Types of Reptiles of Australia

There are four main types of reptiles of Australia.

They are snakes, lizards, crocodiles and turtles. Reptiles are well represented in Australia, with a wide distribution and more than 860 species.


Lizards and snakes are the most diverse groups, particularly in the outback where most other kinds of animals find the climate too dry.
 
Centralian Carpet Python (Morelia Spilota Bredli), Australia, Captivity
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Types of Reptiles of Australia - Snakes
Although there are some very poisonous snakes in Australia, the majority of our snakes are not dangerous to humans. The groups of pythons (Pythonidae - the largest snakes in Australia) and colubrid snakes (Colubridae - many of which are tree snakes in Australia) consist of entirely harmless species in Australia. Colubridae is the largest snake family in the world (about 2/3 of all snake species), however in Australia we have relatively few of them.

That said, our poisonous snakes, (all belonging to the same family, Elapidae), are some of the world's most poisonous, including the most poisonous species in the world - the inland taipan. Other poisonous ones include the groups of brown snakes, black snakes and death adders. Despite its name, King Brown belongs to the group of black snakes, not the brown ones.

Perentie Monitor Lizard Basking on Rock in Outback Australia
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Types of Reptiles of Australia - Lizards
We have some impressive lizards such as the large goannas and monitors. We also have dragons, geckoes, skinks and legless lizards. The largest monitors are perenties and lace monitors. The most impressive dragon is the frill necked lizard. The best known geckos are house geckos, that are often found in homes in tropical regions, however there are many others that live in the bush. Skinks is the largest group of lizards in Australia, which includes blue tongue skinks (world wide they are second largest after geckos). Legless lizards are related to geckos but have no legs. They are native to Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Saltwater Crocodile or Estuarine Crocodile (Crocodylus Porosus) Underwater, South Australia
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Types of Reptiles of Australia - Crocodiles
Our crocodiles are world famous and we have two species of them. The smaller freshwater crocodile is a harmless species while the larger, Australian saltwater crocodile, is a very dangerous animal. It's the world's largest crocodile and it eats humans if it can. Crocs have a continuous evolutionary history since the times of dinosaurs, when they were closely related to birds.

A Sea Turtle Offers Some Protection to Small Fish in the Open Ocean
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Types of Reptiles of Australia - Turtles
Finally we have turtles. There are two kinds of them too - the freshwater and the saltwater turtles. Saltwater turtles are huge (for turtles) and not so common to spot, while freshwater turtles are quite small and easily seen in freshwater lakes and billabongs. Turtles, too, have a long history - the earliest known turtles are even older than crocodiles.



















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