Chinese Tree Dragon
We have a trio of chinese tree dragons living together in a massive mesh cage. The one male, Mashirito, the original female Miho, and the most recent addition a second female named Tiān. The female Miho gave us a clutch in her first year of us having her but they were not viable, likely due to her being fresh wild caught and still stressed. They've since been on worm treatment and in our care for several healthy years now. They're a great and colorful additon to our collection and one of the favorites. Tiān may have another clutch ready soon, fingers crossed. 

We have gathered care information about this species based on our own experiences. It seems such information is scarce. You can find it below!
Chinese Tree Dragon Care and Information
(Japalura splendida)


Size:
9.5 inches with tail
Lifespan:
Unknown, too few specimens in the hobby
Temperament:
Skittish, prey animal syndrome
Weight:
20g for males, 13 for females


Chinese Tree Dragons, or Neon Tree Dragons, Japalura splendida, Agama Dragon, or even Banana Split Mountain Lizard, is a colorful, active, small, and lesser known lizard. Looking like a bearded dragon hatchling but colored with bright neon green stripes with deep chocolates inbetween. Both sexes show these colors, but males more so. They are diurnal aborial lizards and a joy to watch in the vivarium as they are constantly on the move. Much like other small lizards they are mostly for observation and not suitable for being handled due to their size and prey mindset. They are rarely sold in stores and are nearly guarenteed to have been wild caught from China if they are.

Diet
A varied diet of many insects is prefered by these dragons. Their favorite food is safe flying insects such as moths, craneflies, and hover flies. One should avoid house and horse flies. They also will enjoy termites, grasshoppers, crickets, and roaches, along with most other soft bodied commercially available food. Farmed maggots make for a good treat. Mealworm's hard shell can clog the dragon's system and doesnt offer much nutrition so should be avoided.

Females should have their food regularly dusted with calcium, or their prey fed with kale. Both sexes are prone to MTB and often are sold from petshops with early signs of this in the form of crinkled tails. This comes from improper diet, and even when corrected, the tail will never straighten back out completely. Some dragons will eat calcium dust out of a dish like leopard geckos do. If your dragons will self suplement from a dish their food does not need dusting as often.

Feedings should happen everyday, and be abour five crickets for an average adult already to weight. If they are underweight, or expecting eggs, offer them however many they will eat. These are active lizards so they are not prone to becoming overweight if in a proper habitat.

When feeding dragons in a group dispense the insects throughout the entire enclosure instead of in one spot. If a certain dragon needs more than the others isolate them in a temporary enclosure with their food until they are finished feeding.

Water
These dragons love water. They will bath and wade around in the same water that they drink from so it should be kept clean. They will not drink from standing water or water that is in a dish too small. An easy solution to let them bath and drink is to offer a large pan or pool with about an inch of water with some pebbles creating a slope to offer a gradient. A gentle aquarium bubbler will be plenty of movement to entice the dragons.

Lighting and Humidity
They will need a uvb light so they can process calcium and enhance their colors. There should be many places of different heights for them to choose at what distance they wish to be in.

They will also need a basking light around 95F at the hottest basking spot, and gradients made from branches below. Temperture away from the basking spot can be room temp if appropriate grandients are offered. At night their temperatures can drop as cold as 60F, but room temperature is perfectly fine.

Dragons like higher humidity in bursts, with the base being around 60 - 70%. Misting can achieve these bursts and they also enjoy being showered in the process. Misting should be done once a day.


Shedding
Because of the nature of their rough and clingy scales they will sometimes need assistance with shedding. Even with proper humidity and rough surfaces their scales may still cling to the tail, jaw, and toes. This can be remidied by bathing them everyday until the shed comes off. A small tub with a hand towel and enough luke warm water to cover up to their elbows will work nicely. Leave them to run around in their for about half an hour before returning them.


Enclosure
Dragons love having as much space as possible, and will use every inch of it including the walls, floors, ceiling, and everything inbetween. A chameleon style mesh cage will allow them to access all corners of their enclosure. Clear walls such as glass or plastic are not reccomended as they will run into it trying to get to what's behind it. To retain humidity the sides and back can be wrapped in a cloth. This also can offer a chance to make a beautiful background.

Include as many plants, branches, wood, leaves, vines, rope, bark, tunnels, hanging hammocks, and even rocks as you can. The dragons will utilize everything you put into their enclosure, the more surface area for them to climb on the better and more enjoyable they are to watch.  Even parrot toys will be jumped on and enjoyed. Their water source should be placed away from their heat source at any elevation or on the floor.


Behavior
The behavior of Chinese Tree Dragons varies greatly between indivisuals and where they came from. Wild caught indivisuals will be far more skittish. They may takes months to calm down and fully get used to their new enviorment. Captive breds will be far more relaxed when approached but may still never be handlable, as is the nature of small prey lizards.
The range of tameness these lizards display go to both extemes. Some will run to the front of the enclosure and beg for insects everytime you approach, while others will race into dark corners even if all you did was wave an arm from across the room. They are mostly for observation which is their best quality anyways.


These lizards are social and can be houses in groups. Only one male can be kept in an enclosure. Like a betta fish they will fight for dominancy. This usually results in death of the weaker male from injury or resource denial. Several females can be kept with a single male, or a group of several females if you do not want eggs. Several hiding places and basking places need to be supplied if you are housing dragons together. Females will form a hierarchy with eachother, the most dominant female usually assuming a slightly brighter color than the rest who will remain dull. She will also take priority to best basking areas. The male is almost always dominant over the group of females.

Courtship, Breeding, and Eggs
When courting eachother in late summer the male will initiate a chase with a female who is showing signs of eggs. He will bob his head and turn his yellow chin to her then dart after her, trying to grasp her. If she likes what she sees she will bob her head in return. The chase can continue for weeks. A good male will not persue the females constantly, rather only in one or two burst through the day and giving them a break the rest of the day. If your male won't give the females a break he may need to be houses alone.


After a successful mating the female will develope her eggs fully and will look for a place to deposit them. She will need substrated habitat with soil or cocnut fiber or a large, deep dish to bury her eggs in. Keep whatever she lays in moist. About a week from laying it will look as if she swalled beans and it will be easy to tell when she had layed as her sides will siddenly be smooth. 

Cluthes are anywhere from 5 to 12 tiny eggs, half the size of crested gecko eggs. If incubating them mark the tops and incubate them similar to leopard gecko eggs. The eggs require a minimum temperature of 80f (26.6c) and will incubate for 40 to 60 days. The temperature effects the sex of the hatchlings in the same manner as leopard geckos. The hatchlings are absolutely tiny and will need to be housed in groups of 2 or 3. They do much better when in groups but don't overcrowd them. They will eat appropriate sized insects such as pinhead crickets dusted with calcium/properly gutloaded. Feed them as much as they will eat everyday as they will be various fast growing dragons.