Where to find lizards in SA parks

Where to find lizards in SA parks

Inter­est­ed in the lizards that live in our nation­al parks? Here’s a hand­ful of them, and where they hang out.

Nation­al parks are the per­fect place to find them, so why not look for these on your next visit:

Tawny drag­ons are usu­al­ly brown­ish-black, with the males often dis­play­ing bright patch­es of orange and yel­low around their heads and throats, and often pale blue flanks. They grow up to 20 cen­time­tres long and can be found in rocky areas from the Mount Lofty Ranges to the Flinders.

Where to find them: Mori­al­ta Con­ser­va­tion Park, Para Wirra Con­ser­va­tion Park

Sleepy lizards are also known as shin­gle­backs or blue-tongues for the bright blue tongues they dis­play when threat­ened. They can grow up to 40 cm long and have stocky, dark brown bod­ies with knob­bly scales.

Where to find lizards in SA parks

Where to find them: Cof­fin Bay Nation­al Park, Lin­coln Nation­al Park, Ikara-Flinders Ranges Nation­al Park, Gawler Ranges Nation­al Park

Heath goan­nas are dark grey with dis­tinc­tive U‑shaped bars across the back of the neck. They grow up to 1.5 metres long and were once found dur­ing the cool­er areas of south­ern Aus­tralia where there is dense veg­e­ta­tion. Now most com­mon on Kan­ga­roo Island, they are occa­sion­al­ly seen on low­er Eyre Penin­su­la, in the south-east of SA and have even been sight­ed in the Ade­laide Hills.

Where to find them: Flinders Chase Nation­al Park, Cof­fin Bay Nation­al Park

Cen­tral beard­ed drag­ons can reach about 60 cm long with yel­low skin and a spiky pouch under the chin that puffs up and turns black when they are upset. Look for them sit­ting on fence posts, lying along tree branch­es or sit­ting in the mid­dle of the road.

Where to find lizards in SA parks

Where to find them: Parks in the dri­er parts of SA, includ­ing Witji­ra Nation­al Park and Simp­son Desert Con­ser­va­tion Park and Region­al Reserve

Tree goan­nas, also known as lace mon­i­tors, can grow up to 2.1 m long and have a vari­able pat­tern of light band­ing on their dark grey­ish-brown skin. They most­ly hunt on the ground but, as their name sug­gests, they are good climbers and may often be seen in trees. As they get larg­er they become less shy of humans. Adults will hap­pi­ly scav­enge around camp­grounds, so make sure you keep your rub­bish secure.

Where to find them: Mount Remark­able Nation­al Park, Mur­ray Riv­er Nation­al Park

Per­en­ties are the largest species of goan­na in Aus­tralia. They aver­age 1.6 m long but can grow up to a huge 2.5 m. Their skin is pat­terned with yel­low­ish spots and adults have a net­work of dark lines around the throat. They have long heads and large claws that they will use to climb trees if they feel threat­ened. They are often reclu­sive and hard to see, so you should feel lucky if you do man­age to see one.

Where to find them: Witji­ra Nation­al Park

Did you know…

Like snakes, lizards are most active dur­ing the warmer months of the year, as they are unable to reg­u­late their own body tem­per­a­ture. How­ev­er, some species in SA have adapt­ed to cool­er cli­mates and active­ly avoid hot­ter conditions.

Many small rep­tile species love to bask on warm roads and tracks to soak up the heat they need to be active, so keep an eye out for lizards when dri­ving, espe­cial­ly in parks and on region­al roads.

What’s your favourite lizard and where have you found it? Share your lizard sto­ries in the com­ments sec­tion below. And if you’re seri­ous about the wel­fare of goan­nas, why not par­tic­i­pate in Goan­na Watch? It’s a way for mem­bers of the pub­lic to help gath­er valu­able infor­ma­tion about this threat­ened species. 

Main image: Heath goan­na at Sev­en Mile Beach in Cof­fin Bay Nation­al Park (image cour­tesy of@CoffinBayNationalPark, Insta­gram)

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living