Do Chinese Water Dragons Bite? Read This Before Getting One!

If you’re interested in owning one, a common question that might pop up in your head is “Do Chinese Water Dragons Bite?” 

I consider Chinese Water Dragons one of the friendliest lizards, and from my experience owning one until a few years ago, I can tell you that they rarely get aggressive. 

Many pet experts recommend these docile creatures as a perfect beginner’s pet lizard. In this article, I’ll tell you why and give you some tips to form a tight-knit bond with yours!

Do Chinese Water Dragons Bite?

First, let’s tackle this crucial question: Chinese Water Dragons can bite, but they rarely will. I was warned once but never bitten in all my years owning one.

If a Chinese Water Dragon feels threatened, they typically whip their tail, and when the danger doesn’t move away, they’ll aim to sink their teeth. The chances of this happening are slim, and if you handle your lizard with care from day one, they won’t show aggressive behavior towards you unless you give them a reason to. 

Approaching them from above, making sudden unexpected moves around them, and teasing your Chinese Water Dragon can make them snap at you. 

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Does It Hurt When They Do Bite?

If your Chinese Water Dragon does decide to bite you for whatever reason, it will probably just be a warning bite that causes a bruise. But, a real bite from this lizard can break your skin since they have a strong jaw and sharp teeth.

Not only will a bite like this hurt, but it can make you sick. Salmonella is the most common disease that can spread from your Chinese Water Dragon to you when they manage to penetrate your skin. Symptoms you may experience will be similar to food poisoning, so you should be fine if you keep hydrated. 

 do chinese water dragons bite

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Handling and Taming a Chinese Water Dragon

Chinese Water Dragons have no issues being handled. If you bond with them from the start, they’ll be like putty in your hands!

Like other lizards, Chinese Water Dragons have unique personalities, and taming each is different from another. Your goal should be to slowly build trust and make your lizard tolerant of handling. Before starting the process, know that it can take a lot of time, patience, and moments where you should just back off.

Chinese Water Dragons can be jumpy at first, but you can gain their trust with the right approach. 

How to Approach Your Chinese Water Dragon

When you’re approaching your new pet lizard, protect your hand from a possible bite. Because they’re extra cautious at first, they may feel a little threatened if you make any sudden moves.

The best way to do this is by slowly placing your hand from below your lizard’s body and never above it. If your Chinese Water Dragon seems hesitant, don’t force them to come closer. 

You should also never pull on any of their body parts to get them closer.  

A friendly gesture from you would be to have a treat in your hand when placing it in the cage. This might lure your lizard in – if they approach you, keep still and show them that you won’t cause any harm. 

Note: Don’t use a treat every time. Your Chinese Water Dragon should learn to recognize your scent and voice instead of approaching you just for a treat.  

Read more about Do Chinese Water Dragons Bite? Read This Before Getting One!

How to Handle Your Chinese Water Dragon

You should begin handling your Chinese Water Dragon at an early age. Besides familiarizing them with your hands, you should speak to them. 

Your lizard might feel anxious at first, and if you notice that they are, it’s best to leave them alone. Once they feel comfortable in your hand, you can pet them for approximately 20 minutes per day. Here are some things to keep in mind for gentle interaction:

  • Use both hands to lift your pet from its enclosure.
  • Once lifted, place your hand under their belly and support their chest area fully.
  • Only use one hand when handling your Chinese Water Dragon – most of them don’t like feeling constrained by two hands. 
  • If your lizard is comfortable, you can place them on your lap.

When handling your Chinese Water Dragon, make sure they never turn upside down. This position can suffocate them without you even noticing, and it can get serious before you have time to save your pet. 

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Chinese Water Dragons rarely bite, but it can be somewhat painful when they do. If you attempt to handle your lizard with care from the moment you meet, you’ll gain their trust and build a strong bond with them. When a Chinese Water Dragon is fond of their owner, the chances of them biting is almost none. 

These pet lizards are the friendliest amongst them all, so they’re the perfect beginner pets if you’ve never owned one before. I loved having a Chinese Water Dragon and hope to get another one soon!

If you have any questions that haven’t been answered above, please ask them in the comments. I’d be happy to give you more information on taking care of and handling Chinese Water Dragons!

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Does the Chinese Water Dragon bite hurt?

Chinese Water Dragons rarely bite, but they might when they're hurting, stressed, or showing warning signs. When your lizard bites you, it can feel like a bruise.

What happens if a Water Dragon bites you?

Chinese Water Dragons bite with moderate force, and it can be pretty painful if they penetrate your skin. Luckily, their venom isn't poisonous to humans, so you'll likely only experience a burning sensation.

Are Chinese Water Dragons friendly?

Yes, they're one of the friendliest pet lizards. If you frequently handle them, the chances are slim that they'll become aggressive.

Are Chinese Water Dragons good pets for beginners?


Chinese Water Dragons are extremely friendly, but they have a lot of specific care requirements. If you haven't had a pet lizard before, it might be intimidating to look after one, so carefully research care instructions before purchasing a Chinese Water Dragon.

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