Hidden In The Hills – Eastern Water Dragon

By Lachlan Turner

Beneath bushland and tree ferns along watercourses can be found creatures that thrive in the wet conditions.

On exposed rocks or logs near water, it is possible to see an Eastern Water Dragon (Physignathus lesueurii), soaking up the warmth of the sunshine. Their strong and sharp claws allow them to climb rockfaces or trees.

Although quite large, growing to about 80cm long, they are difficult to locate. When disturbed they scurry into crevices or deep water, and may remain submerged for up to 30 minutes.

Their diet can be other smaller reptiles, earth worms, frogs and insects, as well as fallen ripe berries.

Mature dragons may exhibit black and red markings on their body. Females lay around 12 eggs in an excavated hole in sandy soil above the floodline and eggs hatch in about three months.

Newborn dragons, miniature replicas of their parents, must fend for themselves immediately after hatching from their egg, as the parents do not nurture their young offspring.

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