Wild Fact #193 – Not the Tanning Type – Boyd’s Forest Dragon

Photo by Zoharby (Wikimedia)

Yesterday we were hanging out in the rainforests of Central and South America.  Today we are heading to the other side of the world to wander around the rainforests of Queensland, Australia.  Granted we may be a little jet-lagged but it will be worth it.  So what are we looking for while we are in Australia?  Well, we are going to study an interesting lizard called the Boyd’s Forest Dragon.  Don’t get too excited since it isn’t a real dragon.

You really can’t miss this lizard as they have large cheek scales, a noticeable crest and of course a yellow dewlap under their chin.  Nothing says fashion like a nice yellow dewlap.  The male Dragon’s are typically larger than their female counterparts and they also have larger, blockier heads.  Yes, go ahead and insert your witty comment about all men having block heads.

Photo by Oliver Castaneda (Wikicommons)

It probably comes as no surprise that the Boyd’s Forest Dragon likes to hang out in the trees.  This actually works to the benefit of people trying to observe them since they are usually clung to the trees at the same height as our head.   Although, they are pretty clever so if you try to approach this lizard they will typically move to the other side of the tree so that the trunk is always between them and the intruder.

These little Dragon’s take their trees very seriously as they are highly territorial.  The males will generally guard an area as large as a 1000 square meters.  These large male territories will usually overlap the territories of several females.  That is one smart male lizard.  He greatly improves his chances for mating if he surrounds himself with females.  Speaking of mating the lowland population of Boyd’s Forest Dragon will reach maturity between one and two years.  The upland population on the other hand usually takes a year longer.  I wonder if the lowland population bullies the upland lizards before they reach maturity.

Boyd’s Forest Dragon Fast Fact – Unlike most reptiles the Forest Dragon doesn’t bask in the sun.  Instead they let their body temperature just fluctuate with the temperatures.  The exception to this is females that are carrying eggs.  They can often be seen sunning themselves in the open.  I guess it can’t hurt to get a good tan once in awhile.

That does it for our trip to Australia.  Have a great day!

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