Reptiles and Frogs

General information

The Canberra Nature Map Reptile & Frog portal is proudly managed by the ACT Herpetological Association and ACT FrogWatch in partnership with the ACT Government and forms part of the Canberra Nature Map project. 

84 kinds (species) of reptiles (turtles, snakes and lizards) and frogs are found within 200 kilometres of the Canberra Post Office. They are exciting animals and learning about them and their behaviour and finding them in the wild (or even your backyard) can be very exciting. People often think that all small skinks are the same; in fact there are many different species with some of the most amazing colours, stripes and external structures. Within a single species there may be great variety in colour and markings. 

On Canberra Nature Map you will find descriptions and photos of each species and tips on how to identify single species and where to find them.

By taking photos and reporting sightings you will be adding to our knowledge of these animals, many of which are threatened or rare. This is why we call it 'citizen science'. It is also a great way to enjoy nature and learn about the scientific study of nature.  

Reptiles and frogs are divided into subgroups: Snakes (14 species), Skinks (33), Dragons (6), Legless lizards (5), Geckos (2), Monitors (2), Turtles (2) and Frogs (30). It will take no time before you can tell the difference between groups and know the answer to many questions such as: how do you tell the difference between Legless lizards and snakes?

Moderators are Anke MariaHoefer (FrogWatch ACT) and Geoff Robertson, John Wombey and Will Osborne (ACT Herpetological Association).

Happy Canberra Nature Mapping of reptiles and frogs.

 

Taking photos of reptiles - Geoff Robertson

 

Here are some tips photographing reptiles? This is a modified version of what I wrote some time ago. 

 

Our aim on Canberra Nature Map (CNM) is to discover what species we have in the Canberra region and to map them. Hence the aim is not necessarily to take the perfectly posed photo, but to photo an animals so that it may be identified its species; several photos from different angles may be more appropriate. Even poor photos may be sufficient for identification in many cases.

 

As with any photography, knowing your subject, sneaking up on prey, having a good camera with a reasonable lens, patience etc all help.

 

Knowing your prey is important. Looking at the photos and descriptions on CNM may greatly assist your learning about groups of species and then how to distinguish closely related species from one another. Tips on identification may help you to focus on what part of the animal should be in the picture - with goannas for example, a photo or the whole animals and a photo of the tail should be sufficient for identification. Tips on the animal’s habitat will help you get a good feel about where to find particular species.

 

Unlike plants reptiles often scurry off. However, there is often an opportunity to take good photos. When I first observe an animal, I take a photo and then attempt to get closer and closer taking photos as I get closer. When I am out and about I am often ready with my camera and moving quietly to maximise opportunities. Knowing a little about animal behaviour and habitat also helps to look in the right places.

 

Legally, you cannot capture wild animals. Experienced members of ACT Herpetological Association have permission in the ACT to collect non venomous species, take them to meetings for education purposes, and return them to the capture site. Also rescuing animals from danger is desirable. Many members are skilled at capturing and handling reptiles. However, unless you are experienced, I strongly advise you to leave them alone, especially as you might easily injure them or cause some to loose tails. However, if you do captured an animal, it is best to place it in a cool place, especially away from the sun, where they will cool down and become calmer and easier to photograph.

 

Caution needs to be exercised in approaching venomous animals and unless you are experienced don’t get close unless someone experienced is guiding you. Also in the excitement of seeing an animal be careful not to rush and trip or otherwise injure yourself. 

 

I hope this helps.

Other projects: Atlas of Life in the Coastal Wilderness
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