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Will Chinese Water Dragons Eat Dead Crickets?

If you own or thinking of keeping a Chinese Water Dragon maybe you are interested to know if you could save some effort or money and check if they will eat dead instead of living crickets. Let me explain.

Will Chinese water dragons eat dead crickets? Yes, they will definitely eat dead crickets. However, this is not normal behavior. In fact, you will find that this is quite rare. Reason being, the movement of live insects usually triggers them to attack and eat them.

Now that you know that they can eat dead crickets let look at what else you can feed them, what foods to avoid to keep them happy, how often you should feed them, if their specific requirements, such as UVB lights that Water Dragons need are too advanced for beginers and much more.

What is a Chinese water dragon?

The Chinese water dragon (Physignathus Cocincinus) is a species of the Agamid. It is a native of China and the South East of Asia. it is also known as the following:

  • Green water dragon
  • Tai Water dragon
  • or Asian Water Dragon

What should you feed a Chinese water dragon?

They are omnivores, meaning they will eat primarily insects but can also eat vegetables and fruit. You will find the majority of their diet will consist of insects such as the following:

  • Silkworms
  • Crickets
  • Waxworms
  • Earthworms
  • Grasshoppers
  • Etc.

You will find online guides or books that say fruit and vegetables are a required part of their diet. In fact, this is true. They will be expected to have at least 10 to 15% of their diet consisting of fruits and vegetables.

However, in practice, this can be quite different. You will find that they are quite picky. In some cases, they will completely reject anything else apart from insects.

You will have to take this on a case-by-case basis but in general, you can expect them to prefer eating insects. You might get lucky, if you see it that way, and your one may enjoy eating fruit or veg.

Important food items

Once they are at the juvenile age, up until it’s an adult, it is important to keep their calcium and nutrient levels at a good level.

To achieve this it is a good idea to feed them some of the following:

  • Pinkie Mice
  • Feeder Fish
  • and Fuzzy Mice

It is advised to offer them this at least two to three times a week to maintain a good nutritional profile.

What is the best feeding schedules?

It is advised to feed them every other day or worst case two to three times a week. However, some keepers have found that feeding them daily works well.

These keepers argue that feeding them every other day or less is not healthy, especially when they are hatchlings or juveniles. It is important to keep them strong and healthy, hence the reason some of these people keepers swear by daily feeding.

What do Water Dragon hatchlings eat?

Hatchlings eat pretty much the same diet as their adult counterparts. With the exception of the larger items, such as pinkie or fuzzy mice.

They will usually have mealworms or other insects broken up into two or three pieces. This is because they are very young and important to give them smaller portion sizes so that they can handle it.  This will avoid choking.

What happens if they stop eating?

You may find from time to time that your water dragon starts to refuse to eat or may start to become picky. Unfortunately, this is one of the challenges of owning a Chinese Water Dragon.

Majority of the time this could be down to boredom due to lack of variety in their diet. To get around this, it is a good idea to rotate their food items. This is so they are not always eating the same thing over and over again.

The mistake that some lizard keepers make is feeding them one or two food items over and over again, which will start to make them feel bored.

The Simple Solution

The simplest solution is to rotate their food. For example, on day one offer him some crickets. On day two some mealworms. And on day 3 you mix it up and provide some earthworms.

Continue with that rotation. Try to rotate with as many items as possible. Ideally, you would have  7 or more different items. So you can offer a longer rotation cycle, are you with me?

I understand in practice this could be more expensive because you’re having to buy different items. But, just stretch it as far as your budget can allow.

Are they ideal for beginners?

Whilst they are very beautiful and interesting lizards, in my opinion, they are not the best choice for a beginner.

The reason I say this is because, as discussed earlier, they can be quite picky when it comes to food items.

In addition to this, they have very specific requirements (such as heating & humidity) that need to be met for you to stand a good chance of keeping them happy and maintaining them for the long-term.

What food items should you absolutely avoid giving to a Water Dragon?

There are some leafy green vegetable items that you should definitely not feed your water dragon. These include the following:

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • or even spinach

They are great for us humans, but for water dragons, not so good. They are high in oxalate and this is not ideal for them.

Can water dragons eat strawberries?

Yes, they can eat strawberries as well as the following fruit items:

  • Raspberries
  • blueberries
  • Figs
  • etc.

In addition to these fruit items, as discussed earlier, they can also eat vegetables.

These include:

  • Sweet potato
  • Green beans
  • and even carrots.

One tip though, it is a good idea to make these food items finely chopped when you offer them. This is so you stand the best chance of them eating them, and avoid choking.

Related questions:

Q. Why would a water dragon keep Digging all the time?

There could be a few reasons why it could be digging:

  • She is Gravid
  • Wants to escape
  • or Just loves digging.

Because she is gravid

There is a chance that the digging could be due to an attempt by a female water dragon to lay her eggs. Maybe you didn’t know but she could be gravid. They can become sexually mature from the age of 2 years old and there is a good chance that they could be gravid.

You may be thinking to yourself this is not possible because there’s no male in the enclosure. But, believe it or not,  this is still possible,  without the presence of a male.

They may just want to escape

Another reason why they may be digging is that they’re unhappy in the enclosure and want to escape.

This could be caused because of the size of your enclosure. For your information, it should be at least 50 gallons in size or even bigger, if your budget can extend this far.

Another issue that could be making the want to escape could be because they are bored. They may actually just want to get out and roam around. There is no problem with this. From time to time it is a good idea to let them out to roam about, obviously with your supervision.

They Enjoy Digging

Finally, you may find that they just genuinely enjoy digging. If they are healthy and eating fine, it could well be this.

Q. What is so special about a water dragons tail?

There are two things special about a water dragons tail. Firstly it is designed to help them swim. In fact, it is built with strong muscle that is flattened on one side to allow it to glide and cut through the water elegantly.

Lastly, the sheer length of its tail is quite impressive a water dragon can beat up to 1 meter in length and weighing approximately 1 kg. however, up to two-thirds of this length is just its tail alone.

Q. Can water dragons swim?

Yes, they can swim. In fact, they can swim pretty well. They can even stay underwater for as long as 90 minutes.

Q. Can water dragons sleep in water?

Yes, they can. In colder months before hibernation, they often find that it is warmer in the water than it is out on land. Whilst they can actually sleep in the water, they cannot breathe in the water like a fish can.  They will be sleeping with their nose (snout) out of the water to continue breathing oxygen during this period.


Hi, this is me with my daughter and my Lizard friend. I hope you enjoy my research. Please feel free to check out my "About Me" page to find out more about me.