Chinese water dragons are smart pets that give immense pleasure to their owners when they are kept in proper condition. They usually look bright green and their sleek body and a few bands on their tail, which make them, look exotic when they are perfectly healthy and happy.
Sometimes they are seen with brown body and their skin color changes to a dull shade. Now, this can be an indicator of many conditions.
Why does the Chinese water dragon change colors?
There are several reasons that lead to the body color change of the Chinese water dragon. We will discuss them from now on. The reasons can be less humidity, more or less temperature, some kind of ailment, and malnutrition.
Threat or anxiety
If the Chinese water dragon is feeling anxious or has not settled in its new habitat then you can see the change in its body color. The color will lack glossiness and then it will turn to a dark shade of brown. The anxiety can be caused by placing it in some other new environment or enclosure. Also, it can be due to some other pets at your home. If you keep more than one Chinese water dragon in the same enclosure then also you can see one getting anxious and changing body color.
This is yet another reason for the change in the body color of the Chinese water dragon. Many owners are unaware of the fact that at the baby stage, Chinese water dragons remain light brown in color. However, they change the color to bright green when they get matured. At the age of one year, they become completely matured and thus they turn into the usual bright green shade.
As we have mentioned earlier in this guide, temperature and humidity play important role in keeping the health of the Chinese water dragon in proper condition. When this reptile is living inside a cage, the temperature and humidity should be such that it stays in a comfortable condition.
Chinese water dragons are ectothermic creatures and they get the body temperature from their surrounding environment. If the temperature outside is not as much as is needed by the creature then it will definitely affect their digestion and energy level. Also, the humidity present in the air keeps their body and skin hydrated.
When the humidity is too less than is necessary for the body condition of the Chinese water dragon then it affects its health. Humidity always varies with the temperature. The necessary level of temperature for this reptile pet is 84 degrees to 88 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature decreases then automatically the humidity level decreases.
You can keep the humidity level of the cage well balanced by adding good quality substrate to the cage of the Chinese water dragon. The sphagnum moss is an ideal substrate for the shelter as it retains moisture and thus keeps the humidity level at a balance. This is also an economic product as it can be reused many times.
When the Chinese water dragon is having malnutrition or is lacking in any particular vitamins. Vitamins are an essential part of the diet of any creature, and more so for the reptiles that are enclosed, vitamins should be present in a good amount in their meal. But even that is not sufficient as they should get a good amount of UVA and UVB rays to assimilate vitamins in their body.
The outcome of such a situation is a change in the body color of your pet. The sick and malnourished Chinese water dragon will show a lethargic attitude and its body color will be changed to brown.
Other than offering nutritious food and arranging good sources of UVB and UVA lights, you must add some multivitamin supplements. This way you can balance the level of vitamins in the body of your pet and it will get back its normal green color of the body.
Natural sunlight is great for the Chinese water dragon. But it is not possible for man owners to provide natural sunlight to their pets. So they arrange for some artificial light sources. Light sources are necessary for the Chinese water dragon because those ones provide the reptile with the UVA and UVB lights which is much necessary for the digestion process as well as the process of vitamin D3. You cannot expect the reptile to stay healthy when there is no source of UVA and UVB light. It will affect the health of the reptile and its skin color may turn brown.
All the reptiles that are kept as pets are prone to various kinds of bacterial or fungal infections. If a part of the body of your pet Chinese water dragon turns brown then it can be due to such infections. Also, it can be seen that the affected part is showing a different texture.
You should not try to apply for any ointment or medicine on the affected part and better take it to a vet for better suggestions and cure.
Humidity and moisture both play a vital role for the Chinese water dragon when it comes to the shedding process. When they are about to shed, sometimes their body turns to a dull shade of brown at a particular part. The skin of that part starts shedding at the beginning. You need to give it a bath in lukewarm water to initiate the hydrating process which will help it to shed the old skin more easily.
The shedding can be seen more frequently when they are growing up. After they become fully matured the tenacity of shedding decreases.
Is it uncommon for the Chinese water dragon to change color to brown?
As we have discussed so far, it is pretty clear that there are various different conditions that let the Chinese water dragons turn brown. Sometimes it is a natural phenomenon like shedding or growing. At other times there is something wrong with their daily life or the physique.
If the Chinese water dragon is turning to a dull shade of brown or even before that, when the dragon is losing its normal bright green color, the owner should become aware of its condition and start looking for solutions.
What should the owner do when they see the color of the Chinese water dragon turns brown?
To begin with, the owner needs to keep an eye on the health and activity of the Chinese water dragon. When keeping any pet, the duties of the owner do not end by giving it a well-decorated shelter and proper food at right time. There could be many other aspects that the owner may ignore to check.
After seeing the change of body color in the Chinese water dragon, you need to keep an eye on its activity level. If it is showing less movement and lack of energy then you need to check the lighting, heating, and humidity range of the cage. Make sure that all the equipment is running well. Also, measuring devices like the thermometer should work fine.
If the creature is facing a discoloring issue due to insufficient vitamins or other nutrients in its diet, then change the brand of the food or else take the suggestion of the vet regarding some multivitamin supplement. It would be great if you can manage to give it a proper diet with all the nutrients packed in it.