Water Dragon

Water Dragon on a dead log over a stream

What does it look like?  Large, very distinctive dragon, with angular head, enlarged nuchal crest, raised, ‘saw-like’ vertebral crest running length of body, and laterally depressed, long tail. Colour variable between subspecies. I. l. lesueurii grey to brownish-grey above with black transverse dorsal stripes, and broad blackish facial stripe. Yellowish-brown underneath, but males often flushed with bright red on chest and throat. Gippsland Water Dragon I. l. howittii has smaller spinose scales and no stripe between eye and ear. Yellow and blue on neck and throat, and dark blue-green on chest.

Where is it found?  Eastern Australia. I. l. lesueurii from northern Qld to southern NSW. I. l. howittii from southern NSW to eastern Vic. Introduced to other areas, including Mount Lofty Ranges near Adelaide SA.

What are its habitats & habits? Varied, from alpine streams to rainforests, but always in association with water, where it is omnivorous, feeding on flowers, fruits, invertebrates and small vertebrates. Often seen basking on branches overhanging water or on banks of waterways, and dives into the water when approached. Strong swimmer and can stay submerged for long periods. Oviparous, laying up to 2 clutches of 18 soft-shelled eggs in hole that female digs in sandy soil.

Scientific Name: Intellagama lesueurii

Size: SVL 200mm, TL 900mm

Also known as: Eastern Water Dragon; Gippsland Water Dragon

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