Gungahlin proves paradise for legless lizards

GUNGAHLIN, it turns out, is one of only a few places in Australia where a large population of rare striped legless lizards can still be found, according to ACT Environment Minister Simon Corbell.

The Striped Legless Lizard. Photo: ACT Government.
The Striped Legless Lizard. Photo: ACT Government.
The legless lizard is officially listed as a vulnerable species around the country, and a threatened species in Victoria.

Mr Corbell says a recent survey found significant numbers of the reptile in three of Gungahlin’s grassland reserves, which put them in its top five reserved habitats nationwide.

“In the 1990’s, the ACT Government made the decision to move the Gungahlin Town Centre away from key habitat, and reserved over five square kilometres of grassland to protect the striped legless lizard,” Mr Corbell says.

“It is gratifying that nearly 20 years on, the Crace, Mulanggari and Gungaderra reserves each support thousands of lizards, one of the largest and highest density populations ever recorded.

“This report highlights the ACT Government’s commitment to strategic land management, conservation and planning foresight.”

Mr Corbell says the striped legless lizard is now only found in the ACT and seven sites in New South Wales, two in South Australia and around 70 in Victoria. Most sites are small, isolated and home to relatively few lizards.

The striped legless lizard, or Delma impar, is snake-like in appearance and grows to 30 centimetres in length. They are usually pale grey-brown on the top and whitish underneath.

As the name suggests, the lizard is striped and typically features a dark and brown pattern which runs the length of its body. These lizards can be readily distinguished from small snakes by having a visible ear opening.

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