Sailfin Dragon (Hydrosaurus pustulatus)

Hydrosaurs are prehistoric-looking lizards from Asia. In particular, New Guinea, Indonesia, and the Philippines. They are more commonly known as Sailfins. Sailfins are large lizards and some species can get up to four-feet long and can live up to 25 years! The name comes from a large beautiful sail on its lower back and tail.

They can vary greatly in size and color. With the males generally being more colorful than the females. Males also have a larger crest than the females. In both sexes, their skin color changes as they age.

Sailfins are semi-arboreal which means they don’t mind hanging out in trees when they feel like it. They are also comfortable in water as well (semi-aquatic). They can run on water when frightened (similar to the basilisk - the Jesus lizard). They are amazing on land, sea, and.. err.. tree? Sadly, due to their popularity as pets, they are listed as a threatened species. They are also eaten by natives.

Notice the beautiful sail on this species. This is probably a male. It is believed that they use this sail for display (sexual selection) but may also assist with thermoregulation. The iconic sail is reminiscent of the Dimetrodon (an early mammal-like creature that lived about 280 million years ago). It is believed that the Dimetrodon may have also used its sail for both temperature control and attracting mates as well. Form follows function.

Despite the hydrosaur's dinosaur-esque appearance, they descend from a common ancestor with the iguana. In fact, they belong to a clade known as iguanids, in the superclade, Agamidae.

People wishing to start a family with these guys should have a large enclosure with short branches in the habitat for them to climb. They easily cost between $80 to $650 dollars. They eat vegetables, insects, lizards, and small mammals. Like most reptiles, they use the environment to regulate their body temperatures (ectothermic).

Visit the video below to watch this owner show off his dragon.


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