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Endangered lizard found

An endangered reptile often mistaken for a snake has been found for the first time in almost 40 years in the Beechworth area, making it the most north-easterly record in Victoria.

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Endangered lizard found

An endangered reptile often mistaken for a snake has been found for the first time in almost 40 years in the Beechworth area, making it the most north-easterly record in Victoria.

The Striped Legless Lizard, Delma impar, was once common across Victoria and other temperate areas of Australia including the ACT, South Australia and New South Wales.

It’s believed to be extinct in South Australia and habitat loss has led to it retracting to a handful of sites in Victoria.

Trust for Nature’s Regional Manager for North East Victoria, Will Ford, said it was a really exciting and unexpected find.

He said, “The last confirmed record for this species in the north east was back in the 1980s. We thought they’d more or less disappeared from the region.

“We’ve been helping the landholder to manage the native grassland habitat on this property for several years, so to find this species here really shows how important the work we do together is.

“The individual lizard we found was under a log out in the middle of the paddock. Often this sort of stuff would get cut up for firewood or piled up and burnt. It goes to demonstrate how critical fallen timber is as habitat for reptiles like the Striped Legless Lizard, and how valuable it is to leave fallen timber for native wildlife.”

Habitat loss has reduced populations of the lizard and it has also been intentionally killed because people have mistaken it for a snake.

The lizard is small, growing up to 250 mm, and very cryptic. It has some quirky behaviours such as squeaking when it’s threatened and jumping to get away from predators.

Trust for Nature is keen to find out more about the distribution and abundance of the species in the region.

To report a sighting or find out more about Trust for Nature’s Legless Lizard Project, contact Bertram Lobert on 0409 433 276 or bertl@tfn.org.au.

For more information about Trust for Nature’s work in the north east, contact Will Ford on 0418 300 959 or willf@tfn.org.au.

Trust for Nature is a not-for-profit organisation that relies on the generosity of supporters to help us protect Victoria’s amazing biodiversity.