Gliding ( Flying ) Lizards ( Draco) Care :
For now, if you need a Draco fix, just watch the video repeatedly. It is really cool how these guys can glide! For that ability alone I think these lizards deserve an honorary place on anyone’s weirdest-lizards list. On mine they would share it with another bizarre species: the moloch (Moloch horridus).
Fantastic Gliding Lizards:
For this blog I wanted to write about some kind of bizarre reptile. As I sat wracking my brain, eventually into it popped an image of a lizard gliding from a high tree limb and soaring through the air. That’s pretty bizarre behavior for a lizard.
DRACO LIZARDS “FLY” BY EXTENDING MEMBRANE-COVERED RIBS AS SHOWN IN THIS 19TH CENTURY ILLUSTRATION
Lizards of the genus Draco can do just that. They’re like reptilian flying squirrels. Which leads me into a segue about flying squirrels.
Years ago, I had a pet flying squirrel. It was a northern flying squirrel, which I kept in a birdcage. That squirrel was hands-down the fastest-moving animal I ever kept. It moved so fast it was hard to focus on it unless it was standing still. It was a very cute, furry little animal that developed a fetish for a heavy terrycloth bathrobe I owned at the time. That squirrel loved the bathrobe’s deep pockets. I would hang the robe on a hook that was on the inside of my bathroom door. Then, either holding the squirrel in my hands or with it perched on my shoulder, I would stand several feet away from the robe. The squirrel would inch to the edge of my hand or shoulder, wiggle back and forth a bit, and then suddenly leap toward the robe. It would glide with its furry membrane spread out and steer with its little, bushy tail. Friends and family always got a big kick out of this display. The squirrel would scamper into a pocket and sleep there. I believe I named the squirrel Rocky. Real original, huh?
Draco lizards may not be quite as cute as flying squirrels (well, depending on one’s taste, I suppose), but they enjoy the same type of gliding ability. They are agamids indigenous to forested areas in Southeast Asia. Given Draco lizards’ unique defensive action of gliding away from danger, it should come as no surprise that they are primarily arboreal, though I’ve read that females descend from their treetop habitats to lay eggs. Ants comprise a large part of the Draco diet (much like the extremely difficult-to-keep-for-this-reason horned lizards of the U.S.).
According to the reptile database on the J. Craig Venter Institute website, there are currently 39 species of Draco lizards. Because of their gliding ability, the common names of some can be colorful, such as “Bartlett’s flying dragon.” In my mind’s eye, this brings forth an image more along the lines of the giant flying and fire-breathing dragons in movies like Dragonslayer and Dragonheart rather than an 8-inch-long lizard.
The overall appearance of some Draco lizards is pretty drab, but not all of them are dull-looking. Photos by John C. Murphy illustrate this fact. Draco lizards are able to glide by expanding membrane-covered ribs outward. Check out the video that accompanies this blog to see one in action (it comes after the dragon back tattoo). Somewhat reminiscent of the colorful dewlaps of some lizards, such as anoles, the extended gliding membrane of a Draco lizard is often similarly brightly colored.
I know the thought that pops into many a reptile-lover’s mind when reading about animals is, “I want one; where can I get one?” Draco lizards are not widely available, and when it comes to local stores, they are not exactly abundant. They do pop up on sellers’ lists every once in a great while. Perusing reptile classifieds may yield results, but there is not much information available regarding the care requirements of captive Draco lizards. This reveals that they are not often kept in captivity, and you would not have a large backlog of information to consult when attempting to care for yours. Of course, it can be great to be one of the few who can successfully keep a lizard rare in captivity, and to publish successful care tips you followed while caring for yours for others who may want to follow in your footsteps. But by all indications Draco lizards are not for novices, and only someone who knows what they’re doing, or has access to people who might have some familiarity with the animals, should consider acquiring them should some become available.
How to Care for Your Flying Dragon (Draco volans)
FEBRUARY 1, 2016 ~ BACKWATERREPTILES
In this article we’re going to explain to you information on Flying dragon care and setup as a reptile pet. They’re definitely one of the most fascinating creatures on the planet, and definitely a favorite with our customers!
The Flying dragon (Draco volans) is a species of agamid lizard that is also known as the Flying Lizard and the Flying Draco. These lizards are brown to dark brown in color with some darker overlay patterns. Males have a yellow-ish dewlap and females tend to have a blue dewlap. They will grow to be about eight inches long.
They are unique and interesting pet lizards because they have “wings” that allow them to glide from tree to tree in the wild. These wings are not true wings, but rather a ribbed membrane attached to the side of the dragon’s body that spread out like a fan.
The Flying Dragon is not a pet lizard you commonly see. Although these lizards are not extremely difficult to care for, they aren’t that easy to come by. We do not recommend these lizards be kept by beginners, although herpers with some experience (and space to house them) will find them to be rewarding pets.
Flying dragons come from the Philippines, western Malaysia and also widely across the Indo-Pacific islands. They prefer to live in forested areas with lots of trees and foliage and rarely descend to the ground.
When their wings are extended, bright colors are displayed, which makes it easier to determine the dragon’s gender. When the wings are not in use, the dragon keeps them folded closely against its body, giving the lizard a long, slender appearance.
Here you can see a flying dragon with its wings relaxed. These are long, skinny lizards when they aren’t gliding.
In the wild, flying dragons will eat mostly termites and ants, but in captivity, they can be taught to eat crickets, mealworms, and flies as a staple diet. It’s always wise to offer a bit of variety in order to make sure your dragon gets all the nutrients and vitamins it needs.
Flying dragons should always have access to a water dish. We also recommend misting their enclosure regularly as they do come from moist and tropical environments.
If you want to see your dragon fly, you must provide it with enough space. Due to their arboreal nature, you should provide an enclosure that is tall as well as wide. There will need to be plenty of sturdy plant life and foliage inside the enclosure with enough space between them to allow the dragon room to stretch its wings.
It is generally acceptable to house two or three females together, or even one male with several females. This will encourage the male to perform territory and mating rituals which can be entertaining to watch. When the male encounters a female, he will extend his wings and dewlap and try to make himself look larger. He will also bob his head to display his dominance.
We do not advise keeping multiple males in one enclosure as it will cause them undue stress. They might even injure one another.
In general, flying dragons are somewhat secretive. Although they’re not aggressive, they usually don’t enjoy being handled and will do much better if left to their own devices in their enclosures.
As previously mentioned, flying dragons are arboreal and don’t descend to the ground often. The only behavior that has been observed where they go to the ground by choice is when a gravid female lays her eggs.
The female will dig a hole with her snout and proceed to lay a clutch of approximately five eggs. After the eggs have been deposited in the ground, the female will cover them and remain with them for a day or so. The eggs will hatch in about a month’s time.
When a flying dragon spreads its membranous “wings,” the colors that show through are quite spectacular. We detail their care in this blog post.
Flying dragons use their wings to glide from tree to tree and in territorial displays. They look like they’re part lizard, part butterfly, don’t they?
While flying dragons make impressive and fascinating pets, they are not for everyone or for beginners.
Due to their arboreal nature, they need an enclosure that is built like with an arboreal style so they have room to glide and hide. This means a wide and tall cage will be needed.
In addition, flying dragons can be secretive and are not great pets for someone who would like to handle their reptile often.
If you are ready to care for your own flying dragon, Backwater Reptiles does have these beautiful and unique gliding lizards for sale.
Other Websites :
Nicole show off the Draco Flying Lizards!
My draco lizard
Flying Lizards Soar Like Dragons - Planet Earth II
Draco flying lizard - defense
The Flying Dragon | World's Weirdest
Flying Reptiles! Corey Wild - Ep. 20 : AnimalBytesTV
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Gliding Lizards - Introduction