The Australian Reptile Park and Wildlife Sanctuary
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Central Netted Dragon

Scientific Name: Ctenophorus nuchalis

Did You Know?

Unlike most reptiles, the central netted dragon is fairly short lived. In captivity the life expectancy is around 5-6 years, while in the wild it is probably half of this. Some of its close relatives have even shorter lives, particularly the males, which may only live for 12-18 months.

A small active dragon with an intricate reticulated or netlike pattern of dark lines over a pale grey-brown background. The head is rounded and the legs and toes are strong to enable them to run at great speeds and to dig burrows. The tail of an adult is usually around 16cm in length, the head and body about 10cm. The males and females are very similar but the former tend to develop larger a head in relation to body size as they mature.


An inhabitant of the plains and open scrub of central Australia, from the Western Australia coast to western New South Wales and Queensland. Their day is spent basking in the sun to raise their body temperature, hunting for food and protecting their territory from other dragons. During the hottest part of the day and at night they will retreat into burrows, which stay cool in the blistering heat of the outback.


A combination of small insects such as beetles, caterpillars and termites and the leaves and flowers of small herbaceous plants make up the diet.


Female central netted dragons may lay as many as three clutches of eggs in a single season if food is plentiful. Each clutch contains 2-6 eggs, which are laid in a shallow excavation in the sand and left to incubate.

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