Thursday, 24 December 2009

In North Queensland, wildlife watches you

I was about to head out to do the last of the Christmas grocery shopping* when I saw this Boyd's forest dragon on the patio. These lizards are normally arboreal, but this rather scrawny individual had taken a liking to the flattened packing box that I use as a door mat**.

Boyd's forest dragon is a Wet Tropics endemic. It's not a rare species, but can be difficult to spot. The dragons are most often observed on tree trunks, usually between one and two metres off the ground. Apart from having fabulous licheny camouflage, they also tend to sidle around to the other side of the tree trunk to avoid being seen.

This is only the second one that I have encountered. The other was many years ago at Lake Eacham, when a BFD mistook me for a tree and ran up my leg. (That was only slightly more bizarre than the time I was pecked on the thumb by an Australasian grebe. Good times.)

The dragon put up with the camera for a while, relying on its camouflage, which would have been somewhat more effective against tree bark. Then it scuttled off into the forest, where I failed to get a photo of it in its natural surroundings. They really are hard to spot.


* mangoes and pawpaws

** It's terribly House & Garden


Denis Wilson said...

House and Garden it ain't.
The "Forest Dragon" is interesting. At first I thought it had a very large eye (for its size). Close-up shows it has a liking for lots of eye make-up (perhaps it studies too many "teen- magazines" (not House and Garden.)
Interesting post.
Hope you stocked up on Mangoes for Christmas lunch. I did,
Happy Christmas and have a really good New Year.

Dave Coulter said...

Your dragons are way cooler than our dragons!

Merry Christmas!

Sherrie Y said...

You have all the fun! (And apparently all the dragons... in the water and out of the water. No fair!)

But, 'tis the season, so I shall stop whining and wish you a day full of mangoes and paw paws. 'Tis only the morning of the Eve here... good thing, since I've still my own shopping to do.

mick said...

That's a very interesting little dragon. Wonder why it felt comfortable on the 'door mat'? I like your grocery list! Hope you have a very happy holiday season.

NanaJude said...

Greetings and Good Wishes for your first Christmas in your new home

Snail said...

Season's greetings, everyone!

Denis, the dragon does look as though it's overdone the eye-liner. Maybe it's a Goth?

Dave, not quite as speccy as our ones, but ya gotta love Arisaema.

Sherrie, nothing fills me with dread quite as much as Xmas shopping. So, good luck!

Mick, I have a vague idea that this dragon was a female that had just finished laying eggs nearby. Not that I have any evidence for this, you understand.

JJ, same to you! And congrats on the settlement :)

Tyto Tony said...

Boyds at da door. Boids in da trees.

You were buying fruit commonly free for the taking, perhaps asking, in Tableland TNQ? said Scrooge (the spirit of Xmas present).

Snail said...

It was so cheap it was almost free!

No one grows much fruit around here. Well, they grow it, but they rarely get around to harvesting it with all the feathered and furry frugivores!

Russell Constable said...

Tony has a point there is something disturbingly unnatural about parting with cash for a mango in North Queensland at this time of year!Re the dragon ...very handsome!

Snail said...

I know! There ought to be a law against it! But I don't know anyone who grows mangoes here. Now I come to think of it, I haven't even seen mango trees around town. Plenty along the Mareeba road, but not here.

häbitu said...

Wow! On your doorstep. I had to go on a night safari to spot them. Though we saw 4 of them that night, the guide kept repeating how lucky we were and how extraordinary is to see one :)

PS! Happy New Year! Ill keep following your blog, its always very interesting reading.

Snail said...

Four is a great haul!

It was pretty lucky having this one wander over. My house is very close to the trees, so that helps.