Sailfin Lizard - Soa Soa Water Dragon
The soa-soa water dragon aka the sailfin or crested lizard can be found in the rain forest in parts of Papua New Guinea, in the Maluku Islands and Sulawesi of Indonesia and in the Philippines. There are three species of the sailfin lizards, one lives in the Philippines alone, another lives in Indonesia alone and the other seems to live on all those islands. They are fairly similar lizards so distinction can be confusing for the amateur. They can be quite colorful with blue, yellow, orange, green and black. The males of these species have a distinctive crest or “sail fin” on its tail supported by bony figments.
The other distinction of these lizards is that they are the largest of their kind (the agamid lizards) and have very strong and powerful forefeet. They can be bigger than 3.5 ft (1.1 m) including their long tails which can be 30 inches (75 cm) in length. They also have long “fingers”or toes.
This lizard likes to be near the water. It swims very well by using its tail and webbed feet to propel itself while in the water. When this lizard travels on dry land, it can run on its hind legs. This behavior is somewhat similar to the unrelated Jesus lizard of the Americas except the Jesus lizard runs on the water. The frilled lizard can also run on its hind legs. In order to maintain its big size, this lizard needs to eat plenty of leaves, tender plants and insects. It particularly loves to snack on the millipede.