The Gippsland Water Dragon (Intellagama lesueurii howittii) is an arboreal eastern Australian reptile in the Agamidae family of agamid lizards.
The Gippsland Water Dragon is a brown-green-grey lizard with a row of spikes at the base of its head (called a nuchal crest), and can change colour to camouflage itself in its environment. It has black bands across its back, tail, and legs. Its throat has yellow, orange, or blue blotches. It has brown eyes. It has long legs and claws, which are good for climbing trees, and a long, muscular tail, which is good for swimming.
It can grow to about 60 centimetres (2 feet) long.
The Gippsland Water Dragon is a fast runner and strong climber. It is able to swim underwarter and rest on the bottom of shallow creeks or lakes for up to 90 minutes to avoid detection. It is semi-aquatic.
The Gippsland Water Dragon eats small insects, spiders, caterpillars, and mice. Animals, such as birds, snakes, cats, dogs, and foxes, will eat them.
It can be found near creeks, rivers, lakes and other water bodies. Its nest is made in sandy or soft soil, open to the sun. The female makes the nest and lays 6-18 eggs. She covers them with loose leaves. The gender of the baby lizards is determined by the temperature of the nest. This is called temperature-dependent sex determination.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM