Not by the Hairs of my Chinny Chin Chin!
Have you ever seen a dragon with chin whiskers? It's not a riddle or the Frill-necked Lizard, it's the Bearded Dragon of course! Both male and female Bearded Dragons have beards.
Bearded Dragons have spines under and around their throats that give them their distinguishing feature and name. These spikes are actually quite rubbery, not sharp, and fool predators into thinking that this is a dangerous lizard.
True Blue Aussie
Did that lizard just stick his tongue out at you? If the tongue was bright blue then it must be the funny looking blue-tongued lizard. The blue-tongue is a very slow-moving buddy who will often make you laugh as he waddles through your garden, sticking out his tongue.
You will start to see blue-tongues (or blueys) more often now as they begin emerging from their winter homes to look for mates. They are only active during the day which makes them easy to spot.
Tall Tales from the Broad-tailed Gecko
This clever gecko is a master of disguise and just built for trickery. Its distinctive tail is used as a decoy to confuse predators. A smooth tail is a sign that it has been lost and regrown.
The Broad-tailed Gecko grows up to 15 cm in length including its tail. They have scales all over their bodies, which are pointed. Their rocky appearance gives you a clue as to where they love to live.
Burton's Legless Lizard
Lurking and Legless - This Slippery Buddy Is Not What It Seeeeems
This slithery buddy is often mistaken for a snake at first glance, and it's an easy mistake to make. However, the Burton's Legless Lizard is actually more closely related to geckoes than to snakes! It's important to know how to spot the distinctive marks of this lizard, because it's a harmless and interesting pal to have around your garden.
There are key differences between snakes and this deceptive looking lizard. A good one to look for is the shape of its face. A Burton's Legless Lizard has a wedge-shaped snout that sets it apart from both snakes and other lizards.
A Small Gecko with a Big Personality!
Around February and March, you may find some baby geckos around your place. They could be juvenile Bynoe's Geckos, just hatched from eggs laid from October to early January.
This is one ambitious and accomplished gecko. Not only is it found all over most of Australia, but also has an amazing variety of pattern and colour. They're happy to live almost anywhere, blending in easily to the environment.
Eastern Bearded Dragon
Bearded Babies in the Backyard
Around March, be on the lookout for some Eastern Bearded Dragon youngsters emerging from the soil. Eastern Bearded Dragon adults mate from August to December each year, and the hatchlings emerge about 45 to 79 days later. So if you're in the right place at the right time, you might spot some.
At 9 cm long, these babies might be easy to miss, but what they lack in size, they make up for in numbers. The mother lays up to three clutches during the breeding season of 14 to 31 soft shelled eggs, which are each about as long as a 10 cent piece.
Eastern Water Dragon
Could there really be a dragon living in your backyard? A fire-breathing beast with fearsome teeth and talons?
The Eastern Water Dragon Physignathus lesueurii is not quite as big as the ones we read about in books (it’s a bit over half a metre long), but this beautiful, mysterious creature has rough scales, sharp spines and ancient features that resemble fairytale dragons.
Eastern Water Skink
Eastern Water Skinks are Rocking the Suburbs
Even when the weather's cooling down during autumn, the Eastern Water Skink won't be cosying up quite yet. He'll be enjoying his time as a poolside visitor in your backyard too much!
In April, Eastern Water Skinks are busy preparing for winter's start. They'll soak up plenty of autumn sunshine and have extra helpings from your garden's creepy crawly buffet. This way, its body has enough fat to keep it warm during winter.
No matter where you are in Australia, this little buddy is in your backyard right now. The sun will be drawing them out over the next few months so keep an eye out. They may be shy and quick to hide when you approach, but garden skinks are some of the most common and well known buddies in Australian backyards.
This month, don't be surprised if you see a mini wrestling match going on under the leaves. Male skinks are highly territorial and aggressively attack other males during spring. You might even find several skinks locked together in a big jumble, all holding on to each other. Odd to see, but this is thought to be a kind of territorial behaviour.
Geckos are very clever nocturnal hunters with eyes that are up to 350 times more sensitive at night than humans.
Most geckos can't blink as they don't have any eyelids. So instead, one will clean the dust and dirt away by poking out its long tongue and licking its eyes.
Lunch Monitors are Visiting!
Around September, a very interesting buddy is going to be getting out and about right up until May.
Warm weather helps reptiles like the Lace Monitor (a type of goanna) to become more active, as they're solar powered. In order to move quickly, they need sunlight and warmth to heat them up.
Have You Checked Your Sand Lately? The Sand Monitor is on the Job.
This month, the Sand Monitor is expecting hatchlings to emerge. Their mating season happens in November and December, so now is the perfect time of year to keep an eye out in your backyard for little goannas.
Sand Monitors lay an average of 6 eggs per clutch and their young measure between 100-118 mm in body length, not including their tail.
Shingleback Double Act
Around November, you may just see a Shingleback Lizard out and about with its loyal mate. This is one buddy that really knows the meaning of 'long-term relationship', which is an incredible rarity for lizards.
For most of the year, a Shingleback leads a fairly solitary life. But they make up for it from September to November by spending up to 75% of their time with their partners. Year after year, many Shinglebacks find the same mate by scent trails and remain as mostly monogamous pairs for many years.
Hiding in the Trees...
This is one buddy that will keep you guessing. The Tree Dtella is highly variable in colour and pattern, so your mission this summer is to spot as many different ones as you can.
If you are patient and quiet, a close-up look at this beautiful buddy pays off. Their lovely large eyes and interesting textures and patterns will keep you fascinated for longer than you'd believe.