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Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Home Council Lizards love life at Alexandra Park Zoo

Lizards love life at Alexandra Park Zoo

Video: Paul Donaldson

With days consisting of feeding, napping and basking in the sun, the lizards at Alexandra Park Zoo are certainly living their best life.

According to zoo curator David Flack, the local zoo has four types of lizards including land mullets, eastern bearded dragons, lace monitors and freckled monitors.

Soon, Dave said the zoo would start their breeding program with freckled monitors named Freck and Fiona.

“They will be paired just after breeding season to give Fiona a bit more growing time as she was very young and small when we first acquired her,” he said.

“We also want to minimise the potential for Freck to be overly amorous at the beginning of their relationship, until they have had time to get to know each other, so as to prevent any unnecessary stress to Fiona.

“From there they will be able to breed (typically around September/October) with any young produced being re homed in other zoos.”

Dave said the lizards were an interesting bunch of residents at the zoo, with each having their own quirkiness about them.

“Eastern bearded dragons are often mistakenly called ‘frillies’ by people, however they are not a true frill-neck lizard,” he said.

“As a defense mechanism, eastern bearded dragons will puff out their beard, which will turn jet black, puff up their body to look more intimidating, and will open their mouth wide open to display a bright yellow mouth-lining.”

David said the land mullets got their name from the shiny, black fish-like scales that cover their body and the freckled monitors were very elusive creatures.

“Freckled monitors are a very cryptic species that is not often seen by people as they are arboreal (tree-dwelling) and will often hide behind exfoliating tree bark and in crevices,” he said.

Lizards Alexandra Park Zoo
There are plenty of quirky lizards at Alexandra Park Zoo.

David said the lace monitors at Alexandra Park Zoo were also very interesting and were the second longest goanna species in Australia, reaching lengths of up to two metres. 

“There are two colour variations – the familiar dark grey with pale yellow or cream rows of spots or bands, and the Bell’s phase colouration which has strong dark grey and yellow bands across the entire body,” he said.

“Alexandra Park Zoo houses both colour variations.

“Monitor lizards are the only group of lizards that have a forked tongue like a snake, are highly intelligent, and have a mild venom.”

To check out the eight lizards simply head along to Alexandra Park Zoo on Quay and Burrum Street, open seven days a week from 8.30am to 4.45pm.

Admission is free. Find out more here.

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