Australian Water Dragon

Just north of the city of Sydney sits the National Park of Lane Cove.  Recently we attended the East African schools reunion at picnic area 4 Illoura nestled on the banks of the beautiful Lane Cove River with boating and walking opportunities available.

Illoura picnic area, Lane Cove National Park

Illoura picnic area, Lane Cove National Park

After lunch we wandered the riverbank and found these beautiful water dragons basking in the sun on the river bank. Water

Dragons are usually active in the Sydney region from September to June, becoming inactive during the cooler months. To survive the the low winter temperatures Water Dragons will enter established burrows or scrape their own between boulders and logs in or near riverbanks and pack dirt into the opening to seal themselves off. Once entombed they will slow their metabolism and enter a state of brumation until spring arrives (source)

As young lizards Water Dragons eat only insects but as they grow they include vegetation and invertebrates (like cicadas – they get my vote if they decrease the cicada population) as well as crabs and snails and mosquito.

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These amazing creatures may be aware of the humans who have also found the riverbank a good place to hang out but there is an air about them that lets us know we  are the trespassers.  It was a treat to see so many within a short distance from each other.  They are usually difficult to spot despite being accustomed to humans they tend to make a quick escape if approached too closely.

The water dragon was comfortable with our presence as we quietly sat and took photos.  However, when a small crowd gathered on of the lizards turned and stood on its hind legs” and bipedalled” over the thick undergrowth and disappeared into the more forested area.

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This post has been written as part of the NaBloPoMo blog challenge to post every day in November.

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