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Australian Lizards

Dave Jay

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This is a Sleepy/Stumpy/Shingle-Back Skink that I came across (or it came across me!) in the Murray Mallee region, in the sand hills around Lake Bonney. You can see by the sand on it that the warm weather at the end of winter had brought it out from brumation early, it not only looks Sleepy, but Grumpy too!
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I've rescued a few of these from the side of the road, they get hit by cars quite often and will have injuries. Once their partner is run over they generally hang around until they get run over themselves, their bond is very strong even though they only get together for a few weeks in spring then go their separate ways. Each year for life they find the same partner to breed with and rarely breed again if one partner goes missing, but during the mating period they follow each other everywhere they go, which usually means crossing, or basking on roads. They are one of the most common road kills you'll see in Australia but despite this, and the fact they usually only have one baby at a time they are still very abundant, even in the suburbs.
Their temperament is excellent, they eat almost anything and the babies are born very large, sometimes more than half the length of the mother so they make excellent pets if you are sure you're buying captive bred offspring.
I will admit that as a child I have kept wild caught sleepies I've found in the bush, and within a few minutes they become complacent about being held and stop displaying and trying to bite. Once I found out they have the same partner for life I felt guilty keeping them even though they were released back into the bush on the next trip most times, now I cannot condone taking them from the wild at all, abundant though they may be.
 

Tortoise Tom

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@Dave Jay
More please! BTS are one of my favorite reptiles. I've raised and attempted to breed several Northern BTS, but failed because they were coincidentally all males. 7 of them! Shinglebacks are one of my favorites! They are very rare over here due to their slow reproductive rate and due to the Australian government's wildlife policies, so info like what you've shared here is GOLDEN for fans of the species in the US.

Thank you for posting this! If you take requests, I'm also a huge varanid fan, and any other skink species too.
 

Dave Jay

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Atm I only have a female Blue Tongue and a female Eastern Water Dragon, I have some nice pictures on my pc, I haven't used it for a while but I keep meaning to copy some pictures from it to post here.
I've never kept monitors, mostly because as a kid my brother and I could never catch them! We even tried a supposed Aboriginal method where one person stands in an open area and the other chases the monitor towards them, the idea is that the monitors instinct is to run up a tree so when panicked they will run up the person standing still! I'm sorta glad that didn't work lol!
I have pictures of garden skinks handy I think. I also have some nice pictures of Barking Geckos in the wild and a video of a tiny one latching onto my finger when I tried to shoo it so I could put the rock back down. I wasn't expecting it as it's head was about the size of my finger nail.
You might be interested in pictures of our Australian Long Necked Tortoises too.
I really must get busy looking through my computer. These days I mostly use my phone or netbook so the pc is under a mountain of Scorpion keeping equipment!
 
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Tortoise Tom

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Atm I only have a female Blue Tongue and a female Eastern Water Dragon, I have some nice pictures on my pc, I haven't used it for a while but I keep meaning to copy some pictures from it to post here.
I've never kept monitors, mostly because as a kid my brother and I could never catch them! We even tried a supposed Aboriginal method where one person stands in an open area and the other chases the monitor towards them, the idea is that the monitors instinct is to run up a tree so when panicked they will run up the person standing still! I'm sorta glad that didn't work lol!
I have pictures of garden skinks handy I think. I also have some nice pictures of Barking Geckos in the wild and a video of a tiny one latching onto my finger when I tried to shoo it so I could put the rock back down. I wasn't expecting it as it's head was about the size of my finger nail.
You might be interested in pictures of our Australian Long Necked Tortoises too.
I really must get busy looking through my computer. These days I mostly use my phone or netbook so the pc is under a mountain of Scorpion keeping equipment!
I would LOVE to see whatever pictures of your native wildlife you'd like to show. Here is one for you from my house:
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Also, I find it highly amusing that every continent on the planet calls a tortoise a tortoise and a turtle a turtle, except Australia, which does it the reverse of everyone else. Maybe its because you guys live your lives upside down in the Southern Hemisphere??? :D
 

Dave Jay

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Growing up the text books said that because of the structure of the foot our species are tortoises. The basic definition was said to be turtles have flippers, tortoises have claws, now it seems to be interchangeable.
 

Tortoise Tom

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Growing up the text books said that because of the structure of the foot our species are tortoises. The basic definition was said to be turtles have flippers, tortoises have claws, now it seems to be interchangeable.
For most of the rest of the world the distinction seems to be more that turtles are aquatic and tortoises are land animals. Then you have species like box turtles to confuse the issue.
 

Dave Jay

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Last night while feeding "Puffles" I remembered @MassExodus asking for pictures so I took a few, the good thing about taking pictures of her is she doesn't move when faced with a camera, that makes for a boring set of pictures though! Later I'll set up a photo shoot for her but here's a few taken through the top of her tank. Both her and the Blue Tongue are fully out of brumation now and are eating again so there'll be plenty of photo ops.

Female Eastern Water Dragon, Intellagama lesueurii lesueurii

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Dave Jay

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Great pics Dave. Thanks. I've never seen that species of skink. Neat O.
At around 10cm that skink would be a very mature adult, it's more usual to see them half that size. They are very hard to photograph without professional equipment, very fast and very aware you are there. I used to sit on a bench about 12' away from the garden border and they'd still bolt when I moved to raise the camera. There is a group that live in that particular garden and they would often gather on the garden border in the sun to sunbake and squabble but they are so hard to photograph, the slightest movement and they are gone.
They are rarely seen for sale but are commonly bred by snake keepers as live food.
 

Tortoise Tom

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At around 10cm that skink would be a very mature adult, it's more usual to see them half that size. They are very hard to photograph without professional equipment, very fast and very aware you are there. I used to sit on a bench about 12' away from the garden border and they'd still bolt when I moved to raise the camera. There is a group that live in that particular garden and they would often gather on the garden border in the sun to sunbake and squabble but they are so hard to photograph, the slightest movement and they are gone.
They are rarely seen for sale but are commonly bred by snake keepers as live food.
Our alligator skinks here are equally secretive and leery, but I've been having some fun feeding and taming the local fence swifts. I have a couple outside my house that will come take a red runner from my hand, and they follow me like puppies begging for food. I have to be careful not to step on them.
 

Dave Jay

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Our alligator skinks here are equally secretive and leery, but I've been having some fun feeding and taming the local fence swifts. I have a couple outside my house that will come take a red runner from my hand, and they follow me like puppies begging for food. I have to be careful not to step on them.
I looked up the fence lizards, very nice!

This is my female Blue Tongue.Three of her siblings live in the yard and I'll see one now and then, one of the males is stunning! They got out so I let them be, I had two left in captivity but one winter a storm upset the cages and flooded them, waking them up from brumation in the middle of winter and one didn't recover, it just went on a downward spiral and I couldn't save it. I've had her since she was born but she still runs to her home if I look at her, especially if I'm taking pictures. I had dropped some some snails in that I came across while sorting plant pots, then I found a Brown Tree Frog so I got the camera out. I bribed her to stay out with another snail but she picked it up and took it into her log to eat it anyway.
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Dave Jay

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I took a video of my Blue-tongue eating a snail today just on a whim, I'll try it again on a sunny day, it was very grey today. I find it impossible to get video of her so I just sat the camera on a rock and walked away but she still sat immobilised until I hid behind a plant.
 
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