add angle-downbadge calendarcard check clockemail exclamation-circleexternal-linkfacebook-squarefacebook fighting-extinction gift instagram-squareinstagram linkedin lock logo-healesville-inverse logo-melbourne-inverse logo-werribee-inverse logo-zv-icons logo-zv-inverse logo-zv mime-pdf phone pinterest remove tick timestwitter-squaretwitter vic-gov youtube

Grassland Earless Dragon

This miniature dragon was once found in the native grasslands of western Victoria, NSW and ACT, from Geelong to Bathurst.  However, due to loss and degradation of its habitat, many populations have been lost. The last confirmed sighting of a Grassland Earless Dragon in Victoria was in 1967, and it may now be extinct in this state. 

The Grassland Earless Dragon (Tympanocryptis pinguicolla) lives in natural temperate grasslands, dominated by wallaby grasses, tussock grasses and spear grasses.  It prefers fairly open grasslands, and shelters in burrows or under rocks.  This little animal is also energetic, with some adults moving 40 – 110 m a day.

Causes of the loss, degradation and fragmentation of Grassland Earless Dragon habitat include:

  • Urban, industrial and agricultural expansion
  • Changes in fire regimes
  • Changes in grazing regimes, particularly with the introduction of sheep, cattle and rabbits
  • Weed invasion
  • Use of agricultural chemicals
  • Removal of rocks

Pesticide use may also affect invertebrates that the Grassland Earless Dragon eats, and/or the dragons themselves.  Introduced predators, particularly foxes and cats may also eat this species. 

Saving the Grassland Earless Dragon

Zoos Victoria is working to change the fate of threatened species and is committed to Fighting Extinction – we will ensure that no more Victorian terrestrial vertebrate species become extinct.

The last Victorian Grassland Earless Dragon was sighted in 1990, and even this record is unconfirmed.   Subsequent surveys in Victoria have failed to find the species.  The Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment is currently conducting surveys of remnant grasslands.  If any Victorian animals are found in these surveys or as part of Melbourne’s Urban Growth Boundary expansion, Zoos Victoria will be involved in the recovery effort.

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
  • Act Wild - Join the growing number of Wild Activists taking action for local wildlife. You can get grubby, get creative and find out about local conservation events

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)

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.