Beau and Monique, Dogs, Dog, Travel, Australia, Photos and Pictures

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Australian Water Dragon - Physignathus lesueurii

Australian Water Dragonwaterdragon

Water dragons, as their name suggests, are always located very close to water. This species is found in tropical rainforests at both high and low elevations throughout their range. Most adult Australian water dragons are between 60 cm and 90 cm (24″ - 36″) in total length. Males are typically 90cm or more in length while females usually only reach lengths of about 60cm. Water Dragons in Australia can be up to 1metre, with long powerful legs and claws. Their tail forms 2/3 of their length and is almost all muscle. It is laterally compressed to help act like an oar when swimming. The Water Dragon has a nuchal crest – a central row of enlarged spikey spines at the back of the head. These spikes continue down the spine, decreasing in size to the base of the tail. At the tail the spines divide into two rows. The Water Dragon’s upper body is a grey-green with cream and black transverse bands on the body and tail. Underneath the body is creamy brown-grey. They have loose folds of skin under the jaw, giving them an almost Bearded Dragon appearence.Australian water dragons are nervous when young. They may try to run or even jump in an attempt to escape. Older animals tend to calm down with regular handling as they grow. As long as you fully support them, adults will generally be content to sit comfortably when held. Australian water dragons typically live for 14-17 years in captivity; however, there are reports of animals living more than 20 years. Water Dragons at slow speeds run on all four legs, but to increase their running speed they can run on their back legs only. Their long powerful back legs and sharp claws help in their abilities to climb trees and dig holes for hibernation and nesting. Water Dragons are omnivorous (eat both plant and animal matter). They generally feed on insects, frogs, yabbies, other aquatic organisms, fruits, berries and flowers. They can eat under water. There has been recorded incidents of cannibalism occurring to young hatchlings

posted by Monique at 9:45 am  

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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Lizards of Australia

Lizard of AustraliaThis sun-loving lizard (Frilled Lizard) is the reptile emblem of Australia, depicted on our now defunct two-cent coin This reptile is part of the Dragon family a sub-species of Lizards They are usually active during the day and move very fast on their two hind legs.Head and Body Length: to 28cm Total Overall Length: usually 70 cm but up to 95cm The colour of the lizard matches the land on which it lives, so a frilled lizard from one region may be brighter than another. The male is more colourful than the female. They are not poisonous or harmful to man. The frill normally lies in folds around the shoulders and neck and is “activated” by the lizard when frightened by opening its mouth wideIt is supported by a set of cartilaginous rods connected to the muscles of the tongue and jaws in such a manner that, when the mouth gapes widely, the frill is extended, ruff-like around the head (like an umbrella), displaying a broad, rounded expanse of bright orange and red scales. The frill is also believed to aid in the regulation of body temperature. Tropical to warm temperate dry forests, woodland and savanna woodland, usually with an open shrubby or tussock grass understorey, this being found in Australia northern Queensland and the Northern Territory. Land clearing is reducing the area where this reptile is found. With its frill completely folded back and the head, body and tail touching the bark the frilled lizard perches on tree trunks, fallen or standing and with its pattern matching the bark so well, it is a very difficult animal to see. When approached, it circles around the trunk to the “shadow” side and “sneaks a peek” at you. It has several defence plans; If it sees danger it slowly cringes down onto the ground looking like a stout stick, relying on its natural body colours to act as camouflage; If the lizard feels threatened it will extend its legs and open its mouth widely thus erecting the frill in a blaze of startling colour; To add to the bluff, it may hiss and jump towards the threat; If the frill and hissing is not effective the frilled lizard menaces “the threat” by repeatedly lashing its tail on the ground; The frilled lizard as a last resort prefers to run rather than fight by making a sudden turn and running off, on its hind legs, to the nearest tree, which it climbs until out of reach. But if forced to fight this lizard can inflict painful bites with its large canine teeth Its fearsome bluff though is no match for feral cats its biggest enemy, brought to Australia by “European” settlement. It eats with its frill back and hunts mostly in the trees for insects but it also descends to the ground to catch other insects (including ants, which it eats in great numbers from trails and near the edges of nests), spiders and even small lizards that venture too close. Matting occurs around September, with the female laying from eight to 23 eggs per clutch in November. Some females can produce two clutches of eggs in the one season. The hatchlings start appearing usually in early February weighing around 3 to 5 gram.

Lizard of Australia

posted by Monique at 7:57 pm  

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Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Thorny Devil

Thorny Devil
The Thorny Devil or Moloch horridus, this animale is covered in thorns. It might look evil but its completely harmless. You can find them in central and western Australia, throughout the deserts and in light bush land. The thorny devil is about 20 cm long, and they like to eat ants. The catch them by using their tongue, like an ant-eater would do. The colour changes on the thorny devil’s body from yellow to reddish brown to black, depending on which type of soil it is crossing. They change colours to be camouflaged and make it easier for them to hide. and if rain lands on its back, it runs down the creature finding its way to its mouth where is consumed. The thorny devil lays about 3 to 10 eggs underground, between September and January. The eggs hatch 3 to 4 months later. They reach maturity after 3 years. The thorny devil lives for about 20 years. The thorny devil is one of the least aggressive reptiles. It likes to defend itself but has weird ways of doing it: They have the ability to change colours to match their environment. They hide in small shrubs. When they’re scared they put their head between front legs, which shows a fake head or knob on its neck in the place where a normal head should be. If a predator tries to flip it over it puts its spine and curved tail against the ground to prevent it from falling over. Its movement looks like a leaf, and it often “freezes” instinctively. They have the ability to puff themselves up like a ball, which makes them look bigger. The thorny devil is an endangered animal. People have been saving the thorny devil’s nests and eggs by placing wire enclosures around the nests. By doing this they are keeping predators out and hold the babies in after hatching. This technique seems to be working. When the thorny devil goes to sleep at night, it digs up the soil, and covers itself with it to stay warmer during really cold nights. The thorny devils dig themselves underground burrows, sometimes under scrub to provide protection from the heat.

posted by Monique at 7:33 pm  

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