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Eastern Water Dragon

Intellagama lesueurii lesueurii (formerly Physignathus lesueurii lesueurii)


A water dragon doing what water dragon's are meant to do, and that is 'swim'. It is, however, the first time I've ever seen one do this, and I was only alerted to its presence when I heard a loud splash. These reptiles are good swimmers, but strangely enough they don't have webbing on their feet, relying instead on their laterally-compressed tail. They can actually stay submerged for up to 90 minutes, so they're really well adapted to water environments. They're also very proficient climbers. Detailed information on this species can be found at one of my previous spottings, also in Brisbane - An interesting fact: Fossil and biochemical records of Intellagama in Australia show that they have existed here for the past 20 million years and are quite an ancient lineage of reptile. In the modern era, the Eastern Water Dragon is one of two sub-species of I. lesueurii, the other being the Gippsland Water Dragon - I. l. howittii.


This fellow was spotted in the pond at the Mt. Coot-tha Botanical Gardens in Brisbane QLD.


I've chosen the first photo in this series as the lead photo simply because it shows the animal actually swimming. It was a blurred photo, poorly lit, and lacked clarity, so I tarted it up with some creative editing to make it more presentable, something I usually try to avoid doing for my Noah spottings. One of the rangers said to me once "Recording the spotting is far more important than great photography", and that's something I always bear in mind. I wanted to salvage this photo though because I thought it was worth sharing.

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OnengDyah 7 years ago

Wonderful pic..:)

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 7 years ago

That'll teach him to fool around with cockatoos. They've got a pretty nasty bite. There's a lot at the botanical gardens where I spotted this fellow, but this is the first one I've actually seen swimming. He was a decent size too. Thanks for your comment.

bgundersun 7 years ago

Great photo Neil! I was staying in Byron bay and I saw a ton of them! There's one that would have been around two feet except he had lost his tail to a pet cockatoo. Amazing specimen!

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 7 years ago

Cheers, Leanne. It was only that I heard the splash. This creepy little kid (who I thought was stalking me) was actually stalking the lizard, and the lizard didn't want a bit of it. I got a couple of good pics out of it, so thanks creepy kid :-)

LeanneGardner 7 years ago

Fantastic spotting Neil! I've never seen one swimming either, great that you could capture the moment.

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 7 years ago

Thanks, Ashley. A giant Alligator Snapping Turtle this fellow most certainly is not, but just as cute non-the-less haha. Congrats on your big 2000 as well. Very inspirational :-)

AshleyT 7 years ago

Very cool series, Neil!

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 7 years ago

Thanks, Daniele. It was a first for me.

DanielePralong 7 years ago

Nice to see them in the water! I'm linking to this :-)

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 7 years ago

Thanks, Mark. Very confident indeed.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 7 years ago

What confidence he has. I guess that's why he's called a water dragon. Nice set Neil.

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 7 years ago

Cheers, Shanna. He was a lovely, big fellow.

ShannaB 7 years ago

Cool series, Neil!!

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 7 years ago

Thanks very much. This is thanks to some little kid that spooked him, and the lizard made the 'dash for cash' across the pond. One action shot is all I got. They are fascinating reptiles, and they always manage to make me smile.

SargonR 7 years ago

Wow, this is one of the most fascinating reptile spotting I have seen on here. Very impressive!

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 7 years ago

Thanks, Rosa. They are very entertaining, and when used to the presence of people can be quite relaxed, sometimes even bold. They have lots of character and are one of my favouite Aussie reptiles. I was delighted to see this one in the water.

Rosa Maria
Rosa Maria 7 years ago

I love this and the other spotting. Thanks for the description. It was very informative and they seem extremely entertaining to watch. :)

Neil Ross
Spotted by
Neil Ross

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Spotted on Apr 6, 2014
Submitted on Apr 24, 2014

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