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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

Join the search 

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.

Appearance
  • 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

Habitat

  • 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?

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

Grassland Earless Dragon

The Mind Reader for the Extinction Fighters

Found: amongst the grasslands

Her spiny scales work as armour to protect her from danger. Some say she can read other's minds.

Meet all priority native threatened species

Zoos Victoria plans to save this endangered animal.

See all of our 21 priority threatened native species.

Grassland Earless Dragon on rock

The search for Victoria’s missing dragons

Once widespread in the grasslands of Victoria, the elusive Grassland Earless Dragon has not been seen in the state since the late 1960’s. 

10 May 2016
Love Your Locals tram launch image 1

Victoria's most endangered take to the streets

A City Circle tram has been dressed up to feature Zoos Victoria’s 20 priority native threatened species.

24 October 2012
  • 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).