Warm weather has been on our side at Neds Corner Station and already the Bush Blitz team has clocked up an impressive tally of reptiles — with the desert influence obvious in the wonderful range of skinks, dragons, geckos and snakes found in this dry corner of Victoria.
We found three of the larger lizards, including the inland bearded dragon sunning itself on dead logs and fenceposts. This dragon with its scales and scutes is the stuff of scary fairytales. When viewed from above these spikes also help this lizard blend with its background — protecting it from aerial predators.
We’ve seen a number of shingleback lizards — also commonly and quite appropriately known as sleepy lizards. These bright blue-tongued lizards mate for life and are often seen in pairs. They can live up to 50 years of age. We also saw a large sand goanna — quite a common sight in this area.
Our tally included five gecko species — Bynoe’s, thick-tailed, tree dtella, wood and marbled — which we found while night walking or searching under bark and through leaf littler. These geckos are a mix of ground dwellers and tree-climbers; the latter you can tell by their fat, fleshy toes. We’ve also found some very pregnant females — bulging with the two eggs they lay at a time.
Judging by their fat tails Neds Corner is looking after its geckos.
A highlight was the young curl snake found while researchers Patrick Honan and Chloe Miller were searching clay pans at night for tiger beetles. Closely related to brown snakes, this species is also highly venomous and is listed as threatened in Victoria.
With wet weather forecast, we will be looking for other lizards and blind snakes that emerge after rains. We’ll keep you posted.
Mark Norman, Museum Victoria
Bush Blitz is a biodiversity partnership discovery program between the Australian Government, BHP Billiton and Earthwatch Australia which aims to document the plants and animals across Australia’s National Reserve System.
Neds Corner Station is managed for conservation as part of the National Reserve System by Trust for Nature.