Australia’s coolest lizard species

Very excited to find my first thorny devil (Moloch horridus)- these little dragons are incredible, they are they covered in spikes and exceptionally good at camouflaging into the bush, and also have a “false head” on their neck, which when they dip their head helps to hide their real head from predators! They also use capillary action to transport water to their mouths from their skin! How amazing are these guys! Found near Natures Window in Kalbarri, Mid West Western Australia.

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New publication!

Responses of animals to mine site restoration are often overlooked in favour of vegetation surveys. Animals are generally assumed to landscapes following the return of vegetation, however in practice this is rarely the case. My recent paper “Overlooked and undervalued: the nelected role of fauna and a global bias in ecological restoration assessments” reviews the use of fauna in assessments of mine site restoration success globally, and highlights the issues associated with overlooking fauna in the restoration equation.

You can read the paper online here: https://www.publish.csiro.au/PC/PC18079

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Australia’s largest lizard!

Growing up to 2.5m in length, Perentie’s (Varanus giganteus) are Australia’s largest lizard species, and one of my absolute favourite species of varanid. They have incredibly distinctive markings on their throats, which they like to puff out (along with the occasional hiss) to let you know you’re an unwelcome visitor. These perenties were found in the Mid West region of Western Australia. One was approaching full size, and the other was a juvenile (but already over a metre long!).

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An adult perentie showing a typical threat response- puffing out its throat and hissing

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A juvenile perentie eyeing me off

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A juvenile perentie taking refuge under the trees on a hot day

 

 

The first herps of the season are emerging!

Spring is kicking in, and the reptiles have started to emerge again! One of my favourites to see around is the resident yellow spotted monitor (Varanus panoptes) that lives in a disused area of our site. This monitor is exceptionally wary, and disappears down its burrow when approached, or if it sees human movement, and can be tricky to photograph. Monitors have fascinating behaviour and movement, and capturing a shot of this one took a whole load of patience. Typically, after being spooked it wouldn’t come back out for 10-15 minutes, and then it was a patient waiting game of usually 20 minutes just with its head poked out the burrow, to anywhere up to an hour to being fully out of the burrow. Using the remote shooting setting, I set my camera opposite its burrow. These are a couple of the shots:

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