Meet our lizards, snakes and frogs, and learn about their remarkable adaptations to the cool climate of Tasmania.
There are three species of snakes and eighteen species of lizard found in Tasmania. Of these, seven lizards have distributions restricted to Tasmania. Tasmania's relatively cool climate and high mountain ranges provide certain challenges for reptiles. Reptiles need to raise their body temperature, usually by basking or by absorbing warmth from rocks that have been heated by the sun. Most species become active only when the air temperature is well above 15 degrees Celsius. Consequently, some species of reptile enter a torpor over winter and most have developed strategies and adaptations to thrive in Tasmania's cooler environment. All species of reptile found only in Tasmania give birth to live young rather than laying eggs. In some cases the eggs merely develop within the body until they are ready to hatch.
The only 3 snakes in Tasmania
- Tiger snake - Notechis scutatus
- Lowland copperhead - Austrelaps superbus
- White-lipped snake - Drysdalia coronoides
7 endemic of the 18 lizard species in Tasmania
- She-oak skink - Cyclodomorphus casuarinae
- Mountain skink - Carinascincus orocryptum
- Northern snow skink - Carinascincus greeni
- Southern snow skink - Carinascincus microlepidotus
- Spotted skink - Carinascincus ocellatus
- Pedra Branca skink - Carinascincus palfreymani
- Tasmanian tree skink - Carinascincus pretiosus
Eleven species of frog occur throughout Tasmania, three of which are restricted to the State. While many of them are inconspicuous, with a little practice all species can be identified from the distinctive calls of the males.
The banjo frog spends 12-15 months as a tadpole, while the common froglet has a larval life span of 6-10 weeks. It has been shown that, in some species at least, the growth rate of tadpoles is related to the population density within the pond and the available food supply. All other things being equal, tadpoles in high densities grow at a slower rate than those occurring in lower numbers.
11 known Tasmanian frog species
- Southern toadlet - Pseudophryne semimarmorata
- Green and gold frog - Litoria raniformis
- Moss froglet - Bryobatrachus nimbus
- Brown tree frog - Litoria ewingi
- Tasmanian tree frog - Litoria burrowsae
- Common froglet - Crinia signifera
- Tasmanian froglet - Crinia tasmaniensis
- Eastern banjo frog - Limnodynastes dumerili
- Striped marsh frog - Limnodynastes peroni
- Spotted marsh frog - Limnodynastes tasmaniensis
- Smooth froglet - Geocrinia laevis
Chytrid (pronounced kit-rid) fungus causes the disease known as chytridiomycosis or chytrid infection which currently threatens Tasmania's native amphibians. The fungus infects the skin of frogs destroying its structure and function, and can ultimately cause death. Sporadic deaths occur in some frog populations, and 100 per cent mortality occurs in other populations. Visitors to wilderness areas in Tasmania are asked to check, clean, disinfect and dry their boots and equipment prior to entering. Please see our biosecurity page for more information.
The preservation of adequate habitat for reptiles and frogs in Tasmania is a challenge for these species, as is the impact that introduced species have such as the laughing kookaburras and the lyrebird.
Futher information about the species above and their associated threats can be found on the Department's Wildlife Management page.