Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Here be a dragon .. now plural.

.. but starting with a Gippsland Water Dragon.  This fine chap (about 60cm long) was sitting in Whiskers Creek where it goes under our drive.  He was obliging in posing for a number of photographs.
The neck spines stand out well in this one.
 A new meaning to red-eye special!
 Here is a zoom into a front foot.
Now Dragons are, I suspect, reasonably closely related to monitors (aka goannas).  Part of Australian bush lore is that:
  • goannas climb the highest thing when frightened and 
  • if you are that highest thing it is an unpleasant experience.  
Would you like to have that set of talons getting a purchase on your face?

Later in the day I was past again and a much smaller dragon - about 40cm - was sitting around.  It adopted the "freeze and become invisible" strategy until I was within about 60cm of it.  Of course I didn't have my camera!

The subject pluralised on Valentines day when a Bearded Dragon was found looking for love on Whiskers Creek Rd.
The yellow is one of their 'normal' colours and I suspect the black is some form of chameleonesque camouflage for the bitumenous background.  (I may suspect this, but it is not correct: apparently they shift melanin around so that they get the heat absorption which they need.  Thanks, Ian for setting me straight.)

On 18 February I went for a jog and there was a very similar looking Beardie in almost exactly the same place in full shade.  This time it was nearly all black. I decided it was at risk of getting hit by a car (while the locals by and large would swerve to miss it, some bogans do get in here).

  • I came around behind it and it didn't move.  
  • I tweaked its tail: it didn't move.
  • Poked it on the back and it responded by inflating itself and opening its mouth but didn't change position.
  • I didn't like the look of the open mouth, and didn't wish to experience the feel of same, so poked it up the cloaca with a stick.  It ran rapidly for about 10m and then stopped still in the road, but in full sun.
  • I went to readminster the stick-cloaca interface to get it off the road and by the time I reached it (perhaps 15 seconds after it ran) it had changed colour to nearly all yellow.  Fast moving stuff this melanin!

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