Day 7

For my last day in the field I went in search of reptiles again! Today we were going to an area that has no documented lizards so we were searching for anything and everything with scales and four legs!

 

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Cara and I joined the new look reptile team of Ian and Christiana, to search along Smoker’s Trail, through the centre of Namadgi N.P. This team had a different permit to catch than the last reptile team, where they used fishing rods and lasso’s, Ian and Christiana were only able to catch with their hands. This meant that we had some very exciting group attempts at chasing down lizards! We were tasked with catching anything we find so we set off in the mist of the morning, flipping rocks and logs trying to find snoozing lizards. I managed to find one quite quickly, it was a really smooth, thin lizard with short legs. I thought it was an earthworm then I thought it might have been a blind snake, turns out both were wrong! We spent a few hours driving a couple of hundred meters along the road, then stopping to flip anything we could see. It was slow to start with as the mist was thick and the sun wasn’t out, and of course, reptiles don’t come out of their hidey holes during the day unless it is the bask in the sun. Once the sun came out we had so much more luck! The first five lizards we found were all different species, with seven different species in total being found and a total of 12 lizards. 

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One of the first lizards we found was a Jacky Dragon that launched itself from the grasp of Ian onto Christiana’s leg! It then very quickly scarpered up to her head and was running around in her hair! The lizard was about 25cm long and pretty large! It then pretended to be dead while we checked him out and he looked so adorable while doing it! Unfortunately for him, he is destined to be immortalised at the National Museum…. 

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Towards the end of the day we decided to head back towards our camp and go to the Gibraltar Falls. The drive was stunning, so many kangeroos and wallabies as far as you could see, and often right next to the road which made for an exciting drive! Once we had had a look at the beautiful falls we decided to get in one last bit of catching! We weren’t sure what we would find but we ended up seeing lots of water dragons, rock skinks and the unexpected ctenotus. The ctenotus was so hard to catch! We tried a few times to catch the same guy but in the end we only managed to catch his tail! At least this is the part of the animal that can be sampled for its genetic sequence, so it wasn’t wasted but probably missed by the skink! 

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I'm off home tomorrow which is such a shame! I have had such an amazing time here in the ACT, great to hang out with other teachers and so many incredible scientists! Bush Blitz TeachLive has been an amazing experience and I am excited to bring some great lesson ideas back to Taroona High School!