Supporting Urban & Peri-urban Endangered Reptiles

The world is in the grip of a major biodiversity crisis, and the Northern Territory is not immune.  The Territory has seen a major decline in a range of species in recent decades and our project - a collaboration between BiodiversityWatch and the Australian Association for Environmental Education (AAEE) - is designed to help people understand this crisis, provide a local perspective on it, and to generate a response to help. 

Our flagship National Parks such as Kakadu have been no exception to the globa biodiversity crisis, and have suffered massive biodiversity decline, and yet in the greater Darwin region many threatened and endangered species are still present.  Brush-tail Possums are thriving in our urban areas despite having dissapeared from around 70% of their former range, whilst Black-footed Tree-rats and Yellow-spotted Monitors are not thriving to the same extent as possums, but are certainly persisting in the greater Darwin region.  Of course we can't not mention the very exciting and unexpected find of a Northern Quoll that was caught in a mammal trap in Nightcliff! 

Northern Brush-tail Possums
(Trichosurus vulpecula arnhemensis)


Black-footed Tree-rat
(Mesembriomys gouldii)


Yellow-spotted Monitor
(Varanus panoptes)



Northern Quoll
(Dasyurus hallucatus)


The key difference that separates the greater Darwin region is people.  Our communities are helping to manage the local environment and that is making all the difference.  Nothing shows this more clearly than our communities' response to the Cane Toad invasion. 

Initially we - BiodiversityWatch and AAEE - are focussing on reptiles as they are reasonably easy to spot and photograph or observe from a short distance - not to mention fascinating!  We want to encourage people to learn to identify their local reptiles, begin to record data on their distribution and relative abundance, and add it to our shared database.  To do this we have created some resources; an identification booklet on the reptiles of the Greater Darwin region to help with identification, and an adapted MacKinnon List to record the species sighted.  The data from MacKinnon Lists will be useful in establishing the distribution of species across the Greater Darwin region and will provide a rough estimation of the relative abundance of said species. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I feed the baby frogs once it has morphed from a tadpole? I am feeding the tadpoles boiled lettuce leaves and fish flakes, but notice that our newly formed frog doesn't go back into the water to feed. What do I need to do? Will it survive on it... - view

Can you suggest ways of keeping mosquito larvae out of my tadpole pond, or preventing them from getting there in the first place? - view

can't seem to get the sounds running from your web site. - view

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Did you know?

Australia has some 27 species of varanids or Goannas.  This is about half of all the known species in the world.