Reptiles are really cool! These creatures can be tiny like a cute gecko or big like the salt water crocodile.
Reptiles can be found in just about every nation all around the world. But Australia has many unique and special reptiles that only live in this part of the world.
In this post, we will look at just 12 of the special reptiles that live in the country of Australia.
We will start by looking at Australia’s different crocodiles.
01. Saltwater Crocodile
Did you know that the Saltwater Crocodile is the largest reptile in the world? They are so much bigger than the average lizard that lives in your garden! They can weigh over 1,000 kg (2200 lbs) and can reach a maximum length of around 5.5 m (18 feet). On very rare occasions saltwater crocs may grow a little longer and reach 6 m or so in length, but this large size is certainly not that common! Usually saltwater crocodiles are shorter than 5.5 m.
Aussies like to call crocodiles “crocs” for short.
When the saltwater croc was first discovered, it was confused with the Alligator as it has a very similar body type. In fact, it has more in common with Alligators than other species in the Crocodile family.
Crocs swim in the water easily. Sometimes you can see their eyes and nostrils sticking above the water and other times you see nothing as it swims totally underneath the surface!
The saltwater crocodile differs from other crocs in the fact that it is a very solitary animal. In fact, it is willing to attack any other crocodile that invades its space. Many other different crocodile species tend to be highly sociable and like to live in groups.
There are around 200,000 of these animals living in the wild in the many water systems of Northern Australia. Crocs live in rivers, swamps, lagoons, lakes and billabongs.
Saltwater crocs are well known to eat just about anything that comes into their territory! Everything from fish to birds and animals that come to the water’s edge form part of their diet. Even humans can become dinner if they are not careful when around water in northern parts of Australia!
Baby crocs eat small fish, frogs, small reptiles and insects. But big adults can even eat large mammals such as horses, water buffalo and cows!
You can see the big powerful jaws and the sharp teeth that the crocodile has. It is easy to see why it can eat just about anything!
02. Freshwater Crocodile
The Freshwater Crocodile is often referred to as a “freshie” or Johnston croc. It was originally named after a Queenslander called Robert Johnstone. This is a reptile that is also native to the northern areas of Australia, like its saltwater cousin.
One of the key differences between this and the saltwater crocodile is the fact that it isn’t as territorial. In fact, there are very few human deaths as a result of coming into contact with a “freshie”. The only fatalities have occurred when the crocodile is acting in self-defence.
This particular reptile is incredibly small compared to its counterparts, growing to around 3 meters long at the most.
They mainly live in fresh water, as the name suggests, but can also be found in some salt-water locations around northern Queensland.
The freshwater crocodile is a carnivore feasting mainly on small animals. It likes to eat fish, turtles, insects, frogs, snakes, other small reptiles and birds that live around the water. It is very rare for it to attack something larger like a human.
03. Carpet Python
The Carpet Python comes in a variety of different colors. This is so that it is well camouflaged wherever it lives in the wild.
Carpet pythons can be found around much of Australia’s coastline in the east and the west.
These pythons can grow to about 2 meters in length. They mainly feed at night on lizards, birds, small mammals and even bats.
They are great tree climbers, but also enjoy sun baking on hot rocks in the sun.
This snake has become very popular as a pet since it is non-venomous and is easy to handle.
04. Children’s Python
The Children’s Python is one of the 13 species of python that calls Australia its home. This particular snake was named in honor of John Children.
Children’s pythons tend to live in the Northern regions of Australia, including Queensland.
It can grow up to a rather large 1.5 meters (5 ft) in length, but is smaller than other Aussie pythons, such as the carpet python.
Their diet is rather varied, although the majority of their food includes birds, small reptiles and small mammals such as mice. They are one of the most popular snake pets in Australia due to their rather peaceful nature.
05. Green Tree Python
The Green Tree Python lives in the Cape York Peninsula area in the north tip at the top of Queensland. It loves to live within the moist rainforests.
Compared to other snakes that live in Australia, the Green Tree Python is fairly unique. This is because it is arboreal. Basically that means it spends most of its time climbing through the trees in the forest.
If you wander through the rainforests of Australia, then you may find it looped around branches from time to time.
Whilst we know how the animal reproduces in captivity (as they are very popular pets) it is unknown how breeding occurs in the wild, as it has never been observed.
The green python mainly eats small mammals, such as mice, rats and other rodents.
06. Blue-Tongue Lizard
The Blue-Tongue Lizard is an Australian skink that has a beautiful, brightly colored tongue. It can be found around much of Australia.
There are a few different species of blue tongues in Australia. The Shingleback lizard is one blue- tongue species.
Aussies love to see a blue-tongue in the garden, as these lizards are gentle, slow moving and fun to watch. They will not attack people unless someone is trying to hurt them.
The Blue-Tongue’s diet is made up of flowers, beetles, snails, berries, fruit and other insects. When they are looking for food you will see the bright blue tongue come out to smell and taste the air.
They can grow up to around 45 cm in length and are also very popular as pets. Blue-tongues are easy to look after and gentle to handle.
07. Blue-Tailed Skink
The Blue-Tailed Skink is a lizard that can only be found on Christmas Island in Australia. It is similar looking to other Aussie skink lizards, except for the beautiful, bright blue tail.
Compared to other skinks they are incredibly small, often reaching a length of no more than 8 centimeters (3 inches). Like most other lizards of this size, they have the ability- to drop their tail if a predator attacks them.
However, the tail is unique in the fact that when it drops off, it will continue to wiggle for a while whilst the Blue-Tailed Skink escapes.
Their habitat is varied, with many of them living within burrows. They can also be found in the trees, as they are a very good climber.
08. Shingleback Lizard
The Shingleback Lizard is a skink found in Australia. They are found mainly in Western Australia, where they are often referred to as the Bobtail lizard. They can also be found in small parts of Eastern Australia.
As you can probably guess, the Bobtail is characterized by its small stumpy tail. This has a number of different purposes. It is mainly meant to confuse predators, as the tail looks very similar to the head. But the tail also contains a lot of fat, which is used when the Shingleback Lizard goes into hibernation during winter.
This skink is an omnivore with its primary food of choice being snails, insects, flowers and some plants.
It is the slowest moving of all the blue-tongued lizard species. When it feels threatened the Shingleback opens its mouth up wide in order to scare off its attacker!
09. Eastern Water Dragon
The Australian Eastern Water Dragon, as you can probably guess is found in the Eastern Areas of the country.
Despite its name though, it spends the majority of its time in the trees. Its body has primarily been developed for climbing, with incredibly powerful limbs at its disposal.
The water dragons tail is especially good for swimming. They certainly have no problem swimming across a small body of water.
Most of the time they can be found living close to areas packed with water and trees to fulfill both of their needs.
Check out this cute picture of a baby Eastern Water Dragon lizard.
10. Leaf-Tailed Gecko
The Leaf-Tailed Gecko is a small gecko found in Queensland and New South Wales. It gets its name because its tail is shaped like a leaf!
The Gecko is a solitary animal from birth. In fact, the mother will simply hide the eggs and leave them alone. The baby geckos will then hatch after about three months.
Just a few days after birth the baby geckos begin to catch their own food. They love to eat a range of different insects, such as crickets, spiders and other small bugs.
Geckos are fantastic at camouflage! They can blend in perfectly well with their surroundings. When they keep still it is almost impossible to see them.
One of the unique things about this Gecko is that they have the ability to shed their tail with no problem at all. If a predator grabs them by the tail, then the tail will simply fall off. After a while a new tail does grow back, but the color may be different from the gecko’s body color.
Check out this gecko’s tongue! They have a long tongue that is useful in keeping their eyes clean.
11. Loggerhead Turtle (Sea turtle)
The loggerhead turtle is a majestic sea turtle. This animal can be found living just off the coast of Australia.
It is the largest “hard-shelled” animal in the world. The majority of the older turtles can weigh up to 150kg (although they have been known to reach 200kg).
Their food is the small invertebrates, which live at the bottom of the ocean. These include crabs, jellyfish, shrimp and also some sea plants.
At the moment, they are a critically endangered species in Australia. This is due to the large amount of foxes and other predators that attack their nests along the coastline. Even many of the baby turtles that make it to the water do not manage to grow to be adults as they also have many enemies in the sea that enjoy eating them!
They mainly live out in the ocean, although they can come ashore briefly to lay their eggs. When the baby turtles hatch they are so small that they can fit easily in your hand! The egg is round and white and looks like a ping pong (table tennis) ball.
After hatching, the hard work just begins! The baby loggerhead then needs to scamper across the sand all the way to the water. During this time, it is easy for the baby to be eaten by hungry birds that are waiting around.
Like other turtles, loggerheads need our help to survive. One thing you can do is to throw your trash in the trashcan rather than on the ground. Remember to recycle what you can so that trash, such as plastic bags, does not end up in our oceans where turtles and other marine animals can think it is food!
12. Eastern long-necked turtle (Freshwater turtle)
The Eastern Long-Necked Turtle can be found throughout Queensland and other parts of Eastern Australia. They mainly live within the freshwater swamps, lagoons and lakes.
As you can probably guess from their name, they are well known for their very long neck. They are also called a snake-neck turtle since its neck is long like a snake!
They are different from most other turtles because instead of pulling their head back into their shell, they will move it to the side and curve it around under their shell for protection.
The Eastern Long-Necked turtle is a carnivore. Its diet is made up of mainly small animals such as frogs and small fish.
They spend the majority of their day basking (or sun baking) in the heat on various rocks and logs scattered around their habitat. As soon as they hear anyone coming they quickly jump into the safely of the water!
In this post we have looked briefly at 12 Australian reptiles. With more than 860 reptile species native to Australia we have just touched the surface of these unique creatures.
My desire is that you have learned something new and may perhaps be even thinking about visiting Australia one day.
When you do travel to Australia then you will be able to visit some of our zoos and wildlife parks and get up close to these special Aussie animals.