If you are constantly watching movies where the protagonist is giant lizards and cry your lungs out in joy when someone talks about dinosaurs, we are not going to be surprised if you will not want to carry this baby home!

Sailfin Dragon Hydrosaurus app resembles dinosaurs so closely that you will think it is a dream actually to handle them and to take care of them. This magnificently beautiful creature has spikes and crests that you will not be able to take your eyes off!

Males of the species have a sail from the base of their tail that resembles a fan and hence the name.

Now we know that a lot of people who walk into a pet store with the sailfin dragon on display cannot resist owning it. But as an advisory, we are telling you now that owning and maintaining a sailfin dragon is not for everyone. Why?

Because even one single adult sailfin dragon will require a large enclosure, and you must go for it only if you can afford to dedicate a place so big for it.

The lizard is a tropical creature, and it comes from a lush habitat. So that it feels safe and secure, you will need to create a semi-arboreal enclosure with a lot of tree branches that are standing and lay them horizontally. You could use your creativity and also develop shelves where it could hide.

Geographical extent

These giant lizards are native of

  • Eastern Indonesia
  • Philippines and
  • New Guinea
  Axolotl Color Guide: Different Types & Information

In the middle of the 1990s, the Philippines banned the sale and export of sailfin dragon lizards. Since then most of the lizards are sourced from Indonesia only.

Sailfin Dragon Lizard 2

They love water

In the wild, you can see these Lizzies basking lazily near water bodies. They have powerful instincts and become very alert when they sense danger nearby. They will instantly jump into the water and stay underwater for as long as an hour till they perceive the threat to have passed away.

You are lucky if you find a dragon in your pet store!

With the Philippines having restricted the export of these lizards, there has been an acute shortage in the pet industry for them. More and more people want to own a sailfin dragon, and captive breeders that specialize in sailfins have been laughing to their banks.

Captive born and bred sailfin dragons are preferred over the wild-caught ones anyways. Captive-breds are hassle-free and feed well and also carry lesser parasite on them.

Sailfin Dragon Lizard’s Size and Life span

A male sailfin dragon measures a minimum of 4 feet. A female is close with only a little less than 4 inches. In captivity, the longest record of their lifespan is 25 years. They can keep procreating for a significant part of their lives.

How to set up a cage for the Sailfin Dragon Lizard?

Like we told you in the beginning, opt for these dragons only if you can afford large spaces for them. A single adult sailfin dragon will need a 40 gallon capacity of the terrarium.

You must make sure to cover all the sides because these lizards are territorial. They will look at their reflection and get stressed that another lizard is looking at them. It is also to prevent them from rubbing the nose and preventing the ensuing scars on it.

  Green Iguana Care guide & prices
Sailfin Dragon Lizard

Dimensions of the cage

A single male or female adult sailfin dragon will require a cage enclosure that is 5 feet long, 3 feet wide and 5 feet tall. For every new dragon that you add into the cage, please add the area commiserating to the additional dragon.

Why do we tell you that you must cover all the sides?

All the sides except one half of one side need to be covered because

  • It makes the creature feel secure
  • It traps the humidity inside, which is healthy for the lizard.

Humidity in the perfect percentage is absolutely important for these lovely lizards and helps them immensely during shedding.

Other important things that the cage must contain:

  • A large water basin
  • A bowl to place the food
  • A good egg-laying place if breeding is on your mind and you have housed a female too


Sailfin Dragons require UVB light; it is better to either go with mercury vapor lamp or the fluorescent variety instead of the incandescent ones.

You could furnish the cage with a basking bulb over one of the branches or any other favorite accessory inside the cage. The temperature over the basking site must be maintained at 115 F.

In the rest of the cage, the ambient temperature can be within the range of 85 and 90 F. night time temperature can go down between 75 and 80 F. because these are tropical lizards, you will have to make sure that you have a heating system in place when the mercury dips in your area.

Heating pads with the thermostat should do fine till the cold wave passes.

  Blue Tongue Skink Care Guide & Price

If you are using ceramic heat emitters, you will have to continually be on a vigil that the lizzies don’t get too close to them in curiosity and burn their skin or worse catch fire that can bring your whole house down.


Use only organic substrate because only that can sustain the high humidity that sailfin dragons require to be in the best of health.

Cypress mulch is highly recommended because it is inexpensive. It must, however, be pure cypress mulch. Any mixing in it will not work. Other barks can also be used as long as they are not oily or scented.

Sailfin Dragon Lizard Food and water

Sailfin dragons are omnivorous. They will eat anything that resembles food. You can cut fruits and veggies into small pieces and keep them in a bowl for them. This hearty salad will help him snack right. Insects, mice, turkey (minced and ground), fish. Crustaceans shrimps anything is good to go into its mouth. Dust insects with calcium and Vitamin D3 if you cage them indoors.

Water is essential. Mist the cage but also keep a bowl big enough for them to submerge. Change water daily with discipline because they will potty in the water and drink too.

Handling the Sailfin Dragon Lizard

The lizards will eventually learn to coexist with you if you inspire confidence in them. Do not scoop them from the cage. Feed them from your hand for a few days till they get accustomed to your presence. Juveniles may jump or scratch your hands, exercise maximum caution. 

Was this article helpful?

Hi! I'm Anna and I´m a certified cynologist (KAU, ACW). Expert, blue cross volunteer, owner of Chinese crested kennel "Salvador Dali" and breedless friend called Fenya. "I can't imagine my life without dogs and I totally support the idea #AdoptDontShop".