Reptiles of Australia

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The Perentie (Varanus giganteus) is Australia's largest lizard.

The reptiles of Australia are a diverse group of animals, widely distributed across the continent. Three of the four orders of reptiles are native to Australia: Testudines, Squamata and Crocodilia. The only missing extant order is Sphenodontia, containing the tuataras, which are endemic to New Zealand. Australia has a large diversity of reptiles, with over 860 species. This is rich in comparison to other continents. For example, North America has approximately 280 species of reptile.[1] The most diverse group is Squamata, also known as the snakes and lizards. The snakes and lizards are especially diverse in the arid areas of Australia, where diversity of other fauna is generally low. Spinifex grass is a major habitat which allows them to remain in a relatively cool, moist area.

Australia has a large array of reptiles which can be dangerous to humans. The world's largest reptile, the saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), is native to Australia.

Australian reptile families[edit]

Testudines - 4 families
Family Common Names Example Species Example Photo
Cheloniidae Sea turtles Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) GreenSeaTurtle-2.jpg
Dermochelyidae Leatherback sea turtle Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) LeatherbackTurtle.jpg
Chelidae Austro-American side-necked turtles Common snakeneck turtle (Chelodina longicollis) Eastern long neck tortoise - chelodina longicollis.jpg
Carettochelyidae Pig-nosed turtle Pig-nosed turtle (Carettochelys insculpta) Carettochelys insculpta.jpg
Squamata - 12 families
Family Common Names Example Species Example Photo
Gekkonidae Geckos Thick-tailed gecko (Underwoodisaurus milii) Underwoodisaurus milii.jpg
Pygopodidae Legless lizards Burton's legless-lizard (Lialis burtonis) Lialis burtonis.jpg
Agamidae - Eastern bearded dragon (Pogona barbata) Bearded dragon04.jpg
Varanidae Monitors or goannas Lace monitor (Varanus varius) Goanna head2.jpg
Scincidae Skinks Western blue-tongued skink (Tiliqua occipitalis) Tiliqua occipitalis.jpg
Typhlopidae Blind snakes - -
Pythonidae Pythons Green tree python (Morelia viridis) Gruenebaumpython4cele4.jpg
Colubridae Colubrid snakes Brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis) Snake browntree.jpg
Elapidae - Common death adder (Acanthophis antarcticus) Acanthophis laevis.jpg
Hydrophiidae Sea snakes - -
Laticaudidae Sea kraits - -
Acrochordidae File snakes Arafura file snake (Acrochordus arafurae) Arafura file snake (Acrochordus arafurae) in captivity.jpg
Crocodilia - 1 family
Family Common Names Example Species Example Photo
Crocodylidae Crocodiles Freshwater crocodile (Crocodylus johnstoni) Australia Cairns 18.jpg

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wilson, Steve; Swan, Gerry (2005). A Complete Guide to Reptiles of Australia. Reed New Holland.