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Grassland Earless Dragon
The 2017 search for the Grassland Earless Dragon
The Grassland Earless Dragon (Tympanocryptis pinguicolla) has not been seen in Victoria since 1969.
From February to April 2017 Zoos Victoria and the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority are appealing to the general public in and around the volcanic plains of western Victoria to help re-discover the Grassland Earless Dragon.
Any members of the community who think they may have seen a dragon, know of suitable habitat or would like to keep up to date with the search can visit zoo.org.au/dragonsearch
About the dragon
The Grassland Earless Dragon was once widespread and found throughout western Victoria, NSW and ACT, from Geelong to Bathurst. However many populations have been lost, with the last confirmed sighting of a Grassland Earless Dragon in Victoria in 1969 at Little River, with unconfirmed sightings continuing up to 1990. Habitat loss and fragmentation thought to be the main causes of decline in the species.
This little dragon reaches just 15cm from head to tail when fully grown
They are typically light brown in colour, with three white stripes running down their body and a number of darker bands running across the body
They lack external ear openings unlike most other lizards
This little animal is also energetic for its size, with some adults moving over 110 m a day
- Open, short grasslands usually with some rocks to bask on
- Prefer areas that have not been cultivated, dominated by native wallaby grasses, spear grasses, tussock grasses, and kangaroo grass
- Some areas to consider might be rail reserves, roadsides and cemeteries as they as less likely to be disturbed
How can you help?
- Visit one of our three zoos - Zoos Victoria is a not-for-profit organisation - we rely on the support of our visitors and members. By visiting Healesville Sanctuary, Melbourne Zoo or Werribee Open Range Zoo, you will be supporting our work to fight extinction.
- Stay tuned to the 2017 search for the Grassland Earless Dragon by registering your interest at zoo.org.au/dragonsearch
Saving the Grassland Earless Dragon
As part of Zoos Victoria’s Wildlife Conservation Masterplan 2014- 2019 and with support from the Victorian Government’s Fighting Extinction Fund, Zoos Victoria is working to confirm the existence of the dragon in Victoria through additional surveys and contribute to the national conservation of the Grassland Earless Dragon.
Plans and publications
- Robertson P. & Evans M. (2009) National Recovery Plan for the Grassland Earless Dragon Tympanocryptis pinquicolla. ACT Department of Territory and Municipal Services (1.3 MB)
- Tympanocryptis pinguicolla in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Canberra.
- This species has unfortunately not been seen in Victoria for some years.
- Males and females may only breed once in their lifetime.
- During colder months, the Grassland Earless Dragon may undergo torpor (a mild form of hibernation).