If you live in Queensland, or you plan to visit Australia anytime soon, and Queensland is one of the destinations, and you’re a lizard lover on top of everything else, welcome. Today, we will discuss the 10 types of lizards you can encounter in Queensland, some of which you probably haven’t even heard of.
Let’s get right in!
Eastern Blue Tongue Skink
The Eastern blue tongue skink, also known as the common blue tongue skink, is a fascinating reptile that’s fairly widespread on the continent. This species is a popular pet due to its unique appearance, gentle disposition, and relative ease of care.
Habitat – Eastern blue tongue skinks are found in a variety of habitats in Australia, including woodlands, grasslands, and scrublands. They prefer areas with ample ground cover and shelter, where they can stay clear of predators and ambush their prey with ease.
Appearance – Eastern blue tongue skinks are relatively large, growing up to 19-20 inches in length. They are also very thick-bodied with short legs and a flattened and bulky head. Their scales are gray or brown with dark stripes or spots and come with blunt and stubby tails. As their name suggests, they have a bright blue tongue that they use to intimidate predators.
Diet – These lizards are omnivorous, feeding on a variety of plant and animal matter. Their diet includes fruits, vegetables, snails, insects, and small mammals, depending on what’s available in their environment. They also have quite healthy appetites, if you couldn’t tell that from their body composition already.
Behavior – Eastern blue tongue skinks are known for their gentle disposition and their willingness to be handled. They are active during the day and spend much of their time foraging for food. When threatened, they will puff up their bodies and hiss to intimidate predators and may exhibit similar behavior in captivity when scared or threatened. With time, they should become tame and even socialize with their handlers, within certain limits, of course.
Conservation status – The Eastern Blue Tongue Skink is listed as a species of least concern. However, like all native Australian reptiles, they are protected under Australian law, and it is illegal to export them out of the country without a permit. The biggest threat to the species is habitat loss due to urbanization and agricultural development, but the lizard is generally resourceful and adaptable, so it doesn’t face any major issues as it stands.
Here’s another Australian native that got its name from its tongue. They would also qualify as weird-looking if that was a legitimate taxonomical category.
Habitat – Pink-tongue skinks are found in a range of habitats throughout Australia, such as woodlands, forests, and scrublands, usually near vegetation-rich water sources. They prefer to live in hiding for most of the time, only coming out to feed and bask in the sunlight.
Appearance – This peculiar species has a distinct and attractive appearance. These skinks have long, slender bodies with a light brown to dark grey coloration and a darker stripe running down their back. As their name suggests, they possess a bright pink tongue, which they use to smell and taste their habitat and various things in it.
Diet – Pink-tongue skinks are omnivorous, and their diet consists of a variety of plant and animal matter. They primarily feed on insects and other small invertebrates, snails especially, but will also eat fruits, vegetables, and other plant material. However, I would rank this lizard’s diet as primarily carnivorous, with some occasional plant-based items thrown into the mix.
Behavior – These reptiles are well-known for their gentle and docile nature, making them popular pets in Australia. They are active during the day and spend much of their time foraging for food, so you better provide them with a satiating and natural diet in captivity.
Conservation status – The pink-tongue skink is not currently listed as a threatened species, but like all native Australian reptiles, they are protected under Australian law. Their habitat is being threatened by human activities such as urbanization and agriculture, but nothing that the skink can’t handle for now.
This one is an even weirder species than the previous ones. Verreaux’s skink, also known as the three-clawed worm-skink, is a species of skink that is native to New Zealand and looks pretty much like an oversized earthworm.
Habitat – Verreaux’s skink loves the dry and rocky areas of Queensland and New South Wales. They prefer regions with a low-lying vegetation cover and require access to suitable basking sites for a healthy lifestyle and improved comfort.
Appearance – Verreaux’s Skink is a medium-sized skink growing up to 1 foot in length. They have a distinctive appearance, with a golden-brown back and a pale belly, and their skin is covered in small, round scales that create a rough texture. The lizard also possesses vestigial legs that have pretty much no use. The animal looks like a combination between a fat earthworm and a small snake.
Diet – This is an omnivorous species that feeds on a variety of invertebrates, including beetles, spiders, and caterpillars. The lizard may also consume some plant material occasionally, but very rarely, only when nothing else is available. This one qualifies as an expert insect eater, capable of consuming respectable amounts of all sorts of insects and worms.
Behavior – Verreaux’s skink is primarily diurnal that spends much of its time basking in the sun. They are also famous for their ability to burrow, which helps them regulate their body temperature, find food underground, and shield themselves from predators. So, you’re unlikely to meet one in the wild.
Conservation status – Verreaux’s Skink is considered least concern and a well-established population can be found in Australia.
Eastern Water Dragon
The eastern water dragon, also known as the Australian water dragon, is native to eastern Australia, where it has adapted to semi-aquatic ecosystems. This lizard is especially popular due to its similarities to bearded dragons, as well as their easygoing personality and ease of care.
Habitat – Eastern water dragons are found in a range of plant-rich habitats throughout eastern Australia, including rainforests, woodlands, or wetlands. They prefer areas near water, such as rivers, streams, and ponds, that provide them with food, shelter, and sufficient hydration.
Appearance – This notorious lizard comes with a distinctive appearance, with a long, slender body and a large head with powerful jaws. They have rough, scaly skin that ranges in color from gray to brown to green, with a series of bands and spots along their bodies. Males have bright red chest, and both males and females have long, powerful tails that they use for balance and self-defense. Males also possess dorsal visible dorsal crests that remind of bearded dragons.
Diet – These lizards are omnivorous, with a diet consisting of a variety of plant and animal matter. They consume insects and other small invertebrates primarily but will also eat fruits, flowers, and other plant material, depending on their overall nutritional needs. They can also eat quite a lot, which makes them prone to becoming overweight.
Behavior – Eastern water dragons are known for their gentle and docile nature, making them popular pets in Australia. They are active during the day and spend much of their spare time basking in the sun or swimming in the water to cool off or hunt. They are also known to be territorial and will defend their land and resources against other water dragons. This almost guarantees that your water dragon will also exhibit some rough behavior at first until it gets to know you better. So, you need to show some patience in this sense.
Conservation status – Good news: eastern water dragons are not currently listed as a threatened species. So, you’re less likely to run into legal delays and constrictions when trying to acquire a specimen.
Eastern Bearded Dragon
There you go, we’ve finally reached everyone’s favorite: the bearded dragon. This species, also known as the common bearded dragon, is a species of lizard that is native to Australia. This species is a popular pet due to its unique appearance, gentle nature, and ease of care.
Habitat – Eastern Bearded Dragons are found in a variety of habitats throughout eastern and central Australia, like woodlands, grasslands, and scrublands. They prefer areas with ample ground cover and shelter, especially if they are rich with climbing opportunities.
Appearance – These bearded dragons have a distinctive appearance, with a broad, triangular head and a spiky beard under their chin. They have stout bodies, flattened tails, and rough, scaly skin that ranges in color from brown to gray to orange. Their bodies are covered in rows of spiny scales that give them their characteristic “bearded” appearance.
Diet – Eastern bearded dragons are omnivorous, and their diet consists of a variety of plant and animal matter. However, adult dragons tend to lean towards a more vegetarian meal plan, whereas juveniles require more animal protein to grow properly.
Behavior – Bearded dragons are known for their friendly, easygoing, and docile nature, making them popular pets in both Australia and everywhere else on the globe. They are active during the day, much of which is used to bask in the sun. When threatened, they will puff up their bodies and display their beard pouch to make themselves appear larger and more intimidating to predators.
Conservation status – The eastern bearded dragon is listed as a stable species, but like all native Australian reptiles, they are under the protection of Australian law. They don’t face as many natural or human-made dangers as other reptiles, but they still require some protection to keep the population stable and thriving.
Burton’s Snake Lizard
Burton’s snake lizard, also known as Burton’s legless lizard, is endemic to Australian ecosystems. This reptile is unique for a variety of reasons, one of them being its appearance.
Habitat – Burton’s snake lizard thrives in the arid and semi-arid regions of Australia, including deserts, grasslands, and shrublands. They prefer areas with loose soil and sandy substrates, which allow them to burrow and move freely through their ecosystem.
Appearance – These snake-like lizards have a distinctive appearance that distinguishes them from pretty much all other lizards. The reptile has a long and slender body, cylindrical in shape, that lacks any visible limbs or claws. The body is covered with smooth, shiny scales that are generally pale brown to gray in color, with a darker stripe running down the back.
Diet – Burton’s Snake Lizard is carnivorous, and their diet consists of a variety of prey, including insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates. They hunt by ambushing their prey, striking quickly with their jaws, and swallowing their prey whole.
Behavior – Burton’s Snake Lizard is a burrowing species, and they spend much of their time underground. They are typically active at night and are rarely seen during the day. When threatened, they can use their powerful jaws and teeth to defend themselves.
Conservation status – Burton’s Snake Lizard is not currently listed as a threatened species, but habitat loss and fragmentation pose significant threats to their populations. Additionally, they are sometimes mistaken for venomous snakes, leading to unwarranted persecution.
To put it simply, this is a lizard disguised as a snake. The common Delma, also known as the striped legless lizard, is native to Australia. This reptile species is known for its unique appearance and elusive behavior, making it a fascinating subject for herpetologists and enthusiasts.
Habitat – This reptile thrives in a wide range of habitats throughout eastern and southern Australia, such as woodlands, grasslands, forests, and shrublands. They prefer areas with loose soil and sandy substrates for burrowing and ease of movement, which means you’re unlikely to encounter one in its native habitat. Unless you’re a good digger.
Appearance – The common Delma has a distinctive appearance, with a long and cylindrical body covered with smooth, shiny scales. Their coloration is pale brown to gray, with a series of darker stripes or blotches running along the length of the body. Some specimens have clean bodies, with no markings visible aside from the head.
Diet – The common Delma is insectivorous, with a diet consisting of a variety of prey, including insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates. These reptiles can both hunt their prey via ambushing or forage for it underground, where they can also find worms and larvae.
Behavior – This is a burrowing species that spends much of its time underground and will only rarely come to the surface. They are typically active at night and are rarely seen during the day. When threatened, they can use their powerful jaws and teeth to defend themselves, although these lizards are fairly small (up to 5 inches), so they can’t cause any real damage.
Conservation status – The common Delma is not currently listed as a threatened species, but habitat loss and fragmentation pose significant threats to their populations. Plus, they are sometimes mistaken for venomous snakes, leading to unwarranted persecution, which is why the lizard prefers to remain underground for the most part.
This is another legless lizard that manages to be even more peculiar than the last one. The common scaly-foot, also known as the scaly-foot lizard, is a species of small lizard that you will mostly find in Australian ecosystems.
Habitat – This species thrives in a range of habitats throughout eastern and southern Australia, sharing its living space with the common Delma. They also prefer areas with a lot of sand, which allows for ease of movement and burrowing whenever necessary.
Appearance – The common scaly-foot has a distinctive appearance, with a small and rather thick body (no longer than 5 inches) that is covered in rough, knobby scales. Their coloration is typically brown or gray, which is typical for a ground-dwelling species, and the lizard possesses a flat head and vestigial hind legs.
Diet – This lizard is also an insectivore that prefers to search for its prey in the surrounding vegetation. These lizards love to hunt at the surface and only rely on burrowing when sensing danger nearby. They hunt by stalking their prey, using their sharp eyesight to spot its movement and kill it swiftly with lightning-fast strikes.
Behavior – The common scaly-foot is a ground-dwelling species that hides under rocks or other debris for most of the day. These diurnal reptiles are quick to flee when threatened and prefer to keep a low profile to improve their survival chances.
Conservation status – The common scaly-foot is not currently listed as a threatened species, but habitat loss and fragmentation pose significant threats to their populations. Additionally, they are often collected for the pet trade (illegally, I should say), which can further impact their population with time.
We haven’t discussed any monitor lizards so far, so here’s your first one. The Lace monitor, also known as Lacy’s tree monitor, is native to eastern Australia. This reptile species is a popular pet due to its unique appearance and relatively docile nature, despite what its overall appearance might suggest.
Habitat – Lacy monitors typically inhabit rainforests, woodlands, and savannas, where they can find a mix of open areas and vegetation-rich zones. They prefer habitats with ample ground cover and shelter, such as fallen logs and rocks, allowing them to hide from any potential predator and stalk their prey effectively.
Appearance – Lacy monitors have a distinctive appearance, with a long, powerful, but slender body covered in small, rough scales. They are typically black or dark brown, with cream or yellow spots or stripes covering the entire body. These lizards also possess large, sharp claws and long tails that help them balance as they climb trees. Needless to say, these monitors are extremely powerful, and they look to par.
Diet – These monitors are carnivorous, but you at least saw that coming. Their diet consists of a variety of prey, including insects, small mammals, birds, other reptiles, eggs, and even carrion. They won’t refuse any food, whether dead or alive, so long as it has some nutritional value that the monitor can salvage.
Behavior – These monitors are primarily arboreal, and they spend much of their time climbing trees and other vegetation. Which is fairly surprising for a lizard this large and heavy (up to 6.6 feet and 30 pounds in weight). Otherwise, they are known for their relatively docile nature and can make good pets with proper care and handling.
Conservation status – Lacy monitors are not currently listed as a threatened species, but habitat loss and fragmentation pose significant threats to their populations. Always check the species’ legal and conservation status in your area before getting one as a pet. You may require a special permit if you want to own one. Plus, make sure you have the resources necessary to care for the animal properly. This is a meaty lizard that demands a lot of space, food, and attention to thrive.
We end today’s listicle with yet another monitor, this time one that prefers sandy and desertic habitats. The sand monitor, also known as the Gould’s monitor, is an Australian native with plenty of exotic appeal.
Habitat – Sand monitors are found in a range of habitats throughout Australia, including deserts, grasslands, and woodlands; essentially, ecosystems with little vegetation and a lot of sand and rocks.
Appearance – Sand Monitors have a distinctive appearance, with a long and slender body and an even longer neck and tail. They are typically gray or brown, with a series of pale spots or stripes along their bodies. The long, pointed snout and powerful jaws allow them to eat a variety of prey, and the same goes for the long and agile legs. These can lift the lizard’s body off the ground to allow the animal to reach impressive land speeds when necessary.
Diet – These monitors are carnivorous, so they can eat virtually anything, including birds, mammals, reptiles, and carrion. They are known for their voracious appetite and can eat prey up to half their own body size in one sitting. Needless to say, this puts them at risk for obesity in captivity, where food is readily available, and acquiring it requires minimal effort on their part.
Behavior – Sand monitors are primarily terrestrial, and they spend the majority of their time on the ground, although they can also climb trees and other natural structures if necessary. They are also well-known for their intelligence and can be trained to respond to cues from their owners within limits, of course. These aren’t dogs, after all.
Conservation status – Sand monitors are currently listed as stable, but habitat loss and fragmentation can pose threats to their population’s stability in the wild. This is true for pretty much all animal species except domesticated ones. Needless to say, these lizards are highly popular in the pet trade, as is usually the case with monitor lizards.
There you have it, the 10 types of lizards that you’re likely to encounter in the Australian wilderness. As you can see, variety is a given, so you’re not likely to get bored anytime soon.
As a side note, if you plan on embarking on a tour of Australia’s wilderness, you might want to learn more about the snake population than the lizard one. After all, Australia is famous for its snakes, many of which are deadly. Fortunately, I’ve written some articles about Australia’s snakes, so check those too before leaving the safety of your home.