Snakes Harmful and Harmless®

In search of the McKenzie's Chenopod Dragon (Ctenophorus mckenziei)

First collected near Ponier Rock, Western Australia in 1978. In 1984 it was found further north on Noondoonia Station. It has also been recorded from South Australia. Following is a brief report on the quest by three fellows to obtain the first in-life photographs of Western Australian McKenzie's Chenopod Dragon.

Brad Maryan, Robert Browne-Cooper and Brian Bush had been in contact with Allan Evans (Noondoonia Manager) since an earlier unsuccessful trip. The difficulty in finding the exact locality was compounded by a phantom rock outcrop (Kilidwerinia Granite Rock) that is included on all maps of the area but does not exist. With Allan's assistance we were able to find the correct location amongst the thousands of square miles of chenopod country. As a small token of appeciation we left him with a block of good WA beer.

There had been nothing remarkable previously recorded regarding the habitat of this dragon lizard, although we soon got a bit of a handle on the best place to find active lizards. All individuals occupied limestone rock-strewn low rises amongst the generally flat non-rock-strewn landscape.

Five individuals were collected, with four of these being caught by the World's greatest lizarder using a flick rod and noose. Without Robert's skill, Brad and I would probably still be out there scrambling around on our hands and knees attempting to catch the quick little devils!

Robert using his skill with the fishing rod to catch a Gould's Monitor (
Varanus gouldii) on the same trip. Note the relaxed "country bumpkin" facial expression on this quintessential lizarder!

Busho setting up a "quick" dragon lizard to photograph in the "ring" - cheeky bugger - it is a slow moving Thorny Devil! This is on the side of the Zanthus-Balladonia Road. Photo by Brad Maryan.

Chenopod Dragon habitat.

WARNING: It is an offence in Western Australia to take fauna, even if only to disturb for photographing, without wildlife authority approval. All reptiles illustrated here were taken under licence issued by CALM.

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