Central Bearded Dragon
Also known as:
Interior Bearded Dragon, Inland Bearded Dragon
Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia—February 4, 2003
Our Australian buddies Martin Cohen and Julia Cooper spotted three of these magnificent lizards basking in the late afternoon near the side of a dirt road we were driving down.
Martin and Julia now run Wild About Australia, so others can benefit from their wildlife expertise as I did.
Here is a complete list of the reptiles and frogs I saw on this trip to Australia.
near Telowie, South Australia, Australia—October 18, 2015
My first sightings of bearded dragons in South Australia were fleeting and/or distant. The first one I saw was atop a fencepost, but vamoosed before I could get a photo. The second one was basking on top of a burnt out snag, at least fifteen feet up. When it saw me point my camera in its direction, it crouched down, almost completely out of sight (first picture above). The next two or three I saw were on the road in the standard bearded-dragon pose, with head and tail up, and they rushed off before I could get anywhere near.
Wilpena Road, South Australia, Australia—October 19, 2015
My bearded-dragon fortunes began to shift the next day, when this distinctive lizard allowed a much closer approach than the wimpy dragons from the day before. (However, it did race away just after I took this photo.)
Flinders Ranges National Park, South Australia, Australia—October 20, 2015
The next day I saw another beardie in the standard I'm-about-to-run-away pose. This time I kept a careful eye on its trajectory when it fulfilled the promise of its stance, and after I pulled my car over I soon relocated it, doing its best to blend in while keeping a wary eye on me. I wanted less obstructed photos also, so I gently lifted it from the ground and moved it a couple of feet away. When I released it, it took a few caution steps away, then stopped and decided to switch tactics; it turned around and ran a few feet toward me, puffing out its body and its beard and standing as high as it could, with its open mouth revealing wicked David Letterman teeth.
After a minute or two of this display, it figured that it had terrified me enough to prevent any pursuit, so it turned again and raced off. I did not pursue.
Arkaroola Road, South Australia, Australia—October 22, 2015
I saw many more road-dragons over the next week or so. Most of them ran off at some distance, but if I found one in the morning before it had a chance to fully warm up, it might instead choose to flatten itself and just hope I didn't notice it.
Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary, South Australia, Australia—October 23, 2015
I was driving my rental 4WD slowly and carefully along a narrow, rough track when I passed a log that seemed to have a bit of unusual texture to it. The dragon must have considered its camouflage impeccable, because it didn't move even when I got within a couple of feet of it.
Barndioota Road, South Australia, Australia—October 24, 2015
Another morning road-dragon that chose to flatten rather than flee. This one looks like it could use a hearty meal or two.