Sailfin Dragon Lizard

Sailfin Dragon Lizard
SAILFIN DRAGON LIZARD (Hydrosaurus pustulatus)
Pronounced: Hyd-roe-sore-us pus-tyu-lot-us Order: Squamata
Kingdom: Animalia Family: Agamidae
Phylum: Chordata Genus: Hydrosaurus
Class: Reptilia Species: Pustulatus


This fancy lizard lives in the Philippines Islands. It prefers tropical forests near rivers and streams. It is listed as vulnerable with the IUCN due to extensive habitat loss and capture by the pet trade industry.

Females lay eggs only once a year, but she could lay them in several groups of 2 – 8 eggs each, burying each group or “clutch” in the sandy soil near streambeds. After about two months, the eggs hatch and miniature Sailfins emerge. They are already good swimmers, like their parents, and spend some of their time in the water. They can grow up to a metre long as adults.
Sailfin Dragons are omnivorous, eating a diet of insects, crustaceans, and plant material. They have a crest of spikes from their neck to their tail. On their tails, this crest can be 8 cm high and help the lizards steer and propel themselves in water. The tail and other crests are probably also important in territorial and mating behaviours.

They spend equal amounts of time in the trees and in the water. They will perch in the trees overhanging streams to rest and feed. At the first sign of danger they will drop out of the trees into the water. They can run along the surface of the water for several seconds until their weight pulls them under. They then drop to the bottom of the stream and can wait there for up to 15 minutes, until they think the danger above has passed. Snakes, birds and fish are some of the Sailfin Dragon’s predators. Although males and females are generally similar, males are larger, more colourful and have larger tail fins than females.


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