Rediscovery of the Victorian grassland earless dragon after 50 years

Dept of Climate Change, Energy, Environment & Water

Thought to be extinct the Victorian grassland earless dragon (Tympanocryptis pinguicolla) has been rediscovered on Wadawurrung Country!

This cryptic species has remained hidden for the past 54 years despite ongoing searches. Once common in native grasslands west of Melbourne, their numbers declined due to habitat loss and predators like foxes and feral cats.

The Australian Government is working with the Victorian Government and Zoos Victoria to ensure the species’ recovery. This includes trialling the use of specially trained detection dogs to sniff out dragons and a breeding program to ensure the species is not lost again. Using detection dogs in this way could be a game-changer in the conservation of this and other threatened Australian lizards and snakes, helping achieve the government’s target of no new extinctions.

The Victorian grassland earless dragon was recently listed as Critically Endangered. It has been identified as the most at risk of all lizard and snake species in Australia. Its rediscovery is a timely reminder of the urgency and importance to act.

In the coming weeks we will release the draft national recovery plan for this species for a 3-month public consultation period. We look forward to incorporating public comments and getting the plan right to ensure our best chances of recovering the Victorian grassland earless dragon. Keep an eye on our news for updates.

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