Elland breeder says reptile species bred in the UK for first time

After 14 years of breeding reptiles Lisa Watson, 34, claims she has bred the Hydrosaurus pustulatus (aka Philippine Sailfin Dragon) in the UK for the first time.

Three recently hatched and were watched on the web by enthusiasts worldwide.

Lisa, of Portland House, Elland, said her colourful “tiny dinosaurs” are an endangered species and extremely rare in captivity and the last of the three sailfin species to breed in the UK.

They grow to 5ft in length and females have a golden colour and males sapphire blue. The species was a major factor in Lisa taking up her hobby.

“I saw an image and this was the lizard that captured my attention and became my dream reptile,” she said.

It took several years for her to own a breeding pair and they need specialist care.

Lisa Watson with her Philippine Sail Finn Dragon  and offspring.

Lisa Watson with her Philippine Sail Finn Dragon and offspring.

They have the free run of her lounge which Lisa said helped with their environmental enrichment.

Throughout her flat are around 100 different animals including lizards, turtles, scorpions and snakes. She also breeds live food such as cockroaches and crickets.

Lisa said there were only a handful of lizard breeders in the UK and none knew of any other Phillippine Sailfin Dragons having bred in the UK.

And, the advance of the internet and Facebook helped share knowledge which had helped her with her interests.

She is mum to Anita, 10, Connor, seven, and Eleanor, five and said: “The children absolutely love my hobby - they are living in their own zoo and everybody’s favourite friends as they also get up close to the reptiles.”

Contact Lisa at: psy-high-inflatables@hotmail.co.uk

From Philippine forests to an Elland block of flats

Philippine sailfin lizards live near rivers in the tropical forests of the Philippines.

They have flattened toes that enable them to run across water.

They feed on fruit, leaves, flowers, insects and small animals.

Breeding in captivity has only been successful in a few cases and parents have no maternal instincts.

Lisa says her lizards and collection of other animals are always popular when she takes them for educational visits to schools.

“And it’s very therapeutic to be able to handle them at home. It’s not just about housework - I’m pottering with them and cleaning the tanks.”

Lizards eat veg every day and live prey every other day. Snakes eat once a fortnight.