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:
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.
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.