Basic Information

Alternative Name: Common Gliding Lizard
Scientific Name: Draco volans
Distribution: Southeast Asia [6]
Habitat: Rainforests [6]
Activity: Arboreal [1]
Average Size: 7.87 in. (20 cm) [1]
Similar Species: Thai Flying Dragon (Draco taeniopterus) [6]
Anatomy: See Common Flying Dragon Anatomy

About the Common Flying Dragon

The Common Flying Dragon earned its name from its ability to glide from tree to tree, and they're common in the forests in Southeast Asia. [4] Primarily arboreal, [1] they climb trees and hunt for insects, but they do not glide during extreme wind or rain. [3]

A male claims territory in the wild, usually taking one to three trees of his own territory. [3] In each of these trees, one to three females roost. Inside this territory, the lizards wait for passing insects. [3] Their diet consists primary of small insects, [1] especially ants. [3]

Males attract mates by using a dewlap, [6] or flap of skin under its throat, to attract females. [1] Females bury eggs in the soil, [1] laying two to five eggs at a time. [6]

A common flying dragon can glide substantial distances, traveling up to five units per ever unit of descent (i.e. 5 feet for every 1 foot of height lost). [1] The Common Flying Dragon glides by way of its patagium, which is a large membrane formed by skin. [1] One each side of a body, a thin fold of skin extends between the fore- and hindlimbs. [4] Sometimes these flaps of skin are referred to as its "wings" [5] or pseudo-wings because the skin folds act more like parachutes than wings. [4] Six to seven pairs [1] of elongated, bony ribs support the patagium. [4]

The ribs can be folded back alongside the animal, [5] which folds the patagium like a fan. [1] When the animal wants to glide, it forms a gliding surface by spreading its membrane out and forward. [1] This is achieved by erecting its false ribs. [6]

Common Flying Dragons are sometimes kept as pets. [3] It is recommended that its home is large and well lit. Any Draco Volans needs plenty of places to hide, even as a pet. [3]

Physical Description

Common Flying Dragons are small, slender lizards with slightly blunted, short heads. [3] Their coloration ranges from green-brown to gray-brown, [6] and each of their hands and feet has five clawed toes. [3]

They have dewlaps under their chins, [6] which looks like a skin flap under their throats. Females have a blue-colored dewlap, sometimes with black speckles on it. [2] Males have a yellow dewlap. [1] The underside of their patagium is patterned orange and black. [6]



  1. Common Gliding Lizard: Draco volans
  2. Common Flying Lizard. Link Defunct: <>
  3. Central Pets: Common Flying Dragon. Link defunct: <>
  4. Halliday 94
  5. McCarthy 55
  6. O'Shea [Reptiles] 75

For more information on footnotes and references, please see the bibliography.