Bearded Dragons vs. Chinese Water Dragon - Full Comparison (2023)

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Thinking about getting a pet lizard but can't decide between a bearded dragon and a Chinese water dragon? Although this can be a difficult decision, this post provides information that will help you make that decision. In this post, you will find a head-to-head comparison between a Chinese water dragon and a bearded dragon and what makes a better pet.


Chinese Water Dragon:Chinese water dragons have a lifespan of around 10-15 years, but some can live up to 20 years with excellent care.

Bearded Dragon:Bearded Dragons have a lifespan of around 7-12 years but can live up to 15 years with good care.

Verdict:Both bearded dragons and Chinese water dragons have a similar lifespan, which also depends on care and husbandry. Chinese water dragons can generally live longer.


Chinese Water Dragon:Chinese water dragons are large lizards. Females grow to around 61-76 cm in length while males grow to 91-100 cm in length.

Bearded Dragon:Bearded dragons are medium-sized lizards, reaching 43-61 cm (17-24 in). German giant bearded dragons reach a length of 56 to 61 cm.

Verdict:Chinese water dragons are larger lizards than bearded dragons. This can be both a good thing and a bad thing (think pros - handling and looks, cons - big cages).


Chinese Water Dragon:Chinese water dragons are omnivores, eating mostly live food bugs and occasionally some fuzzy/pinkie mice and even fish. Also accepts about 10-15% greens/vegetables. Chinese water dragons need to eat once every 2-3 days.

Bearded Dragon:Bearded dragons are omnivores. Younger bearded dragons mainly eat live food bugs. As he gets older (once he is around 12 months old) he eats mostly vegetables and greens. Baby bearded dragons need to eat several times a day and move about once a day.

Verdict:Chinese water dragons must eat mostly forage bugs throughout their lives, while bearded dragons require more vegetation as they age. However, Chinese water dragons need to eat once every 2-3 days, unlike the daily feeding of bearded dragons.

personality and social tolerance

Bearded Dragons vs. Chinese Water Dragon - Full Comparison (1)
(Video) Australian Water Dragon vs Chinese Water Dragon - Head To Head

Chinese Water Dragon:Chinese water dragons are rather shy, especially at the beginning. With some work, most become friendly and docile, rarely biting their owners. Most don't mind the handling, but that depends on each water dragon.

Bearded Dragon:Bearded dragons are usually friendly and docile and easy to tame. Most don't mind handling and can sit quietly on your lap/shoulder. Are fun to look at and own and rarely bite their owners.

Verdict:Both Chinese water dragons and bearded dragons are interactive and fun to look at and own. Most bearded dragons are docile, while some Chinese water dragons may require more taming work.

Enclosure Requirements

Chinese water dragon: Chinese water dragons have high demands on their enclosure. 1 adult Chinese water dragon will require a cage that is at least 4-5 feet long, 3-4 feet deep, and 5-6 feet high.

In the cage you will probably need to use aFog/fog systemto maintain a high moisture requirement (70-80%). You will also need a swimming pool with water for your dragon to dip into. You need to put a filter in water and change it a few times a week. This is in addition to 6-10% UVB tube/bulb and lamps.

Bearded Dragon:Bearded Dragons come from hot parts of the world and therefore need lots of warmth and 10-14% UVB lighting. 1 adult bearded dragon can be happy in a 55-60 gallon or larger tank.

Verdict:Chinese water dragons need much larger enclosures and have more complex care needs.


Chinese water dragons:Chinese water dragons hail from tropical areas of the world where temperatures are fairly similar throughout the year. So Chinese water dragons don't usually hum, but they can slow down a bit.

Bartagamen:Most bearded dragons brumate after they are 12-18 months old. However, not all bearded dragons growl, especially if you keep the tank temperature constant.

Verdict:Bearded dragons can hum while Chinese water dragons don't (unless you intentionally lower temperatures to condition them for breeding).

activity time

Chinese Water Dragon:Chinese water dragons are diurnal, meaning they are active during the day and sleep at night.

(Video) What You NEED To Know Before Getting A Chinese Water Dragon

Bearded Dragon:Bearded dragons are also diurnal.

Verdict:Both Chinese water dragons and bearded dragons are diurnal.

Ability to live in a couple/group

Chinese Water Dragon:Chinese water dragon can successfully live in a group. Males do not need to be kept together, but 1 male and a few females often do well together. Two-few females can fight, but can also calm down over time.

Bearded Dragon:Bearded dragons are often competitive and do better on their own. If you accommodate two or more bearded dragons, there is always a chance that they will attack each other.

Verdict:Housing two or more Chinese water dragons is possible, while bearded dragons should live alone. But remember that if you house 2 or 3 Chinese water dragons together, you will need to add another foot of length on each side of the enclosure for each one.

breeding difficulties

Bearded Dragons vs. Chinese Water Dragon - Full Comparison (2)

Chinese Water Dragon:Chinese water dragons become sexually mature and ready to breed at the age of 2 years. Each clutch has about 8-12 eggs and up to 18 eggs. Females can lay unfertilized eggs without mating with a male. Lays 1-2 clutches per year.

Bearded Dragon:Bearded dragons are not difficult to breed. They can start breeding at the age of 1.5-2 years. Females lay 2-5 clutches per year, and each clutch consists of 20-40 eggs. Bearded dragons can lay eggs without mating, but the eggs are sterile.

Verdict:Both Chinese water dragons and bearded dragons can lay unfertilized eggs without mating. Bearded dragons have a larger clutch and lay more clutches per year.

tail fall

Chinese Water Dragon:Chinese water dragons can lose or break their tails if they are frightened and if you put too much pressure on them. Their tail can regenerate to some extent, but will not grow back in the same way or to its full length.

Bearded Dragon:Bearded dragons won't drop their tails, but it can snap from too much pressure or accidents.

(Video) Just How Fast Do Chinese Water Dragons Grow and How Big Do They Get? 🦎🤔

Verdict:Bearded dragons win in this category. It is much easier for a Chinese water dragon to drop or break its tail. However, if you are careful, this is not very likely.


Chinese Water Dragon:Chinese water dragons are quite hardy. If you own one, keep an eye on the humidity (not too low or too high) to prevent skin problems and respiratory infections. Most of the other health problems are similar to those that bearded dragons can also suffer from.

Chinese water dragons are also known to smack glass and sometimes solid walls with their snouts. You must avoid using an all glass case or covering 3 sides with background tiles or fabric + add lots of plants. You will need to put about 4 to 5 inches of tape on the bottom of the cage to show your dragon that there is a barrier.

Bearded Dragon:Bearded dragons are hardy. Although they can get sick, most problems are prevented with good care.

Verdict:Both Chinese water dragons and bearded dragons are hardy, and good husbandry practices can help prevent health problems.


Chinese Water Dragon:Chinese water dragons mostly poop in water, so you need to refresh the water every 2-3 days if you have a filter installed. Feces should be removed with a net to facilitate cleaning.

Without a filter in a bathtub, you have to change the water every day. In addition, you must remove food residues daily and clean the substrate once a week. Completely refresh the substrate once every 2-3 months.

Bearded Dragon:Bearded dragons tend to poop in different parts of the tank, so you need to clean them up. Most bearded dragons relax and poop in the water, so some owners put them in the water to poop at the same time each day. Other cleaning activities include drinking water refreshment and removing food debris.

Verdict:Both bearded dragons and Chinese water dragons need to clean their tanks on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. The disinfection of the tank is also important for the well-being of your animal. Both bearded dragons and Chinese water dragons smell like feces (since they eat bugs). Pooping in water makes cleaning easier.


Bearded Dragons vs. Chinese Water Dragon - Full Comparison (3)

Chinese water dragon: Chinese water dragons are really beautiful, big green lizards with a long tail. They look a bit like iguanas but are smaller and less aggressive than them.

(Video) What You NEED to Know About Chinese Water Dragons

Especially males sometimes get a nice pink/turquoise or yellowish color on the throat. Some males also get yellow tint on their side. Males develop much longer spines, while females have them smaller or almost absent.

Bearded Dragon:Bearded dragons are beautiful lizards - males and females do not differ in appearance. There are a large number of different morphs that differ in coloring - yellowish, white, orange and more.

Verdict:Both lizards are beautiful and appearance is a matter of preference. There are sex variations in Chinese water dragons, while both sexes look alike in bearded dragons.

beginner suitability

Chinese Water Dragon:Chinese water dragons are not the best lizards for beginners. Some of their more complex needs include keeping humidity levels high, feeding a variety of forage bugs, and having a large enclosure. However, with proper research and preparation beforehand, it is possible.

Bearded Dragon:Bearded dragons make good pets for beginners. But research everything beforehand and set up an enclosure.

Verdict:Bearded dragons are more suitable for beginners. If you really want to have a chinese water dragon, make sure you are able to get a large enclosure for it, have the water in its bathtub and refresh and much more. Fortunately, there are many devices that can make their care a lot easier.

Summary – Bearded Dragons vs. Chinese Water Dragon

Hopefully this head-to-head comparison has helped you compare them better. Both Chinese water dragons and bearded dragons make amazing pet lizards.

However, Chinese water dragons have higher maintenance needs. But if you research and prepare everything in advance, it can be manageable. Dedication and the ability to take care of your pet physically and financially are the most important things. Over time, grooming routines become easier to manage.

Thank you for reading this Bearded Dragon vs Chinese Water Dragon comparison. If you want to read more comparison posts,Please see this resource page.

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