Exotic lizards at the Reptile
Water Dragon Physignathus lesueurii
Coming from the Eastern side of Australia this agamid lizard is semi-aquatic
and will bask on branches that overhang rivers. If threatened it will drop
into the water and may stay under for a while. It will eat some vegetable
matter but in the main its diet is made up of insects, frogs and other small
vertebrates. Clutches, usually two per season, of up to ten soft-shelled eggs
are buried in the ground and left to hatch. Under ideal conditions it takes
three to four years for the young to reach sexual maturity. Males grow to
about 80 cm long and in the breeding season some display a reddish flush
to throat and chest. 156
Eastern Bearded Dragon Pogona barbatus
Also from Eastern Australia but extending further inland than the Water Dragon.
It prefers relatively dry areas and is often found basking on tree stumps
and fence posts. When basking they can flatten their bodies to increase the
surface area as well as aligning it at right angles to the sun for maximum
absorption. They eat insects, other small lizards and vertebrates
also flowers [dandelion flowers are relished] and soft leaves. They
lay clutches of up to fifteen soft-shelled eggs which take about 60 days
to hatch and the young should be sexally mature in their second year.
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Skink Tiliqua scincoides
From Eastern and Northern Australia this diurnal skink has a wide variety
of habitats from forests to woodlands and grasslands. Its diet is similar
to the Shingleback and it is also livebearing but can have litters of up
to twenty five young ones.
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Skink Egernia cunninghami
This diurnal skink lives in rocky areas of South East Australia where it can
shelter in crevices or under fallen rocks. Its diet is varied, comprising
fruits and flowering seed heads as well as insects and small vertebrates.
The females produce a single litter of up to six live young annually. These
lizards hide in places that are reasonably tight and if disturbed will inflate
thier bodies slightly coupled with the grip provided by the small spines
on the end of its scales are very difficult to dislodge.
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Giant Day Gecko Phelsuma madagascariensis
These diurnal geckos come from Madagascar living in the trees of the
forest. They have well developed adhesive foot pads which enables them to
run up vertical, and even upside down surfaces with ease. Their diet is mainly
insects etc. but will also include sweet fruit. The female lays two hard
shelled eggs several times a year leaving them in convenient hole in a branch
or similar. 240
Gecko Eublepharis macularius
The natural range of these geckos is from Turkey through to North Western
India. They are ground dwelling and prefer rocky areas that are not too arid.
They do not have adhesive pads on their feet and unlike New Zealand geckos
have moveable eyelids. Two soft shelled eggs are laid in the ground usually
under a stone several times a season. Although basically nocturnal
they can also be quite active in the daytime feeding on insects etc.
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There are several species of nocturnal tropical geckos that tend to live
in or in close proximity to human dwellings catching the various insects
that are attracted by the lights. They all have well developed adhesive foot
pads and can run across the walls and ceilings with ease.
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