Every now and again, Stuart comes home really excited. The symptoms are always the same. He rushes through the door, ditches things on the floor, hands me his phone and says something along the lines of “I saw this….” And this time it was this… on the track not far from the house…
And so starts the process of identifying it. This usually happens before he has changed out of his suit and continues until we have an ID. This time it is a shingleback lizard.
Wiki says this about them
Tiliqua rugosa is a short-tailed, slow moving species of blue-tongued skink found in Australia. Three of the four recognised subspecies are found only in Western Australia, where they are known collectively by the common name bobtail.
So I guess being in Eastern Australia, ours is the other subspecies. They are also only found in the southern half of Australia. The tail stores body fat and is apparently the shape of the head to confuse predators.
More information elsewhere gives this
…the huge scales covering the body giving it a rough and bumpy appearance. The general colour varies somewhat from an all over dark brown to patterns of light brown, cream and even yellow. Like its close relative, the tongue is large, fleshy and dark blue in colour and used to warn off any potential threats such as dingoes or foxes. Adult shinglebacks are robust lizards with a broad, triangular head. A large adult will measure over 35cm in length.
And they seem to eat mostly vegetation.
Most of the diet is made up of vegetable matter including foliage, berries and fruits. They have a particular liking for flowers and will seasonally gorge themselves on blossoms, particularly yellow ones, if given the opportunity. The occasional insect, spider or scorpion are also eaten.
Almost unique in the lizard world, shinglebacks find a compatible mate and then will continue to pair up with the same partner every spring for 20 or more years…
Luckily, Stuart and I have adopted the policy of you stop there and then to photograph it, you don’t hope it will still be there when you get back!