How Big Does A Chinese Water Dragon Get?

Before I bought one for the first time, I wondered how big does a Chinese Water Dragon get. These seemingly small creatures have always interested me, and I wanted to keep one as a pet.

To do so, I needed to buy the right sized enclosure. There’s no way I’d be keeping my lizard in a tank too small for them, and you shouldn’t either!

In this article, I share what you can expect from these reptiles size-wise, how to properly prep for one and why their size makes them such great lizards to bond with!

How Big Does A Chinese Water Dragon Get?

Let me answer this first – Chinese Water Dragons may seem small, but they can reach a length of 3 feet! This measurement is from head to tail, and they can reach it by the time they’re two. 

Once they’re fully grown, they continue to lose and gain weight. Their exact weight depends on their length, but on average, these lizards don’t weigh more than 2 pounds. 

Their tails are longer than their bodies, and they use them for balancing, climbing, running, and swimming. 

Here’s a quick Chinese Water Dragon size chart to overview their average growth milestones!

Hatchling: 5 to 6 inches 

6 months: 7 to 9 inches

12 months: 10 to 12 inches

18 months: 16 to 18 inches

24 months: 22 to 28 inches

Your Chinese Water Dragon will grow rapidly in its first year of life. During this time, they develop strong bones, and once that’s formed, their growth slows down around 18 months.

When Is A Chinese Water Dragon Mature?

Chinese Water Dragons are fully grown between their first and second year of life but only reach sexual maturity around the age of three. 

Factors That Influence Development And Size

Chinese Water Dragons have an easier time developing than they should in nature. Unlike when they’re kept in captivity, their natural habitat provides everything they need to thrive.

If you’re keeping one as a pet, you need to ensure that you mimic their wildlife environment and lifestyle as closely as you can. Doing this will help your lizard stay healthy and hit all its growth markers!


The tank you choose for your lizard will become their permanent home. Except for the times you take them out, your Chinese Water Dragon will spend all their time here.

You need to set their enclosure up to be like their natural habitat. They need rocks, branches, plants, and water. Chinese Water Dragons develop by staying active, and removing the space for them to climb, explore and swim will stunt their growth.

The enclosure you choose should also be big enough for them to move around with ease. Remember that they have really long tails – when you’re buying a cage, you should take this into account. If their tale touches the glass as they turn around, their enclosure is too small.


Chinese Water Dragons can get bored with their food and lose their appetite. You should keep mealtimes interesting by serving them a mixture of foods. They love insects, fruits, small mice, worms, and veggies. 

While your lizard is a baby, they need 85% more insects than they will as adults since the protein helps them grow big and strong. Chinese Water Dragons need one meal per day when they’re still newborns, but you only need to feed juvenile lizards once every two days and adults once every three.

If you’re worried that your lizard isn’t eating enough, serve a protein-rich meal every third day and fill the gaps with light fruit or veggie snacks. 

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

 What size tank does a Chinese water dragon need

How To Prepare For A Chinese Water Dragon

Knowing the average size of a Chinese Water Dragon is a big help when prepping to keep one as a pet! Here’s what you can buy ahead of time to be prepared:

Enclosure: Get an enclosure at least 55-gallons big and decorate it with rocks, branches, and a large water bowl. 

Food: Stock up on various insects and get a dish only used for serving food. Fruits and vegetables should be served fresh.

Lighting: Install proper UVB lighting to keep your lizard healthy.

Reasons To Get A Chinese Water Dragon

Their size plays a big part in why Chinese Water Dragons make great pets. The truth is that bigger lizards are just easier to handle.

Small lizards can feel fragile in your hand, and you might even be too scared to regularly pick them up. You can have a good grip on your Chinese Water Dragon when you hold them, and their heavy body can feel more comfortable to handle. 

Their long tails also help to make them more visible when you put them outside of their enclosure to explore!

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

Final Words

Knowing how big any pet might get is important before purchasing them. Their size influences many things related to their care, like where you’ll keep them, what you need to feed them, and how comfortable you’ll be handling them. 

Chinese Water Dragons form part of the larger lizard category, and they make excellent pets! It might just be me, but I prefer having bigger lizards as pets because they’re the easiest to hold. A bonus is that these lizards are friendly and can easily be tamed.

I hope this article helps you decide whether a Chinese Water Dragon is the lizard you’d like to have! If you have any other questions about their size or things in general, please ask them in the comments, and I’ll get back to you with more valuable information.

How long does it take a Chinese Water Dragon to grow full size?

Most Chinese Water Dragons have reached their full size by the time they're one or two.

What size tank does a Chinese Water Dragon need?

A full-grown Chinese Water Dragon needs an enclosure of at least 55 gallons.

How much do adult Chinese Water Dragons eat?

You can feed your adult Chinese Water Dragon daily but keep their portions small. If you overfeed them, they can quickly become overweight.

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