The iconic Australian Bobtail Lizard is known by many other names including sleepy lizard and shingleback lizard.
These slow movers are commonly seen during warmer months within the Northern Agricultural Region. The word rugose translates to wrinkled or rough in Latin, referring to their raised, shingle-like scales.
Bobtails are mostly brown in colour, sometimes with yellow spots and a pale belly. They have short, stumpy tails and a triangular head. While females are larger in size, males tend to have stockier builds and larger heads.
When Bobtails feel threatened, they will open their bright pink mouths and extend a dark blue tongue and hiss.
Often found in semi-arid habitats and coastal parts of Western Australia and South Australia, these lizards are seen from Shark Bay to the plains of the Great Dividing Range.
Their habitat typically includes shrubland, sand dunes and arid grasslands. Bobtails enjoy open habitats for sun-baking, hence why they are often seen on road edges.
As omnivores, Bobtails will eat various plants and animals, preying on slow-moving animals like snails and beetles. These are easily crushed by bobtails using their strong jaws. They also enjoy eating a wide range of flowers and vegetation, frequenting gardens and vegetable patches.
Between September and November each year, Bobtails re-establish their monogamous breeding pairs. Pregnancy in these animals usually lasts between 3 and 5 months, with most babies born in the warmer months between December and April. Young are born fully formed and self-sufficient, often in two’s or threes.
Bobtails are quite prone to vehicle strikes as a consequence of their generally slow movement. They can also fall victim to the deadly upper respiratory tract infection known as ‘Bobtail Flu’. These lizards can survive without food for months at a time as they have a fat store in their tail.