Gold Coast Lizards
Lizards on the Gold Coast are quite plentiful. We have hundreds of little lizards in our garden and occasionally we get to see large goannas, water dragons, bearded dragons and blue tongues.
This little House Gecko likes to hunt spiders and insects. He is a regular visitor inside our home at night. Photographed here on the stain glass partition next to our front door. The little lizard emits a surprisingly loud “Tchak,Tchak,Tchak”. I have no idea where this Gecko hides out through the day.
In this species, the snout is longer than the distance between the eye and the ear-opening, and is 1.3 to 1.5 times the diameter of the orbit. The forehead is concave and the ear-opening is small and roundish.
The body and limbs are moderately sized. The digits are moderately dilated and free; the inner one has a sessile claw. There are 4 or 5 lamelli under the inner digits, 7 or 8 (seldom 9) under the fourth finger, and 9 or 10 under the fourth toe.
The upper surfaces of the body are covered with small granules. The largest granules are on the snout; on the back these granules are intermixed with more or less numerous irregularly scattered round convex tubercles which are always much smaller than the ear-opening, and which are sometimes almost entirely absent.
The nostril is pierced between the rostral, the first labial, and three nasals. There are 10 to 12 upper and 8 to 10 lower labials. The mental is large, triangular or pentagonal. There are two or three pairs of chin-shields, the median is in contact behind the point of the mental.
The abdominal scales are moderate in size, cycloid and imbricate. The male has a series of 30 or 36 femoral pores, which are not interrupted on the preanal region.
The tail is rounded, feebly depressed, and covered above with very small smooth scales and six longitudinal series of keeled tubercles. The underside has a median series of transversely dilated plates. The tail serves in many species as an energy or fat like storage which the animal uses under abnormal feeding conditions. Though fragile, the tail regenerates to its original shape if detached.
The coloration of the animal is grayish or pinkish brown above. This tint can be uniform in color, or more or less distinctly marbled with darker markings. The head is generally variegated with brown. On the side of the head, a more or less defined brown streak, light-edged above, passes through the eye and in some individuals extends along the side of the body. The lower surfaces of the animal are whitish.
Commonly known as the the Bearded Dragon, The genus is placed in the subfamily Agaminae of the family Agamidae. Their characteristics include spiny scales arranged in rows and clusters. These are found on the throat, which can be expanded when threatened, and at the back of the head. The species also display a hand-waving gesture, thought to draw an attack from any predator that may be in the area. They also have the chameleon-like ability to change colours during rivalry challenges between males, and in response to temperature change and other stimuli.
Some people on the Gold Coast refer to this lizard as a “water dragon” as they are often found wandering around water pools in resort gardens.
The last time I was at the boardwalk at mariners cove one was wandering amongst the dining tables looking for food scraps. See below.
These common terrestrial and often arboreal monitors are found in eastern Australia and range from Cape Bedford on Cape York Peninsula to south-eastern South Australia. They frequent both open and closed forests and forage over long distances (up to 3 km a day). They are mainly active from September to May, but are inactive in cooler weather and shelter in a tree hollow or under a fallen tree or large rock.
The females lay from 4 to 14 eggs in spring or summer in termite nests. They frequently attack the large composting nests of Scrub Turkeys to steal their eggs, and often show injuries on their tails inflicted by male Scrub Turkeys pecking at them to drive them away.
Their patterning consists of white spots, blotches or bands on their body. Their distribution is chiefly coastal. Their diet typically consists of insects, reptiles, small mammals, birds and birds’ eggs.
Like all Australian goannas, they were a favourite traditional food of Australian Aboriginal peoples and their fat was particularly valued as a medicine and for use in ceremonies.
Blue Tongued lizards occupy a range of habitats from desert, semi-arid savannah, woodland and temperate suburban areas through to tropical jungles and novelty wholesalers. They are omnivorous and may feed on berries, flowers and other plant material, fungi, insects, spiders, or other small animals, carrion, and they are very partial to snails. They may grow up to 60 cm (depending on the species). Solitary for most of the year, mating occurs in September-November. Pair bonding may occur over successive years (Bull 1988, 1990). The young are born (live) 3-5 months after mating (December-April). Litters may have 5-18 individuals.
Predators include kookaburras, raptors, and snakes such as the Eastern brown snake or the Mulga snake (Valentic 1996). Dogs and cats have also been known to attack blue-tongues in a suburban environment. When a blue-tongue is threatened, it will face the threat by opening its mouth wide, sticking out its blue tongue and hissing to scare away the threat.