Lizards of Oz

5 Families of Lizards in Australia

There are five main families of lizard in Australia making up over 500 species ~ 

  • Geckos
  • Skinks
  • Goannas or Monitors
  • Legless or Snake Lizards and the 
  • Dragons.


Geckos are seen the most frequently if you inhabit a tropical home in Australia, as with sticky padded feet they run up and down walls seeking out insects to feed on. They lay the cutest little eggs, about the size of a little finger-nail ~ Geckos make their presence known with a chirping sound when on warm balmy nights they’re active hunting out insects.



Skinks are the largest and most diverse family of lizards not only in Australia, but the world. In Australia they make up about half of all lizard species. They’re distinguishable with generally glossy scales and small legs. The blue tongue is a skink.

Skinks, like geckos, sometimes take up residence in Australian homes as this one pictured below who lives in a friend’s house in northern NSW, coming out to warm up in the sun before seeking out breakfast!

Skink is one of the 5 types of lizard to be found in Australia

Skinks can be the most disconcerting to those who have a reptilian aversion in that the way they move is the most similar to the way a snake moves. Due to their small legs (and in some cases no legs) they can be easily mistaken –

The skink below popped out of a tree when visiting Milla Milla Falls up on the Atherton Tablelands, northern Queensland and gave the friend I was with a big shock who at first glance assumed it to be a snake peaking out 😉

Lizard at Milla Milla Falls

Goannas & Lace Monitors

When living in northern NSW we had a resident lace monitor we called Dino. He was large and very dinosaur like! Monitors range in size from 20cm up to 2metres – Dino was certainly a meter and a half.

Goannas lay eggs, are carnivorous and as can be seen from the photo below have sharp claws for hunting and for ripping apart garbage bags! Being a rural property, with no weekly rubbish collection, you’d have to be sure to secure the rubbish in sealed containers or he’d rip it apart for tasty morsels and leave a disgusting mess for us to clear up!

An Australian Lizard, the lace monitor, climbing a tree The Perentie can grow to be one of the largest Monitors – The one pictured below is not a large example but was exciting to spot nonetheless when out at Uluru.

Perentie lizard seen at Uluru in AustraliaAlways a thrill to see wildlife in the flesh when seeing only their tracks can be more common!
Tracks in the red sand seen in the centre of Australia


I saw a few different Dragons on my trip to the red centre

The lizard below is a Central Military Dragon. We spotted him at Kata Tjuta.
I saw this lizard at Kata Tjuta in central AustraliaAnd the Bearded Dragon below we spotted at Simpson’s Gap in the MacDonnell Ranges, west of Alice Springs.
Loved this Bearded Dragon, one of the 5 lizard types to be found in Australia

Dragons usually have long back limbs, small scales, and large heads.

“They lay eggs and live in the warmer areas of Australia. Notable dragon species in Australia include the Thorny Devil which as the name suggests, are covered in thorns; and the Frilled Lizard that stands on its hind legs, opens its mouth, and extends a flap of red and orange scaled skin that encircles its head.”
Stunning close up of a Bearded Dragon's head

He really was a handsome chap!

There’s more photos of that Bearded Dragon and my encounter here.

The Ta ta lizard, found in Australia is in fact one of the dragons

The Ta Ta lizard above is also a dragon.

I saw him at Standly Chasm.

Perenti illustration in my A6 Notebooks

I love lizards!

If you look closely along the bottom of one of my Journal Maps you’ll find a Perentie lizard sitting on the border…

Drawing of a perentie Lizard in Australia

And also included him to illustrate one of the corners in my A6 Travel Notebooks 🙂


Drawing of a Perentie Lizard in Australia illustrating a Journey Jottings Notebook page

There’s such an amazing variety of lizards in Oz ~

Which ones have you seen?


8 thoughts on “Lizards of Oz

  1. What an information rich post. I loved it.
    I have seen most of the lizards, but I am still waiting to see a goana, especially a large one. My fiancee has one he says is two metres long living at his family home. I look forward to meeting it. Haha
    The title of your post is just perfect and the photos are great too.
    Nikki recently posted..You’re Not Normal!My Profile

    • There is such an amazing variety of lizards in Australia –
      Goannas are incredible and I do not doubt that the one your fiancée has at his family home is 2m long – They are so prehistoric 🙂

  2. Pingback: How much does it Cost to Travel from Uluru to Cairns?

  3. Pingback: Lace Monitors

  4. Love the post and the subject – well, let’s just say I’m a bit of a fan of Herps myself – particularly liked the Lophognathus “Ta Ta” Lizard – very, very cool. Funnily enough I came across a frilly and a lace monitor in the same afternoon – quite the thrill, but enough of my babble – great blog, fab post.

    All the best, take care – Paul

    • Thanks for dropping by Paul – I love your site and gorgeous wildlife photos!
      I so agree – It is such a thrill seeing wildlife in their natural habitat – It seems such a privilege being able to take a peek into their world 🙂

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