Around Victoria today, the soaring heat made it impssible to do much outside. It even seemed too hot for the cats to be bothered doing much, until Clio ran past us with something large dangling out of her mouth. My first view of the Jacky Dragon was the underside of the tail and one leg – a pale beige colour. Clio let the lizard go underneath our bed, making it clear that we were not invited to ‘play’ with her catch. At the first sign that we were going to take the lizard away from her, Clio quickly took it outside again.
Luckily, once outside, she did let the Jacky Dragon go again. Part of its defence routine is to freeze – not very helpful when you have an inquisitive cat on your tail. However, it did enable Richard to come to the rescue.
As far as we could tell, there were no puncture marks, and none of the limbs or the tail looked to be damaged, so the lizard seemed unharmed. We took it out of the cat enclosure and released it near a tree stump with some bushy growth surrounding it. Hopefully it will find a home where it can be safer.
We consulted our trusty field guide to Australian reptiles and amphibians, and discovered that Jacky Dragons like to eat ants, skinks, and worms, which means our back yard must seem like one big larder to them! They lay eggs in November, which usually hatch in January. Adults can grow up to 35cm in length. This one looked large enough to be an adult, rather than a hatchling, but if it was living in the fernery, then chances are we will have more Jacky Dragons in the cat enclosure before long. I just hope they crawl underneath the canvass and wander out of the enclosure so they can be safe from the cats.
The bush part of our property is also ideal habitat for Jacky Dragons, which like to live in holes in the ground, beneath fallen timber. They do climb trees, and they also display on tree stumps to attract mates. The description of the display reminded me of footage I have seen on a documentary – waving feet, open mouth showing yellow-orange mouth lining. I would love to see one doing this in real life!
Jacky Dragons can fight and bite each other, but as far as I know are not harmful to humans or cats.
What an interesting find! Without Clio, we would never have know they were there.
9 thoughts on “Jacky Dragon”
Amazing. I rescued a little shrew from my cat once. They’ll go after anything. But … what’s a skink?
Hi Alastair, Thanks for reading my blog. A skink is a very small lizard – my cats also catch these and bring them inside. You can see a photo of one in another of my posts under Lifestyle. Here is a link Coming to the Rescue: Lizards, Wrens and Spinebills
The skinks are sometimes called ‘droptail lizards’ becase they drop off their tails to escape when caught by predators. As you can see from the photos in the post, they are only about 5cm long, and so very delicate looking. I’ve lost count of the number of skinks I’ve rescued. On hot days Luna brings in about four a day. She never kills them, but lets them go next to a piece of furniture. I think she just likes involving me in the hunt to get them out again. I catch them in a glass and release them outside the cat enclosure, but it is amazing to know how many of them just run back in under the gate. I guess it is their home.
Aha all is revealed! At least you manage to catch the cats’ victims. We once found a black dessicated frog underneath a piece of furniture, which our feline friend must have caught, slain and forgotten, 😦
Just maybe the enclosure needs to be off the ground to protect our precious NATIVE wildlife, instead of making lite of the cats destructive killing habits.Just a thought , That would give all a chance at life.Add that up over the one year or the lifetime of the cat & see what number we come up with!
Thanks for your comment Martin, I do understand what you are saying. Sorry if the tone of the article wasn’t right. It does upset me if they kill anything – native or not. Thankfully this does not happen very often. Most of the time they are inside cats and on sunny days they just laze outside in the sun. However, we have gone to the trouble of ensuring our cats are confined to a small back yard. They can’t wander in the bushland around our home. Unfortunately, most of our neighbors don’t confine their cats at all. I get upset when I see neighborhood cats wandering in our our bushland and I support the push for all cats to be kept in enclosures. Lisa
I love jacky dragons and one keeps on coming into my room and when ever let it go it ends up in my room
Wow-that’s great! I rarely see them, although I know they are there in the bush. The ones I have photographed mostly are in our back yard (fenced in) when they make themselves known. There is a fernery with a fish pond, so I guess that makes a good home. 🙂