Thursday, November 29, 2012


Pogona vitticeps
These lizards are very common here, you usually see them perched right at the top of bushes, posts etc where they use the suns warming rays to heat their bodies and prepare for hunting. Most times they will remain absolutely still, relying on their camouflage to keep them safe from predators. They eat pretty much anything they can fit into their mouths including flowers and fruit (they love strawberries) insects, lizards and like I said, anything that fits their mouth. 

 Ive been trying to catch one for you for about 9 months and saw a huge nearly black one recently but my offsider was too scared to act as a decoy so I could catch it. At well over two feet long and wild, it may have been too much for me to handle anyway..

I was walking through a graveyard recently and only noticed this one because as I walked right next to it I thought it was a strange ornament to be placing on top of a grave so I went back to look again. 

I caught it just as I always do, stealth! 
They look at your eyes, scanning them for any sign that you've noticed them in which case they run like hell and you have very little chance of catching them. I averted my eyes as I put one hand around behind it and grabbed the very tip of it's tail. As soon as it feels your touch it turns to bite you so you have to be quick to lift it off it's perch before it bites…it missed me by only an inch, close! (I'm getting slow with old age)

With it's size and having a small head I think it was a young female only two or three years old. Her natural colour is camo brown with tans through to blacks but they change colour to suit their environments and only go red/orange like this for display, mating and when theyre really pissed off like this one is.
She really wanted to bite me… But they have no sharp teeth and the bite is nothing more than a clamping sensation resulting in little or no damage.

Underneath she's quite smooth with tiny scales much like the soft underbelly of most snakes and lizards.
On top though this is a very interesting lizard, those sharp points are modified scales and they are hard and sharp but the underlying skin is very soft and rubbery so the points move about easily. If you were biting or eating this lizard it wouldn’t be nice in the mouth but little else. It's full of bluff, it puffs up the collar under it's head, changes colour and hisses at you with mouth open hoping to make you think twice about eating it, if that fails it runs like heck. 
I had my offsider take these shots then I put her carefully back where she came from to continue to terrorise the local bug and flower population. 

I bet she gets a lot of tasty fresh flowers in her graveyard home.



River said...

I haven't seen a bearded dragon in quite a while. The last one was up on a rock in someone's garden, spotted quite by accident as I was admiring the flowers. I like the bearded dragons, I think they're pretty.

Tempo said...

I guess there are very few in Adelaide River..but still a lot out here. They remain one of my favourites.

Pearl said...

What a strange country you live in. :-)

And who doesn't love strawberries?


Tempo said...

Hi Pearl, Thats how you know if you have a lizard living in your back yard, you get no ripe strawberries. as soon as they colour up they go missing in the night. I have a big Sleepy Lizard in my yard now, about twice the size of this little Dragon, they're good for your yard as they eat snails, spiders and other critters..and strawberries.

River said...

My daughter has had a big sleepy lizard move into her yard and has noticed a huge reduction in the spider population. He comes out to drink from the cat's water bowl and the cat stalks him as he goes back into the bushes.

Tempo said...

They like cat food to River so he's probably helping kitty to empty the bowl. It sure is great seeing them settle into a suburban back yard.

Argentum Vulgaris said...

Awesome beast... Does he have whipped cream on the strawberries?


Tempo said...

Hi AV, They eat the snails in your yard so the Strawberries grow then eat them too... Australia doesn't have much wild growing fruit and what there is isn't sweet so I guess they are only doing what I'd do but they must check the fruit every day because the very day the fruits start to sweeten they go missing.

Twisted Scottish Bastard said...

If they eat spiders, they're OK by me, but thinking about the size of the bloody spiders you get in OZ, wouldn't it be the other way around?

Jen said...

I love lizards. He looks pretty cool. I'd be afraid something that big would be poisonous, though, like a gila monster, so I'd just photograph and not touch.

Tempo said...

Hey TSB, They love spiders, snails and all those little critters that live in your yard. They eat Red Backs and anything else they can cram into their mouths.
Hi Jen, None of our Lizards are poisonous though pretty much all the snakes are. (All Australian snakes are related to the Asian Cobra)Some of our Lizards can give you a nasty bite though. I once had the opportunity to be within 2 metres of a full grown wild Lace Monitor, at over 2 metres I wasn't game enough to grab that lizard...

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