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Rottnest Island

Reptiles and amphibians of Rottnest

The variety of reptiles and amphibians on Rottnest Island is relatively low when compared with the adjacent mainland. Only twenty-two species of frogs and reptiles have been recorded on the Island, whereas over ninety species are found in the Perth region.

Marine reptiles have been occasionally sighted in the waters around Rottnest Island, including green and loggerhead turtles. All frogs and reptiles are protected under the Wildlife Conservation Act of 1950, the Rottnest Island Authority Act 1987 and Rottnest Island Regulations 1988.

Since separating from the mainland 7,000 years ago, the flora and fauna on the Island have been isolated, and have experienced changes in environmental conditions. This has led in turn to changes in the appearance of a number of species from their mainland ancestors. These changes are significant enough for these animals to be described as separate sub-species. The dugite and the bobtail lizard (also known as blue tongue or shingle back lizard) are two examples of this genetic divergence.

Frogs

Three species of frogs are found on Rottnest Island: the moaning frog, the western green tree frog (or motorbike frog) and the sandplain (or squelching) froglet. The moaning frog burrows by day and its long eerie moaning call can be heard at night around brackish swamps and freshwater seeps from late March. The sandplain froglet’s squelching calls begin after the first rain during April, before the swamps have filled, and continue through the winter wet season to early spring. The western green tree frog calls from late August to January with a long low-pitched growl likened to the sound of a motorcycle changing gears.

Lizards

Seventeen species of lizards have been recorded on Rottnest Island. There are two types of geckos, two types of legless lizards and thirteen types of skinks. Commonly seen lizards include the Bobtail, King's Skink, Marbled Gecko, West Coast Ctenotus and Burton's Legless Lizard.

Snakes

There are two species of snakes present on the Island, the Southern Blind Snake and the Dugite. The Southern Blind Snake is a non-venomous burrowing snake, and the Dugite is a slender, dark brown, venomous snake. Dugites are frequently seen during the summer months, often lying on the road obtaining warmth from the sun and bitumen. Dugites are timid and non-aggressive, but they should always be treated with respect and caution as they are venomous.

Do not attempt to pick up or touch snakes, or any other reptiles or frogs.


Rottnest Island frog and reptile species

Moaning frogFAMILY NAME: MYOBATRACHIDAE GROUND FROGS
Scientific name: Heleioporus eyeri (Gray 1845)
Common
Common name: Moaning frog


Sandplain frogletFAMILY NAME: MYOBATRACHIDAE GROUND FROGS  
Scientific name: Crinia insignifera (Moore 1954)
Common
Common name: Sandplain Froglet


Western green tree frogFAMILY NAME: HYLIDAE TREE FROGS
Scientific name: Litoria moorei  (Copland 1957)
Uncommon
Common name: Western green tree frog


South-western spiny-tailedFAMILY NAME: GECKONIDAE GECKOS
Scientific name: Strophurus spinigerus (Gray 1842)
Common
Common name: South-western Spiny-tailed


marbled greckoFAMILY NAME: GECKONIDAE GECKOS
ScientIfic name: Phyllodactylus marmoratus (Gray 1845)
Common
Common name: Marbled gecko


South-western sandplain worm lizardFAMILY NAME: PYGOPODIDAE LEGLESS LIZARDS
Scientific name: Aspasia repens (Fry 1914)
Rare
Common name: South-western sandplain worm lizard


Burton's legless lizardFAMILY NAME: PYGOPODIDAE LEGLESS LIZARDS
Scientific name: Lialis burtonis (Gray 1835)
Common
Common name: Burton's legless lizard


West coast ctenotusFAMILY NAME: SCINCIDAE SKINKS LIZARDS
Scientofic name: Ctenotus fallens (Storr 1974)
Common
Common name: West Coast ctenotus


King's skinkFAMILY NAME: SCINCIDAE SKINKS LIZARDS
Scientific name: Egernia kingii (Gray 1838)
Moderately common at Cape Vlamingh, (scarce elsewhere)
Common name: King's skink


South western crevice egerniaFAMILY NAME: SCINCIDAE SKINKS LIZARDS
Scientific name: Egernis napoleonis (Gray 1839)
Formerly moderately common in vicinity of lakes, now rare

Common name: South-western crevice egernia


Two toes earless skinkFAMILY NAME: SCINCIDAE SKINKS LIZARDS
Scientific name: Hemiergis quadrilineata (Dumeril & Birbron 1839)
Common
Common name: Two-toed earless skink


south western cool skinkFAMILY NAME: SCINCIDAE SKINKS LIZARDS
Scientific name: Bassiana trilineatum (Gray 1838)
Scarce - damp places especially the vicinity of fresh water seeps
Common name: South-western cool skink


Bold-striped four
toed leristaFAMILY NAME: SCINCIDAE SKINKS LIZARDS
Scientific name: Lerista chrstinae (Store 1979)
Rare
Common name: Bold-striped four toed lerista


West coast four toed leristaFAMILY NAME: SCINCIDAE SKINKS LIZARDS
Scientofic name:
Lerista elegans (Gray 1845)
Scarce
Common name: West Coast four toed lerista


Perth lined leristaFAMILY NAME: SCINCIDAE SKINKS LIZARDS
Scientific name: Lerista lineata (Bell 1833)
Possibly extinct
Common name: Perth lined lerista


West coast line spotted leristaFAMILY NAME: SCINCIDAE SKINKS LIZARDS
Scientific name: Lerista lineopunctulata (Dumeril & Birbron 1839)
Scarce
Common name: West-coast line spotted lerista


Western worm leristaFAMILY NAME: SCINCIDAE SKINKS LIZARDS
Scientific name: Lerista praepedita (Boulenger 1887)
Common
Common name: Western worm lerista


Common dwarf skinkFAMILY NAME: SCINCIDAE SKINKS LIZARDS
Scientific name: Menetia greyii (Gray 1845)
Very Common
Common name: Common dwarf skink


Western pale flicked morethiaFAMILY NAME: SCINCIDAE SKINKS LIZARDS
Scientific name: Morethia lineocellata (Dumerill & Bibron 1839)
Very Common
Common name: Western pale-flecked morethia


Bobtail lizardFAMILY NAME: SCINCIDAE SKINKS LIZARDS
Scientific name: Tiliqua rugosa konowi (Mertens 1958)
Common - this small dark population is an endemic subspecies
Common name: Bobtail


Southern blind snakeFAMILY NAME: TYPHLOPIDAE BLIND SNAKES
Scientific name: Ramphotyphlops australis (Gray 1845)
Rare
Common name: Southern blind snake


Rottnest Island dugiteFAMILY NAME: ELAPIDAE FRONT-FANGED SNAKES
Scientific name: Pseudonaja affinis exilis (Storr 1989)
Common - this dwarf population of dugite is endemic subspecies
Common name: Rottnest Island Dugite

Contributed images courtesy of Brad Maryan