Species group: Water Dragons and Sailfin Lizards
Other common names: Crested Lizard; Sail-fin Lizard; Sailfin Water Lizard; Soa-soa Water Lizard
Scientific name: Hydrosaurus pustulatus
The Philippine Sailfin lizard is an oviparous lizard living only near rivers in the tropical forests of the Philippines. The Sailfin lizard is an excellent swimmer and has flattened toes that enable it to run across water.
Philippine Sailfin Lizards were commonly available in the pet trade during the 1990s, but today they are rare and expensive as they are limited to captive born specimens, and breeding in captivity has only been done by a few. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), the Philippine Sailfin Lizard is listed as "Vulnerable". "The threats to the two species of Hydrosaurus in the Philippines are generally very similar. Populations appear to be principally threatened by habitat loss, often the conversion of wooded land to alternative uses (including agriculture), and through logging operations. In addition, animals (especially hatchlings) are heavily collected for both the pet trade (national and possibly international) and local consumption."
Appearance / health:
The sail-fin lizard is notable not only for its impressive size of up to a meter in length, but also for its rather spectacular appearance. Adults of this large mottled greenish-gray lizard boast a well-developed crest of tooth-like scales from the nape of the neck down the back. However, the most distinctive feature of adult males is the erect ‘sail’ of skin at the base of their tail, up to 8 cm high, which provides propulsion for this strong swimmer to move through the water, and probably also plays an important role in territorial display and thermoregulation. Another adaptation to its watery environment is the large, flattened toes that help the lizard to swim, and even enable it to ‘run’ across the water’s surface, observed particularly in the lighter juveniles.
It is omnivorous, feeding on fruit, leaves, flowers, insects, and small animals.
easygoing personality, ancient looking faces, miniature dinosaurs
tall enclosure, large financial investment, long claws, UVB tubes
Beautiful little godzilla.
These beautiful animals are intelligent, large lizards. They need to be caged in very large enclosures, and require specialized lighting. They can be tamed down, but the one I worked with regularly was badly behaved. .
From Kacie Bingham Sep 29 2017 8:25PM
Stunning, but complicated display
I have a breeding pair of Sailfin Dragons, of which there are only a couple of adults in the UK. We recently hatched out our first babies - some of the very few captive bred in Europe! This species used to be a lot more common as they were wild caught; but if looking for one, you should search for them captive bred.
I have had my adult pair for 7 years, since they were babies. This is not a species I would ever recommend as a "pet", but if you wanted a serious display in your house and are willing to put in the time and large financial investment into them and their enclosure - then they are amazing creatures. It's like having miniature dinosaurs in your home!
My pair live in an 8ft long by 5ft deep by 6ft tall enclosure - completely equipped with 4 basking spots, 4 UVB tubes, a full size pond with industrial pump & filter and a ton of branches and climbing space. As you can imagine that's not something most people will keep as a pet.
Personality wise these are very active, intelligent lizards. Mine are happy to be handled as I've handled them from a young age - but they have long claws. Even though I clip the claws, they can scratch and draw blood simply from trying to climb on you. Mine have a varied diet, around 50% live insects and 50% salad and fruit, but will also eat defrosted mice. They love to swim and will dive to the bottom of the pond for food, and will often just chill in the water. They are amazing to look at, with ancient looking faces and crazy almost-webbed back feet.
Despite their easy-going personality, they are simply too complicated to care for and too hard to obtain captive bred, to ever be suitable as a regular pet, but I love my pair and don't regret the time, money and space that they take up. Breeding something so rare and unusual and knowing that you've helped increase a dwindling captive population is very rewarding.
Enjoy the pictures of my two, and a couple of their babies too..
From Athravan Jun 13 2015 2:35AM