Chinese Water Dragon Foods: The Do’s and Don’ts

They’ve become popular amongst reptile owners, but you should know which foods Chinese Water Dragons need in their diet before you buy one.

Chinese Water Dragons are easy to care for, friendly, and exotic! They’re semi-aquatic reptiles and like climbing trees. They can live for up to 20 years and hibernate during the winter. Chinese Water Dragons are a great option if you’re looking for a no-fuss pet. 

They also follow an easy diet! In this article, I share more about the foods your Chinese Water Dragon will enjoy.

Chinese Water Dragon Foods

Chinese Water Dragons can eat anything they’re able to chew! They’re omnivores and despise repetitive diets. In the wild, they eat about 90% meat and 10% plants.

If you keep one as a pet, you should diversify their meals. This will keep your pet healthy and happy! Here are some ideas of what you can include in their diet.


Chinese Water Dragons thrive on protein. When you’re keeping one as a pet, you need to ensure that most of their diet contains high-protein insects. Some excellent meaty options for your pet include:

  • Butter Worms
  • Cockroaches
  • Crickets
  • Earthworms
  • Grasshoppers
  • Mealworms
  • King Worms
  • Pinkie Mice
  • Small Fish
  • Silkworms
  • Wax Worms

You can buy your Chinese Water Dragon any of these from a specialized pet store. Wild-caught insects can carry diseases that could be fatal to your pet.

The insects you choose shouldn’t be larger than the distance between your dragon’s nose and eyes.

 Do Chinese water dragons need live food


Fruits and Veggies

Chinese Water Dragons also need greens in their diet. Though it’s not as crucial for young dragons, old ones rely on it. There are many healthy and safe fruits and vegetables to choose from:


  • Apples
  • Figs
  • Kiwi
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries

You should only feed your Chinese Water Dragon fruit as an occasional treat.


  • Broccoli
  • Carrots (grated)
  • Clover
  • Collard Greens
  • Green Beans
  • Kale
  • Mustard Greens
  • Parsley
  • Peas
  • Sweet Potatoes

You can feed your Chinese Water Dragon more vegetables than fruit, but remember that both shouldn’t make up more than 10% of their whole diet.

The Best Food for Old Chinese Water Dragons

As your dragon ages, they trade proteins for vitamins and minerals. You should still feed them insects but include more fruits and vegetables in their diet to keep it diverse. 

 How do you feed a Chinese water dragon

Foods that are Dangerous for Chinese Water Dragons

There are some bugs, fruits, and veggies that you shouldn’t feed your Chinese Water Dragon. These can make your pet sick or even cause death. 


  • Ants
  • Bees
  • Boxelder Bugs
  • Butterflies
  • Centipedes
  • Fireflies
  • Hornets
  • Ladybugs
  • Lubber Grasshoppers
  • Millipedes
  • Scorpions
  • Spiders
  • Wasps

Some of these bugs can bite your Chinese Water Dragon, and the others are toxic for them to consume. 

Learn more about Feeder Insect Nutrition Chart – Here Are The Best Nutrients Which Your Reptile Needs To Survive

Fruits and Vegetables

  • Avocado
  • Corn
  • Chives
  • Citrus
  • Eggplant
  • Garlic
  • Leaves of eggplants, potatoes, and tomatoes
  • Leeks
  • Mung Beans
  • Onions
  • Rhubarb
  • Yams

Feeding these fruits and veggies to your dragon could cause uncomfortableness and health issues. 

How Often Should I Feed My Chinese Water Dragon?

You should feed your Chinese Water Dragon daily, depending on the portion size. Always serve their food during daylight when their cage is already warmed up – they need enough time and heat to properly digest their food. 

Baby Dragons: Your baby dragon needs a lot of food to grow at a healthy pace, so feed them daily. 

Juvenile Dragons: Once your Chinese Water Dragon is 6 months old, you can start feeding them every second day.

Adult Dragons: By 18 months, your dragon will reach maturity, and its appetite will stabilize. You can feed your dragon every 2 – 3 days at this age.

Things to Remember About Feeding Your Chinese Water Dragon

  • How often you feed depends on the portion size. You should serve your dragon as much as they can eat in their given timeframe, so split portions if you’re feeding daily.
  • If your Chinese Water Dragon is sick, you should feed them up to 2 times daily.
  • If your dragon is underweight, give them bigger portions.
  • To prevent obesity, avoid fatty bugs. 

How to Feed Your Chinese Water Dragon

Chinese Water Dragons love eating, but they can also be picky. They’re extremely sensitive to smell, so keep your hands clean and free from soaps or perfumes with a strong smell whenever you work with their food. 

You should always feed your live dragon bugs. Movement interests them, and if the insects are already dead, your dragon might not eat them. Fruits and vegetables should be cut or grated into smaller pieces to make eating them easier for your dragon.

 To help your Chinese Water Dragon stay hydrated and digest their food better, ensure that they always have fresh water. These dragons are known for defecating in their water bowl, so keep it clean.

Read more about How Big Does A Chinese Water Dragon Get?

Final Words

Chinese Water Dragons enjoy a diverse diet with at least three different bugs and a vegetable or fruit snack at each meal. If your dragon isn’t very active, it can quickly become obese. You should keep a close eye on their weight to ensure they don’t overeat.

There are many different foods to choose from, so you can never run out of ideas! Your Chinese Water Dragon will love eating different things each day, and you’ll quickly realize which bugs and greens they prefer most.

I hope this article gave you all the information you need to feed your Chinese Water Dragon a healthy diet! If you need any more answers, ask you questions in the comments, and I’ll get back to you.

Do Chinese Water Dragons need live food?


It's best to provide your Chinese Water Dragon with fresh, pesticide-free foods from a reputable source.

How do you feed a Chinese Water Dragon?

Feeding your Chinese Water Dragon is uncomplicated. Much like you'd feed a dog or cat, you can simply put the food in their enclosure and let them feast.

What size tank do you need for a Chinese Water Dragon?

An adult Chinese Water Dragon needs an enclosure of at least 5 gallons.

Can Chinese Water Dragons eat cucumbers?

Yes. Chinese Water Dragons can eat vegetables like cucumbers, but they should make up no more than 10% of their diet.