Australia has a large array of reptiles, from the world's largest reptile, the saltwater crocodile, to some of our common backyard skinks.
Come on a journey with me as we get up close to some of these sometimes strange but always very interesting creatures.
Macquarie turtles flourish in the Hacking river
The Hacking river in the Royal National Park is the home to a number of species of turtles including the Macquarie turtle. Macquarie turtles, also known as the Murray or Murray short-necked turtle, can grow to about 30cm in length. These turtles have a distinctive creamy-yellow stripe running back along the side of the head from the corner of the mouth and the eyes are small and yellow with a round black pupil. In spring and summer about ten elongated eggs are laid in a burrow close to the river. They hatch about eighty days later. The eggs and newborn hatchlings face a long list of predators that includes goannas, rats, foxes, birds, cats and wild pigs. Adult turtles have few natural enemies.
Python in the Park
What started out as a going for a walk in the Royal to get our minds off these disastrous fires, ended up being a pleasant surprise. Unknowingly, when we stopped to look out over the Hacking river, this beautiful 2.5m Diamond Python was at our feet. More than ever now, please look after our wildlife
Lace Monitor Raids Nest
The tree-dwelling lace monitor, or tree goanna, is one of the largest lizards in the world and have adapted to climbing trees using their large sharp claws to grip the tree and their long tails for balance. As nature played its part , this monitor climbed the tree while being continually attacked and was able to raid the Currawong's nest then retreat to continue it's hunt for food.
Mertens' Water Monitor
Mertens' Water monitors are a member of the monitor lizard family found in the Top End of Australia. They are strong swimmers and feed both on land and in the water, mainly on fish, crabs, frogs and small mammals. These monitors have had a substantial decline in their populations attributable to the arrival of cane toads however their numbers are slowly coming back. I was fortunate to follow and film this unique creature around Kakadu National park and Katherine Gorge.
Water dragons, including the Eastern and Gippsland Water dragon, are a medium to large sized semi-aquatic lizard found along the east coast of Australia.
They are normally found around creeks, rivers or lakes and can grow up to 80cm in length.
These lizards can remain submerged for up to 30 minutes and rise to the surface where they are able to breathe, while checking the area for danger before emerging back onto land. They are active during both the day and night time. During this period of activity they hunt for insects, frogs, yabbies, water insects, fruit and berries.
Red Belly Black Snake
The Average size of an adult Red Belly is 1.5 - 2m, with males growing slightly larger than females with reported sightings up to around 2.5m
This snake is probably one of the most talked about and recognised snakes in Australia. They generally hang around swamps and lagoons and feed on a variety of vertebrates including fish, tadpoles, frogs, lizards, eels,snakes (including its own species) and mammals. When hunting in water these snakes fully submerge, stirring up underwater sediment as they hunt to flush out hidden prey, For its size, the Red-Bellied Black Snake is probably the least dangerous elapid snake in Australia however all suspected bites should be treated as serious and medical attention sought as soon as possible.
Come on a journey to the Top end of Australia where you will see the biggest and most feared predators in the world, the Salt water Crocodile.
Saltwater Crocodiles are the largest reptiles in the world and can grow to nearly 7-metres long and weigh over 1000 kilograms. Their tales are pure muscle which allows them to powerfully leap from the water to attack their prey.
I was fortunate enough top film these large Lace Monitors on my recent visit to Wombeyan caves.
Lace Monitors are the second largest monitor in Australia and can grow in excess of 2m in length and weigh up to a staggering 20kg.
The jacky dragon is a lizard native to southeastern Australia. It was one of the first Australian reptiles to be named. These dragons are very swift and agile jumping from branch to branch and will sometimes run in an almost upright position on their hind legs when pursued. The females can lay up to eight eggs and the sex will be determined by the temperature of the nest
The tiger snake is considered to be the 6th most venomous snake in the world and is potentially fatal to humans. When threatened, they flatten their bodies similar to a Cobra and raise their heads above the ground in a classic pre strike stance.
Eastern Brown Snake
Red Jelly Black snake Ozzy adventurers Adam and Greg come across possibly the most feared venomous snake in the world, the Red Jelly Black snake..... and survive.