathus lesueurii is about half a metre long with rough scales, sharp spines and ancient features that resemble fairytale dragons.

They are semi-aquatic and live along the east coast of Australia around creeks, rivers or lakes. They can remain submerged for up to 30 minutes and will rise to the surface where they need to breathe.

You will be lucky to catch a glimpse of the Eastern Water Dragon who is seldom seen. Often the only clue to their presence is a splash as they drop into water from an overhanging branch.

As fierce as they may seem, Eastern Water Dragons are shy animals. They are active during both the day and night time when they actively hunt for insects, frogs, yabbies and water insects.

Eastern Water Dragons sometimes eat vegetation, fruit and berries as well.

They mate during spring near water and then during November and December females lay their eggs in nests away from the water. Female dragons can lay between 10-20 eggs with young hatching in January and February.

Eastern Water Dragons grab their food with short, thick tongues. All other Australian lizards use only their jaws to grasp food.


Eastern Water Dragons will live for years in peaceful gardens with a large pond or creek nearby. You can help by protecting native shrubs and trees that overhang creeks near your house, as these provide a home for water dragons.

Did you know?

Pollution in creeks is bad news for water dragons. It is often a result of garden and household chemicals washing into waterways.

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Photo: OEH