Prior to its rediscovery in 2023, there had been no confirmed sightings of the Victorian Grassland Earless Dragon since 1969.

The little dragon is light brown with three white stripes running along its body, and several darker bands running across its body. It is just 15cm from head to tail when fully grown. Unlike most other lizards, it doesn't have external ear openings. It’s an energetic little animal for its size and adults can move over 110 metres in a day. The Victorian Grassland Earless Dragon was once reasonably common in suitable grassland habitats from Melbourne to greater Geelong. Habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation are thought to be the main causes of decline in the species. 

The plan for recovery

Zoos Victoria began actively searching for the dragons in 2014, adding to surveys by our partners over recent decades. In early 2023, the Victorian Grassland Earless Dragon was rediscovered.

With the species rediscovered, we are recommencing surveys and habitat assessments throughout the western basalt plains of Victoria, and closely monitoring the rediscovered population. 

We have also brought some dragons found at the rediscovery site into Melbourne Zoo for a conservation breeding program and insurance population. The conservation breeding program will underpin recovery efforts for the species and will be modelled off the successful breeding program Zoos Victoria has for the related Canberra Grassland Earless Dragon. 

How you can help

Report a potential sighting of the Victorian Grassland Earless Dragon by emailing a photo to

Victorian Grassland Earless Dragons prefer areas that have not been cultivated or disturbed and feature native grasses. Suitable habitats might be undisturbed rail reserves, roadsides and cemeteries. 

You can also support our work to fight extinction by visiting our zoos or donating if you can. Zoos Victoria is a not-for-profit organisation, so all donations go towards our important conservation efforts.

Is your classroom learning about the Grassland Earless Dragon? 

Browse through our collection of animal teaching and learning resources for students. These include animal toolkits, e-books, Ask a Zoo Expert resources, video showcases and real-world examples to support the VCE Study Design

Zoos Victoria is fighting to save the Victorian species of Grassland Earless Dragon from extinction.

Population Trend:
Number left in the wild:
2023 marks the first confirmed sighting since 1969.

Conservation Status

  • LC
    Least Concern
  • NT
    Near Threatened
  • VU
  • EN
  • CR
    Critically Endangered
  • EW
    Extinct in the Wild
  • EX