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Intellagama lesueurii lesueurii (formerly Physignathus lesueurii lesueurii)
The Eastern Water Dragon is an Australian native reptile, and I'm fairly certain this juvenile is male. I doubt his overall length was any more than 40 cms, about half the size of a fully-grown adult male. This one was a bold little chap and seemed quite inquisitive, but when his curiosity was satisfied, he shot off into the undergrowth. From a previous spotting (also at the gardens but at the other lakes), this mature male was having a swim - https://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/27... Water dragons are true to their name and are excellent swimmers, and are quite capable of stay submerged for up to 90 minutes, particularly if feeling threatened. They also love to sunbathe. An interesting fact: Fossil records indicate that this genus has existed in Australia for at least 20 million years.
This spotting was at the Brisbane Botanical Gardens, Mt. Coot-Tha, in a well-established sub-tropical rainforest section of the gardens. The Mt. Coot-Tha Forest borders this area so there's a lot of native bushland in and around the gardens, particularly around this lake. Riparian zones around creeks and ponds, etc., is usually a favourite habitat.
If in doubt, use the flash! I usually forget, but this time I had no choice because the forest canopy was so dense and whatever sunlight there was created way-too-much contrast. I was delighted to see these photos and how the flash brought out the detail of the scales. Reptiles are such amazing creatures, and to see details like this really heightens my fascination of and love for them. The flash also highlights how well-camouflaged water dragons are in their natural environment (last two photos).
Spotted on Nov 16, 2018
Submitted on Jun 7, 2019
and 3 other people favorited this spotting