Caught and Coloured: Zoology Illustrations from Colonial Victoria




Gippsland Water Dragon

McCoy debunks "Gippsland crocodile" myth, Prodromus

I name the variety or probable species after that excellent geologist, magistrate, and bushman, my accomplished friend Mr. A. Howitt, who, with his multifarious and laborious duties, in so difficult a country to traverse, is always ready and willing to aid in any scientific investigation of the natural products of Gippsland, and who with infinite difficulty succeeded in procuring three specimens for me of this River-Lizard.

The proverb that "Cows far off have long horns" is ludicrously exemplified in the case of this Lizard, which has apparently given rise to the rumors of Crocodiles having been seen in Gippsland; a country so rugged and overgrown with forests and almost impenetrable scrub that it is an extremely rare occurrence for a white man to reach the habitat in which the Physignathus is found, in the upper reaches of the Buchan River.

- Frederick McCoy


Gippsland Water Dragon
Gippsland Water Dragon, Physignathus lesuerii howittii, by Arthur Bartholomew.