60 species are
known Australia wide, in Cape York and north eastern Australia we have
You can recognise dragon lizards from a fairly big head
compared to their
body, from a fairly slender body and a long, thin tail; and their long limbs with long digits, the
fourth of each
digit is the longest one, in some species by far the longest.
We don't have the famous bearded dragon, but we do have the even more
amazing frilled lizard, and some other great ones.
the only one that
has a frilled neck, opened when the animal feels threatened.
is a fantastic lizard to watch, and it is found in the open forest and
woodland in the whole northern Australia, including Cape York peninsula
Mareeba, and Mt
Water Dragon Eastern
water dragon is another beautiful dragon, with a cross banded
pattern, black eye stripes and spines along the neck and back.
one of the most common dragon lizards to see, found in the rainforests
moist open forests from Cape
peninsula in the north to Victoria in the south.
Tommy Round Head and Northern
Both are small, with a relatively large head, a long tail, and a
distinctive pattern on the back.
Both live in dry forest and woodland,
the first from Maytown
Brisbane and the second from Cooktown to Chillagoe,
and west to Northern Territory.
Boyd's forest dragon is even spinier than the eastern water dragon
is greenish to yellowish brown and has a long tail, a neck fold, and
white spines on the head, neck and under the throat. It
lives in rainforests just south of Cape York, on Atherton Tablelands
and south to Paluma Range National Park.
frilled lizard is different from all other lizards in Australia.
even Australia's reptile
it is also found in our northern neighbour Papua New Guinea.
And it was pictured on our two cent coin (which is no longer in use).
It's definitely a special one, mainly thanks to its impressive frill,
which opens when the
lizard is threatened.
It is also a fairly large
almost a metre if you include the tail. It
belongs to the dragon
and is known as one species - Chlamydosaurus
kingii - but there have lately been some thoughts that
be more than one.
Like other lizards
and other reptiles,
it relies on the outside
temperature to heat up its body.
A frill necked lizard near Fruit Bat Falls.
So it likes hot climate, and is
in the whole northern Australia, including Cape York.
Where to See the Frilled
Frilled lizard spends
more than 90%
of its time in trees.
So rather than looking on the ground, watch up instead.
However, the lizard is
hard to see.
If it's up in trees, it has the habit of hiding behind the trunk and as
you move, it moves
exactly to the
opposite side to the trunk from you.
(so it's better to be two than one when trying to spot it).
But even if it was on your side of the trunk, the lizard has excellent camouflage.
is adapted to its
environment and its folded
makes it look like part of a tree trunk.
A frilled necked lizard in Iron Range National Park.
So you may well not see a single one during your whole Cape York trip
unless you really keep
your eyes open
for it and its camouflaged look.
The Frill of the Frilled Lizard
the camouflage does
not work ... it makes use of the
defence method - the frill.
It opens its mouth widely, and that opens the frill in the manner of an
It's an impressive sight, and the
frill is often colourful with yellow, orange and/or red
If it still feels threatened, it may hiss,
slap its tail to the ground and even jump towards the
If that does not scare the attacker away, it runs, and not only that, it runs on two legs which looks
Habitat, Preys and Predators
prefered habitat is hot
and humid tropical
and woodlands, where it likes
basking in the sun to heat its body temperature.
It also likes a grassy or shrubby understorey, but there needs to be trees.
reptiles, even small mammals. Particular favourites are moths,
butterflies and their larvae, as well as beetles and cicadas.
They are ambush predators,
which means they are sitting - camouflaged - and waiting for the prey
come to them rather the other way around.
A frilled neck lizard near Weipa.
The animals that eat
birds of prey (large eagles, owls), other reptiles (larger lizards and
snakes), and predatory mammals such as dingos, quolls, and more than
anything - feral cats (what a pest they are!).
Sexes and Breeding
The male is larger than the female
the colouring is the same.
(the body colour mostly
depends on its
environment. A desert
individual has yellowish or reddish brown colouring while a moist
climate individual has darker greys and browns).
They breed during the
and often mate during the build-up (late Dry), as early as in
A frill neck lizard near Kowanyama.
Female lays about dozen soft shelled eggs in about November, and the
hatch in about February.
Like in Australian crocodiles, the gender of the young depends partly
on the outside temperatures.
In the average temperatures (about 30°C) equal numbers of
females are born, while if it's hotter than that there are more females
amongst the young.
The Eastern water
dragon is a very common animal.
see it everywhere on the east coast, wild in the rainforest, but also
in city parks and suburban gardens, and many other
A wild eastern water dragon in
In fact there are two subspecies in Australia, the northern one is
called I. l.
Behaviour and Appearance
Both can run faster
than you think, climb in trees, and swim, even completely submerged.
are light to brownish or greenish grey, with darker banding, almost a
metre long, have fairly big heads and long legs, and a row spines along
the back and tail.
Where Are the Found?
Like their name says
they are animals associated with water.
live in different habitats such as grasslands, woodlands, eucalypt
forests, even urban parklands, but all are near different water courses
such as lakes, creeks and rivers, where they can often be seen basking
on logs, rocks and branches overhanging water.
Also as their name says as well, they are found in eastern Australia,
from the coast to the hinterland and mountain ranges.
What Do they Eat and What Eats
are meat eaters, preying mostly on insects, molluscs, fish, worms,
small frogs and reptiles, as well as small mammals such as rodents, but
larger individuals take prey even as large as cats and dogs.
And they also do eat berries, fruit and other plant food occasionally.
Young eastern water dragons are taken by carnivorous birds such as
butcherbirds, currawongs and kookaburras.
Nesting and Breeding
They nest in a burrow
in the sand near water, where the female lays up to 18 eggs and buries
them for the incubation period.
Once the eggs hatch the young need to stay around for a couple of weeks
at least before they are independent.
this 50 pages
guide totally for FREE.
contains information that helps you getting started with planning of your trip.
You get to make early-stages desicions such as when to go, how long time you
should take, how to get
there and get
to stay (general info), what
will it cost..
and a short insight to what is there to see and do in Cape York.
This complete 300 pages
travel guide is all you need before and during your trip. Besides the
background chapters on the peninsula's history and wildlife; and the comprehensive detail about all
the places (down to prices, opening hours and full contact
detail), it has invaluable information on at least 10 four wheel drive tracks,
at least 30 guaranteed FREE
camping spots on the Cape (and at least 150 on your way to
the Cape), at least 40 best
swimming holes, all mapped; as well as practical things -
from fuel, roads, wireless internet and mobile phone reception,
how to deal with the national
parks booking rules; and Aboriginal land entrance and camping permits
and alcohol restrictions - to vehicle preparation and accessories and necessary recovery
gear by my partner
Mark who is the recovery guy on northern Cape York and the Old
Not to mention locals'
tips on how to spot that croc and palm cockatoo ;-)
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This site uses British
English, which is the English we use in
best efforts have been made to ensure that all the information on this
website is correct, this site is not to be blamed should there be a
As of Winter - Spring 2018 this site is getting upgraded, and the domain name changed from the original www.cape-york-australia.com to the new www.capeyorkaustralia.com While this is happening, you will find some things under construction, and some photos blurrier than normal, as their new dimensions affect their quality (until they get changed). They need changing one by one - with hundreds of pages it will take some time before the whole site looks good again, but I am gradually working on it as quick as I can.