Water Dragon Cannibalism.

Discussion in 'General Reptile Discussion' started by baker, Jan 11, 2017.

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  1. baker

    baker Well-Known Member

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    Certainly not the greatest of photos but a rather interesting behavioural observation none the less.
    While performing water dragon surveys today I came across this adult male that had killed and was beginning to consume one of the resident females within his territory. While cannibalism is nothing new in water dragons, it is typically adults and sub-adults feeding on hatchlings and young dragons. To my knowledge and that of the people in the lab I am assisting, cannibalism of another adult has not been recorded. Would be interesting to hear if anyone else has observed this sort of behaviour before in Australian agamids.

    Also before people ask, I am 98% sure he killed her. I wasn't fortunate to see it, but I had someone come up and tell me one dragon had another by the head while I was recording a separate dragon. Thinking it was mating I quickly finished up recording the dragon I was examining and went over. By the time I got there he had crushed her head and it was over. When I collected her body for dissection it was still warm along with exhibiting damage to the tail further suggesting predation (or at the least mating gone horribly wrong).
    I observed him for approximately 15 minutes afterwards were he then began to consume the head. During this period he also prevented another female from coming near the body along with pulling it further into the bushes.

    20170109_134818.jpg 20170109_135542.jpg

    Cheers, Cameron
     
  2. Nero Egernia

    Nero Egernia Subscriber Subscriber

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    This seems to show that there's always a chance, however small or large, of reptiles cannibalizing each other, regardless of an individual's size. Did he manage to consume all of her?
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2017
  3. Aussie_monitors

    Aussie_monitors Not so new Member

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    Not exactly to do with the original post, but I recently witness a water dragon having a feed on some roadkill. Very interesting.
     
  4. princessparrot

    princessparrot Very Well-Known Member

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    Ok, this makes me really scared to house my baby's together...
    obviously I'm going to wait till the little one is abit bigger but anyway...

    image.jpg
     
  5. pinefamily

    pinefamily Subscriber Subscriber

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    Not so much to worry about at that age, Princessparrot. Only the usual dominance issues, as with most dragons.
     
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  6. princessparrot

    princessparrot Very Well-Known Member

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    How about when they're bigger and I move them outside?
     
  7. pinefamily

    pinefamily Subscriber Subscriber

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    I'd be cautious keeping all three together, unless you build a large enough enclosure.
     
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  8. princessparrot

    princessparrot Very Well-Known Member

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    I was planning on using one about2.5-1.5-2m... Whether that's big enough for all three I'm not sure... Might need to look into making an extra on...
     
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  9. dragonlover1

    dragonlover1 Subscriber Subscriber

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    my son and I were planning on using an old aviary about 8' square for water dragons when we get them
     
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  10. princessparrot

    princessparrot Very Well-Known Member

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    Yeah that's what I'm doing.
    just waiting for them to get big enough!
     
  11. baker

    baker Well-Known Member

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    Certainly is a good reminder for people that no matter how long two or more reptiles have lived together it doesn't mean everything will always be fine. Nah he didn't. I ended up collecting the body off him after about 15 minutes so that it could be dissected later on to see if she was gravid or ovulating at all.

    Hahaha I've seen that as well Aussie_monitors. I was doing a survey and came across a male feeding on a roadkill possum, was an interesting day.

    Big enough pit princessparrot and you shouldn't have a problem. Water dragons are a much more tolerant species to living in groups, just have to watch for dominance issues but you shouldn't have a problem. This is the first time anyone in the lab had heard of an adult cannibalising another adult. Cannibalism in general doesn't seem that common with only another four times I know of it being observed while surveying. Of course we could just be missing it. All but this one event have been adults and sub-adults predating on hatchlings and individuals less than a year old.

    Cheers, Cameron.
     
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  12. princessparrot

    princessparrot Very Well-Known Member

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    What are the chances of a water dragon eating a bearded dragon? Just I housed to small/young ones together and they seemed like best a friends but the water dragon suddenly took off in growth and is now more than twice the beardies size!

    this was them before

    image.jpg
     
  13. Wally

    Wally Subscriber Subscriber

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    ^^ Better than average.
     
  14. Aussie_monitors

    Aussie_monitors Not so new Member

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    Wild Jacky dragons IMG_1964.JPG IMG_1965.JPG
     
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  15. princessparrot

    princessparrot Very Well-Known Member

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    so is it likely to happen? If so is it more likely to happen as adults than young ones or about even
     
  16. pinefamily

    pinefamily Subscriber Subscriber

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    In your case PP it is likely because of the size difference you mentioned.
     
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  17. princessparrot

    princessparrot Very Well-Known Member

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    Ok. Might have to separate them then
     
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  18. Wally

    Wally Subscriber Subscriber

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    I'd hate for someone to say it's OK to go ahead and do it and something were to happen. Prevention is the best cure.
     
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