Backyard Buddies
Eastern Water Dragon

Photo: Stu's-Images

Eastern Water Dragon

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Eastern water dragons are grey-brown in colour with black banding, and some have a red belly and chest. Usually a broad black band extends through the eye. A crest of spines runs from the head to the tail.

Water dragons are different from all other lizards – they have four well-developed limbs, each with five claws, and a tail that is longer than the body.

Water dragons eat berries and flowers from native trees if insect numbers are down. They walk on all fours but can run at high speed on their hind legs.

Males are larger than females, sometimes reaching 80 cm in length. Males are very territorial and will not tolerate another mature male in the same area. These dragons are seldom seen. Often the only clue to their presence is a splash as they drop into water from an overhanging branch.

You can make your neighbourhood friendlier for Eastern water dragons

Eastern water dragons will live for years in peaceful gardens with a large pond or creek nearby, and may sometimes be seen in golf courses and parks.

You can help by protecting native shrubs and trees that overhang creeks near your house, as these provide a home for water dragons. Pollution in creeks is bad news for water dragons. Try and prevent garden and household chemicals from washing into nearby waterways.

Simple things that you do can make a huge difference to Australia’s animals. That’s why the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife is running Backyard Buddies— to give you tips to help.

What is a backyard buddy?

Backyard buddies are the native animals that share our built-up areas, our beaches and waterways, our backyards and our parks. The eastern water dragon is a backyard buddy.

Backyard buddies are also the local people who value the living things around them, like the eastern water dragons, and are willing to protect and encourage them by doing a few simple things around their own homes.

So you can be a backyard buddy.

Be a backyard buddy

It’s easy. All you have to do is care... and take a few simple steps.

Step one is to find out what eastern water dragons do and do not like.

Eastern water dragons love:

Water – fresh water provides a variety of insects, a place to hide and a home.

Overhanging trees and shrubs – these are perfect for spying the next meal and for basking in the sun to maintain a warm body temperature.

Leaf litter – insects, a favourite food, are found here.

Friendly gardens – where they can hide from cats or dogs that may chase them.

But they don’t like:

Garden pesticides – these contaminate snails, spiders, cockroaches and other insects, which water dragons like to eat.

Cats, dogs and foxes – water dragons are intimidated by these animals and are unlikely to be found in areas where they roam.

Be a buddy to the eastern water dragon

Try to:


Don’t be surprised if:

Find out more about your buddies

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