Reptiles are a diverse group of animals including turtles, lizards, snakes and crocodiles. Their body temperature varies with the outside temperature and they also have scales. Reptiles reproduce either by laying eggs or giving birth to live young.
Learn more about the reptiles in our wildlife family.
Eastern Water Dragon
- The central row of spikes on its body is called the “nuchal crest” which is why these lizards are referred to as a “dragon”.
- Their long tail comprises about two-thirds of their total length which they use for swimming.
- They can swim totally submerged for up to 90 minutes at a time.
- Males have bolder colouration and larger heads than females.
- They are fast runners, strong climbers and cold blooded reptiles that eat meat, fruit, vegetation and insects.
- Native to Eastern Australia, these lizards are found near creeks, rivers and lakes.
BOYD FOREST DRAGON
- These lizards have enlarged cheek scales, a prominent crest and puff out their yellow throat pouch called a “dewlap” when defending their territory.
- Camouflage is used rather than speed as a defence mechanism.
- These lizards are a sit-and-wait predator, catching prey that they spy from their perches.
- Their prey consists primarily of invertebrates and earthworms.
- Their habitat is the rainforests of northern Queensland.
- This snake is also known as the “amethystine python” because of its rainbow iridescence.
- It is Australia’s largest snake growing over 6 metres in length and can weigh up to 24 kilograms.
- They use their heat sensing pits to locate prey including small birds, reptiles, frogs and mammals.
- They are non-venomous and use their bite to grab then constrict prey with their muscular body.
- This reptile prefers warm, humid habitats with good water sources and in Australia is found north of Townsville in Queensland.
MERTEN’S WATER MONITOR
- Monitors are great swimmers and can stay partially submerged in the water when searching for prey.
- Their nostrils are on top of their head (like a crocodile) which have a special valve that closes when they dive.
- Hatchlings usually enter the water and swim straight away and can grow up to a metre long.
- Their habitat includes the top end and east coast of Australia.
- They feed on small creatures found in the water including frogs, fish, crabs and small mammals. It will also forage on land for small mammals, birds, eggs and even insects.
- Estuarine crocodiles are the largest of all living reptiles and considered to be the oldest living dinosaur on earth with ancestors dating back over 240 million years ago.
- The males of this species can reach sizes of up to 7 metres long and weigh as much as 2,000 kilograms.
- These reptiles are one of two species of crocodile found in Australia (the other is the freshwater crocodile).
- Goliath (our resident Estuarine Crocodile) and his relatives can live in salt water which is why they are often referred to as “salties” but usually reside in mangrove swamps, estuaries and lower stretches of rivers along the top end of Australia.
- Freshwater crocodiles are also known as the Australian freshwater crocodile or the Johnston’s Crocodile.
- They can grow up to 3 metres in length and are not considered dangerous to humans.
- These reptiles are carnivores and only eat small prey which consist mainly of small mammals, fish, birds, bats, reptiles and amphibians.
- They are found in the northern regions of Australia, in freshwater wetlands, billabongs, rivers and creeks.
Kreft’s River Turtle (Emydura macquarii Krefftii)
Murray River Turtle (Emydura macquarii macquarii)
- Australian short-necked turtles can grow up to 30 cm long and live to around 20 to 30 years.
- A Krefft turtle has a distinctive white strip along the side of its face from its nose and leading down its neck.
- Male turtles have a long tail while the females have a shorter one.
- They are omnivores which means they eat a variety of food of both plant and animal origin.
- They live in freshwater areas along the east coast of Australia.
- Their habitat’s warmer climate means they don’t hibernate and remain active all year round.