We live in Sydney, Australia, and are lucky enough to be surrounded by incredible wildlife. One of the animals in our backyard is the Eastern Water Dragon. These cool lizards swim in our pool on hot days, and for the rest of the time, we see them every now and then.

In November last year we saw a female in one of our flower pots next to the pool and later spotted lizards eggs she laid there. We covered the eggs with soil and then googled everything we could about egg hatching. With the hatching time getting closer, we paid careful attention to the eggs (four of the nine eggs looked pretty okay, and five seemed to be infertile – all wrinkled up).

Once we noticed what seemed like a slice in the egg (which turns soft) we moved the eggs to a terrarium that we set up for hatchlings. All this action usually happens underground, so it was pretty special to see it all. The eggs hatched one day after another, and it was amazing to be a part of this. The plan was to set the cute reptiles free once they all hatched and to capture as much as we would about this fantastic experience. We think they are all females as it turns out they are temperature-dependent-sex types of lizards. We had a sweltering summer in Sydney. They are now all free in our backyard.

Getting ready for the big world out there

The dragon can wait like this for more than an hour

From the time that the hatching started this would be about 5 hours later

Almost out of the shell (which turns soft when it almost hatches)

We named the first one Khalesi

The second one hatched the following day

Big smile for the camera

Waiting for egg number three to hatch

And then there were three.

Finally all four beautiful eastern water dragons

They are just gorgeous and we loved being a small part of their journey

All four hatched and ready to be set free in our backyard

Minutes before they were set free

It was hard saying goodbye but they have a big playground in our backyard and we hope to see them again one day swimming in our pool (like their parents do)

Photo of daddy with his red chest

Mommy is a bit smaller than daddy

The eggs were laid in a flower pot next to our pool – because mom left them uncovered we knew where they were and covered them with sand to make sure they would hatch successfully

Matchbox to get an indication of size of new born