Chinese water dragon by generalstussner on Flickr.

Did you know that in it’s natural environment, Physignathus cocincinus is quite shy and always prepared to take flight. Quite often it rests on branches overhanging the water. When startled it drops from the branches into the bodies of water and can remain submerged for longer time periods, but it may also run into the dense riparian undergrowth on its hind legs. They are good swimmers and divers and can even catch fish. Physignathus cocincinus has a „third eye“. Actually it’s a small round spot located at the top of the head, between the eyes and is really known as the parietal.


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Chinese water dragon (Physignathus cocincinus)

The Chinese water dragon is a species of agamid lizard native to China and mainland Southeast Asia. Chinese water dragons can grow up to 1 m in total length, including tail, and can live from ten to fifteen years. Like many other reptiles the Chinese water dragon possesses a small, iridescent, photosensitive spot between their eyes referred to as the pineal eye that is thought to help thermoregulate their bodies by sensing differences in light to assist with basking and seeking shelter after sunset. The Chinese water dragons are most commonly found along the banks of freshwater lakes and streams. They are active during the day (diurnal), and spend most of their time in the trees or plants (arboreal). If threatened, the dragon will drop from the trees into the water and either swim to safety or remain submerged for up to 25 minutes. Though they will also eat vegetation, the diet of the water dragon consists mainly of insects, supplemented with an occasional small fish, mammal or reptile.

photo credits: wiki, Rushenb, Theonlysilentbob