Chinese water dragons are omnivorous, but the bulk of their diet should consist of live crickets, mealworms, earthworms, locusts, grasshoppers and feeder fish. Shredded vegetables and small chunks of fruit can make up 10 to 15 percent of their diet. Chinese water dragons prefer a varied diet and may refuse food if bored; ideally, owners should change the type of food offered daily to keep their appetites interested.
Their diets also vary slightly based on age. Hatchlings and young dragons need their food broken up into small pieces, while juvenile and adult dragons can eat whole prey. Adult water dragons should also be fed newborn baby mice that are either completely hairless or just starting to grow fur. These newborn mice, sometimes called pinkies or fuzzies, provide important nutrients and are high in calcium. Adult dragons can also eat king mealworms, but these feedings can be more difficult since the worms bite. To avoid injury, owners should crush the worm's head before feeding it to a Chinese water dragon.
Owners should never feed Chinese water dragons insects caught outdoors or in the backyard. It is impossible to determine whether the insect has been exposed to pesticides or herbicides; feeding a contaminated insect to a Chinese water dragon can cause serious illness.