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Mammals   |   Reptiles   |   Birds   |   Fish, Sharks, Rays   |   Crustaceans, Molluscs   |   Insects, Arachnids

Loggerhead Sea Turtle
Caretta caretta
Photos by Simone Bosshard, 2018

The vast majority of sea turtle nests laid at Gnaraloo are from loggerhead sea turtles. Loggerheads got their name from their big head, which is mainly due to their large beak and strong jaw muscles used to crush crustaceans, which are a key staple of their diet. Like many other sea turtle species, loggerheads usually nest at night. They typically lay 80 to 120 eggs per nest, which will then incubate for approximately two months. Hatchlings normally emerge at night, when the darkness can help hide them from hungry predators as they make a mad dash to the ocean. Hatchlings use light to help orient themselves since the light from the moon and stars reflect off the water, indicating where they need to head towards. This is why it is so important to not use flashlights on sea turtle nesting beaches during the season!

Perentie - Varanus giganteus - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Varanus giganteus
Photo by Simone Bosshard, 2017

Perenties can reach up to 2.5 m in length, making them the largest native monitor lizard or goanna in Australia. They can be found in the desert area of Western Australia, South Australia, Northern territories and Queensland. They often stand on their back legs and tail to gain a better view of the surrounding terrain, a behaviour known as “tripoding”. Perenties are fast sprinters, reaching speeds up to 40 km per hour, and can run using either all four legs or just their hind legs. They also have long claws which are good for climbing trees and digging burrows. Make sure to give these large lizards ample of space and if they start hissing back off immediately, as they have strong jaws that can deliver a painful, and even slightly venomous, bite. In addition, perenties also have powerful tails which they use both offensively and defensively; a single whip of the tail can be strong enough to break bone.

Green Turtle - Chelonia mydas - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Green Sea Turtle
Chelonia mydas
Photo by Stephanie Whelan, 2017

Green sea turtles have also nested along the beaches at Gnaraloo, although not as frequently as loggerheads. Unlike the carnivorous loggerheads that feed mainly on crustaceans and jellyfish, mature green sea turtles have herbivorous diets which consist of sea grasses and algae. Like most species of sea turtles, green turtles are listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List and have been negatively affected by human impacts, such as commercial harvesting, plastic and pollution, and loss of suitable nesting beaches. They are highly migratory and can live to be more than 80 years old with a carapace length usually between 80-115 cm, making them larger than most loggerheads. Named after the colour of their fat, green turtles have smaller heads in comparison but typically have beautiful carapaces. It is quite common to see a juvenile green turtle serenely swimming by while snorkelling at Gnaraloo.

Smooth Knob-Tailed Gecko - Nephrurus levis (occidentalis) - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Smooth Knob-Tailed Gecko
Nephrurus levis (occidentalis)
Photo by Claire Guillaume, 2013

The smooth knob-tailed gecko is named after its characteristically chunky tail. This reptile only has one cleavage point so in the event of danger, it must sacrifice the whole tail. Smooth knob-tailed geckos are native to Australia and found in many parts of the interior as well as in arid Western Australian deserts. These geckos are insectivores, meaning they feed mostly on invertebrates such as spiders, cockroaches, scorpions, and centipedes. Smooth knob-tailed geckos are nocturnal so in order to warm themselves overnight, they come out of the burrow and lay on their stomach on the sand to increase their body temperature. Just like sea turtles, these geckos breed from October to March and often lay 6-7 clutches of eggs per season!

Sand Goanna - Varanus gouldii - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Gould’s Monitor Lizard
Varanus gouldii
Photo by Heather Shipp, 2017

Commonly known as the Sand or Gould’s monitor lizards, they are often found in the sandy deserts of Australia and New Guinea. Adult monitors prey on mice, small birds, large insects, and even small lizard and snake species, as they are seemingly immune to snake venom. Female monitors lay nests in active termite mounds to regulate the temperature and humidity of the nests. The female will dig a tunnel towards the centre of the mound, lay 10 to 17 eggs into the tunnel, and refill the tunnel but allow the termites to reconstruct the mound around the goanna eggs.

Stimson's Python - Antaresia stimsoni (stimsoni) - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Stimson’s Python
Antaresia stimsoni
Photo by Heather Shipp, 2017

Stimson’s pythons are non-venomous and kill their prey by constriction of the body’s powerful muscles. They have long, curved teeth more abundant than most other python species. Their diet usually consists of small mammals and they hunt using heat sensitive pits in the scales around its mouth to detect nearby warm-blooded prey.

Bynoe's Gecko - Heteronotia binoei - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Bynoe’s Gecko
Heteronotia binoei
Photo by Heather Shipp, 2017

Long-Nosed Dragon - Gowidon longirostris - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Long-Nosed Dragon
Gowidon longirostris
Photo by Heather Shipp, 2017

Mottled Ground Gecko - Lucasium squarrosum - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Mottled Ground Gecko
Lucasium squarrosum
Photo by Claire Guillaume, 2017

Thorny Devil - Moloch horridus - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Thorny Devil
Moloch horridus

Variegated Dtella - Gehyra variegata - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Variegated Dtella
Gehyra variegata
Photo by Heather Shipp, 2017

Western Netted Dragon - Ctenophorus reticulatus - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Western Netted Dragon
Ctenophorus reticulatus
Photo by Claire Guillaume, 2017

Ringed Brown Snake - Pseudonaja modesta - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Ringed Brown Snake
Pseudonaja modesta
Photo by Heather Shipp, 2017

Western Brown Snake - Pseudonaja mengdeni - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Western Brown Snake
Pseudonaja mengdeni
Photo by Heather Shipp, 2017

Western Brown Snake (Gwardar) Pseudonaja mengdeni - Gnaraloo Wildlife Species

Western Brown Snake (Gwardar)
Pseudonaja mengdeni
Photo by Simone Bosshard, 2017

Have you seen animals that are not listed here?
Please submit your photos of what you saw at Gnaraloo – on land or in water – with a species identification.

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