Jacky Lizard Amphibolurus muricatus


The Jacky Lizard (also known as the Jacky Dragon or the Tree Dragon) belongs to a large genus of Australian Dragon lizards. It is pale grey to dark brown in colour with black patches along the middle of the back and two paler stripes on either side of these two dark patches.

Tree Dragon or Jacky Lizard

Jacky Lizard, Amphibolurus muricatus
Photographer: Peter Robinson / Source: Wildlife Profiles

All members of the genus Amphibolurus have very variable scales, but the Jacky Lizard has particularly large and prominent scales along its back in rows from the neck to the base of the tail and spiny scales on the sides of the neck. Jacky Lizards have a snout-vent length of about 100 millimetres and can weighs up to 60 grams. The tail is very long (up to about 200 millimetres) and the lining of the mouth is bright yellow.

Tree Dragon or Jacky Lizard

Jacky Lizard, Amphibolurus muricatus
Photographer: Peter Robinson. Source: Wildlife Profiles.

Biology and other information

Jacky Lizards feed on insects and other small creatures (arthropods). Males usually have a larger head than females. Jacky Lizards show crypsis in their appearance. This means they disguise their body outline by colouring (a form of camouflage).

Adult females probably breed every summer and may have 3-9 eggs. These eggs are laid in shallow burrows and the sex of the young is partly determined by the nest temperature.

The lizard (like many reptiles) is dependent on sunlight to raise body temperature for normal activity.

Distribution and Habitat

Jacky Lizards are found throughout south-eastern Australia from South Australia to south-eastern Queensland. They are mainly found along the coast and ranges in dry sclerophyll, rocky ridges and coastal heathlands. They may be seen most readily in areas of low vegetation.

The distribution of the Jacky Lizard in Victoria
Source: Museum Victoria (www.museum.vic.gov.au/bioinformatics)

Further Reading

Cogger H. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia.  Reed Books.

Wilson S. & Swan G. 2003. Reptiles of Australia. Princeton University Press.

Comments (128)

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Tom 24 March, 2009 01:36
This is the best page ever
Aidan 11 May, 2015 09:32
Hi, I was wondering if I could buy a reptile license after getting the lizards? Thanks
Darcy 21 August, 2009 21:45
Thanks for this, I just bought a Jacky Lizard and his name is Jacko.
occy 5 January, 2013 08:52
i have one its name is jack jack
Lily 1 April, 2013 23:06
Mine is named Stephano
william 5 October, 2009 11:52
How many times a week should i feed a juvinille jacky lizard with mediums sized crickets
Discovery Centre 8 October, 2009 15:02

Hi William, two to three times a week would be ok but young growing lizards could be fed as often as they’ll eat. Therefore the lizard could be offered food every day. The critical thing is that the crickets are dusted with calcium powder,and the lizard is provided with a suitable level of UV. If not, bone growth deformities may result. Reptile UV lights can be purchased through most pet shops which deal with reptiles.

Christine Lynch 31 October, 2009 09:53
Thanks for the pictures & information; it just helped me identify a lizard the children found at my Childcare Centre yesterday. They were quite excited. One of the girls caught it. We observed, photographed & let it go. Now I can let them know what he was.
kora 2 November, 2009 09:28
What do they mostly eat and are you allowed to keep them as pets.
Discovery Centre 2 November, 2009 15:22

Hi Kora,

As you'll see from the infosheet above, and the previous comments, the Jacky Lizard eats insects. Jacky Lizards may be kept as pets if you hold a Basic Wildlife License, and more information about that can be found at the Department of Sustainability and Environment. A reputable breeder can give you more detailed information about the needs of your pet!

jess 5 November, 2009 19:00
Hi i would like to know how long it takes for their eggs to hatch (jacky dragons) thanks
John Higgins 3 December, 2009 14:11
We have a sizeable population of Jackies on our property (a winery at Avoca Vic). This spring, I was raking up rubbish to burn and uncovered a Jacky. Because it was so cold, I thought it better that I take him inside the house to keep warm before I let him go again. He set up house on the computer modem where he could keep warm. Now, he roams the house, patrolling the windows to grab flies. What I find remarkable is that he actually comes up to people to be picked up, should he want a drink or wants to be taken to other rooms to check out the flies. I didn't realise they were so intelligent.
jack 29 December, 2009 20:43
how do i tell if my jacky lizzard is a boy or a girl
Kane 18 November, 2012 09:09
Male Jacky's will have a bigger more triangle head
Joshua 9 January, 2010 13:53
what do jackie lizards eat ?
Discovery Centre 11 January, 2010 12:45

Hi Joshua, Jacky Lizards eat insects.  Have a look at the post above, you will find details about their eating habits and keeping them as pets.

Ing and Glen 31 January, 2010 19:02
Today my husband and I discovered that we have 2 jacky lizards in our suburban garden. As they seem quite friendly we were wondering if they generally have a friendly nature or if they are an aggressive lizard.
Discovery Centre 2 February, 2010 16:40
Hi Inge and Glen. The Jacky Dragon Lizards you have found are known to make aggressive display movements between males over territory. We have no information that they are aggressive to humans. Information on their visual signalling behaviour can be found at Macquarie University's website.
Laura 15 February, 2010 14:00

Hi all, recently being visted by a baby lizard. Trying to figure out the species, I think based on photos its a Jacky but unsure, heres a photo of the little guy, this is driving me mad! http://tinyurl.com/yhex3t5 Thanks

Discovery Centre 16 February, 2010 12:00

Hi there Laura. We referred your query to our Curator for Herpetology. She noted it is hard to identify the lizard hard to tell from the photo: “a lot of juvenile agamid lizards can look the same. If it has a row of small spines along each side of its body and a row of small spines across the back of its head and grey oval-shaped patterns on its tummy, it could also be a baby bearded dragon”. If you are able to take additional photos of the lizard or provide information about where you saw it you are most welcome to make a formal identification enquiry. Prior to sending us your enquiry, please read our identification guidelines.

Makman 1 November, 2016 22:13
The mountain dragon also looks very similar, we used to have both kinds in the Strathbogie ranges in Victoria, they were all over the place. Up until now, I didn't know the difference between Mountain dragons and Jackies, but know I do.
Joel 15 March, 2010 21:44
Hi all, i recently came across a very small lizard similar to Lauras picture, as you have said it is hard to distinquish what species it is based on how snall it is at this stage, im confident its a jacky lizard based on the location i found it, i have read previous posts on what they eat, my question is when they are this small is the food the same and do they require any other additional foods etc as a juvenile to grow heathly, also what types of substate and plants would you recommend for the enclosure ?, much appreciated, cheers, joel. PS his name is chan, derived from jacky chan :)
Discovery Centre 16 March, 2010 14:53

Hi Joel. What a great name for a Jacky Lizard! Unfortunately it is not legal to keep wild caught animals such as these and you should release the lizard where you found it. If you do want to keep a Jacky Lizard as a pet you can buy one from a breeder, who can also give you more detailed information about the needs of your pet. You also need to obtain a Basic Wildlife License. More information about that can be found at the Department of Sustainability and Environment.

Daniel 20 March, 2010 00:06
Hi there, We were kayaking in the yarra today, and we saw a lizard that looks not unlike this one. It must have been 30-40cms long. I took a bad photo of it before it swam away. Is it likely that it was a jacky? Do they normally sit in the water (this one was leaning on a stick).
Discovery Centre 22 March, 2010 13:14

Hi Daniel - Museum Victoria does offer a free identification service. Please send us your identification enquiry about the lizard you saw when kayaking here. You can attach the image you took and, prior to sending us your enquiry, please read our identification guidelines.

Ren 25 March, 2010 14:30
My friend is having trouble with their baby jacky..it wont eat. they tried giving him crickets and meal worms..any insight or suggestions??
Discovery Centre 26 March, 2010 12:28

Hi Ren,

According to our Live Exhibits folk, the first thing to check is that the enclosure temperatures are ok. There should be a gradient of temperature too, i.e. a cool end and a warm end. During the day, the cool end should be in the low 20s, and the warm end under a heat lamp should be around 30 degrees.  If the living conditions are all ok and it still isn’t eating it is time to get vet advice.

joel 28 March, 2010 20:55
Thanks guys for your feedback, after obtaining the little guy from the wild and receiving your feedback i let the little guy go, as i want to go through the right channels, appreciate your immediate response so he wasnt away from his natural habitat for too long, im currently obtaining a basic license so i can do it the right way and the breeder i have contacted seems to have a wide variety so its worked out well, cheers again.
carmen 15 April, 2010 21:49
My husband and I run and own a retail plant nursery near goulburn and we have a large number of jacky lizards and they scare us to bits we think at first glance they are snakes. Or do they keep snakes away. We have large and small jackys. cheers
Discovery Centre 17 April, 2010 11:59

Hi Carman, you are very lucky to have a healthy population of Jacky Lizards –  it indicates that you have a nice little eco-system in the nursery. Jacky lizards however, would play no part at all in keeping snakes away, in fact many snakes would eat them so they would be more of an attractant than a deterrent

Koda 16 June, 2010 22:53
Hey, I was wondering does a Jacky need a Uv light or does he get enough light from being in the Sun all day Because in the wild they do not have lights. Correct!! Well my Jackie goes in his inside inclosure at night and i put him out in his outside enclosure in the sun as soon as its warm enough.. He is so Calm he lets me handle him and he even sits on my Shoulder when i decide to go out.. I even put him down on the Grass and let him roam and he comes back.. I love him he is better then a dog i reckon.. I feed him crickets, worms, Flies and Mince he really likes the Mince but i was wondering is it good for him or will it do harm?? Thank you
Discovery Centre 21 June, 2010 10:10

Hi Koda - Thanks for your question. We would advise to be careful with the amount of mince your Jacky is fed – Mince it has a much higher  fat content than most of the food Jacky Lizards would naturally eat. It could cause obesity and other problems over time. Maybe just stick with the insects as food, and if you really want to give it mince on do so once a fortnight as a treat.

helena 7 July, 2010 22:26
hi i have a jacky from the wild i had to take it cause my dog got it and i did not want to just leave it there. i have had it since summer. as it is fine now am i able to release it back to the wild or is there someone i can give it to. i have it in the right cage with the right lighting but i will feel better if it was back in the wild. so should i release it back or hand it into someone. i think it wants its freedom back now. what should i do and when should i do it.
Discovery Centre 10 July, 2010 11:52

Hi Helena, it is best not to release it at this time of year – it would not do well. You could either hold onto it until the weather warms up in spring and then release it near where it came from, or hand it over to a licenced wildlife carer. This link helps locate various carers within regions across Australia.



brook shore 26 September, 2010 11:32
what do they eat?
Discovery Centre 28 September, 2010 10:42
Hi Brook - If you have a read of the infosheet, or of the previous comment thread, you'll find your question answered above!
ronan waters 7 October, 2010 14:01
We would like to know hw to sex the Jacky lizard.
Discovery Centre 8 October, 2010 12:44

Hi Fiona, the best way to sex a Jacky Dragon is to look on the underside of the body between the hind legs. Males have visible pores there that they use to scent with. These pores excrete a waxlike material that they leave a trail of. The other way males are different from females is that you can observe a swelling at the base of the tail where the hemipenes are bulging, although to recognise this sexual difference it is often better to have one of each sex to compare.

Sheila Rowland 8 October, 2010 14:18
I keep reading that the Jacky Lizard is only 10cm long. However, I have a wild one living among rocks near my front door. Having photographed him many times in front of a brick wall he seems to be about 8 inches long. with a tail about twice as long. Is there any way I can send a pic so that you can see?
Discovery Centre 8 October, 2010 16:09
Hi Sheila, if you click the 'Ask the Experts' link on the left of the title of this infosheet, then click  'Identifications' you can send us an image.
Katie 22 October, 2010 12:20
hi I have Jacky lizards all thru my yard they are really sweet. my cat is always catching them and my 5 year old son likes saving them from the cat, we are just wondering if they bite and if they do if they could do some damage to my son fingers or hands. thanx
Simon 25 October, 2010 17:52
I enjoy photographing small wild animals including lizards and photographed a very young juvenile dragon lizard from the Otways heath. According to the species list at http://www.speakingoftheotways.net/fauna/reptiles.php, it may be a jacky lizard or mountain dragon as there are just two kinds of dragon lizard listed, but aside from seeing the inside of its mouth, is there any way to distinguish them without having to chase down and catch them? (It would defeat the purpose of photography if I scared my subject away!)
Discovery Centre 26 October, 2010 16:04
Hi Simon! Our herpetology curator says: The Jacky Lizard has longer tail and rear legs in proportion to its body size. Also the Mountain Dragon has a row of a few enlarged spines on either side of its tail, just behind its back legs. These are the best ways of telling them apart without catching them. In my experience,  if you see the lizard perched up of the ground on a large log it is probably a Jacky Lizard – the Mountain Dragons tend to stick to closer to the ground, only perching around 20cm of the ground at most (usually). However, of course you also see Jacky lizards wandering around on the ground.
shannon 31 October, 2010 13:26
hey um my female jacky laid 7 eggs how many days do they take to hatch ??????????
Discovery Centre 4 November, 2010 16:10

Hi Shannon, It would be dependent on incubation temperature. For bearded dragon eggs incubated at 28 degrees you might expect them to hatch in about 55-60 days. Hope this helps.

Discovery Centre 15 November, 2010 14:02

Hi Katie - Jacky Dragons do have the potential to bite – they are a predator and their bite is strong enough to break the skin so you do have to be a little careful. The best thing for the lizards, and your son, is to try to stop your cat from getting to the lizards. They are great wildlife to have around the place.

tasha 16 November, 2010 12:18
my female jacky just laid 2 eggs and her stomic is still biggg dose she have more eggs or is that just her body fat????
Discovery Centre 19 November, 2010 14:31

Hi Tasha,


Your Jacky Lizard may well have more eggs inside her that need to be laid, or she is just a lizard that is in very good condition. Make sure that she has some substrate (dirt and sand) that she can dig into to lay eggs if she needs to. As long as you provide the right conditions to lay the eggs hopefully she will have no problems. If you find that she goes off her food and is uninterested in basking and feeding possibly you may have a problem and a visit to the vet may be warranted. Sometimes lizards can become egg bound – where an egg gets stuck in the body for some reason – this is quite unlikely but is worth considering if her health starts to fail.

Discovery Centre 22 January, 2011 11:51
Hi Liz - we checked with our herpetology experts on this one, and the info we have is that they haven't seen one do it, but it is common in closely related species. I wouldn't be surprised if they could run on their back legs when really wanting to escape - I have seen the closely related Gilberts Dragon (Amphibolurus gilberti) running on their back legs, but we don't know of any photos of jacky lizards running on their back legs.
Discovery Centre 17 March, 2011 16:13

Hi Roland,

We’d be happy to see the photos if you send them through to us. Please send them to the Discovery Centre. Thanks!

kimmie 17 December, 2010 08:21
hi..me and my partner bought 2 jacky dragons from a reptile shop about 2weeks ago, we got them a week apart from eachother, im not sure of the sex, i would like to know how to tell, because i want them to have babies...also they fight alot, this is why i think they might both be boys, but my partner disagrees....thanx
dusty 17 December, 2010 23:06
We've got plenty of Jacky lizards here just east of Canberra that we are on a first name basis with..they're all called "Jacky". And one particular 2yo male jacky with a shortened tail that shoots out of the bushes and runs across the grass up to the side of the ride-on mower deck with the blades spinning and motor roaring. There is a bit of a size difference between combatants so jacky's must rate themselves pretty highly. He's a funny little creature displaying his energetic moves and leaping off rocks and travels at least 100 meters away from the house for what must be a long distance for a small lizard but always returns to the same spot eventually. They seem to be right at home living in close proximity to human habitation and we don't have any cats or dogs to harm them so they are quite at ease with us getting to within 50cm or so. Jacky's are good lizards to have around with no reason to fear them whatsoever and I dont think they would attract snakes...snakes are more likely to be just travelling through unless you have snake habitat or rats and mice nests that will attract and keep around 1000 times more snakes than any lightning fast jacky lizard would as a snake snack. We rate the Jacky along with the Shingleback lizards as some of Australia's best creatures of the bush around here and are always welcome to come and go.
krystal-lee 19 December, 2010 16:58
i have a large female and a small male the female is pregnany and the male in the tank is not the daddy to them so just wondering if i should seperate them or not they seem to get along fine but im worried because he was there first for bout a year n she came along and im scared she might hurt hium or he might eat her eggs or even if he gets all teritorial on her n hurts them plz get bak to me asap!! :P
Discovery Centre 21 December, 2010 12:52

Hi Krystal-Lee, housing lizards like yours you do need to be a little careful in a shared enclosure. If your female was not gravid I would recommend that you provide adequate perching spaces and basking sites so they are not competing for the same one spot to warm up. Since you are waiting for your female to lay eggs it may be a good idea to separate her so she can have some peace and quiet to settle and lay those eggs.

Discovery Centre 21 December, 2010 13:11

Hi Kimmie,  it is not always 100% correct but in general male lizards have larger pores around their anal region. These are located on the underside of the animal around the lower limbs. To reduce the stress of them both living together make sure you provide adequate perching space so they can both be comfortable in the basking site without being in each others way.

Alison 1 January, 2011 21:42
My female Jacky Dragon is Gravid, should I look at getting an incubator to help the eggs or should I leave it up to her to incubate them herself; if so what substrate should I be providing for her to help her along? Should I seperate the male and female into different tanks through her pregnancy? and how will I know when she is about to lay the eggs?
Liz 19 January, 2011 19:35
We sometimes see a lizard that could be a Jacky Lizard, runing across our track on its 2 hind legs. Can you tell me if this is common? and are there any pictures of this lizard running on 2 legs?
jaxon 3 February, 2011 12:06
what do i do with jacky lizard eggs
Daniel and Ashley 3 February, 2011 12:34
Hi guys we have 4 Jacky dragons and on our bush walks we have witnessed wild jacky's running out from the tracks on there hind legs we were shocked to see just how far they manage to run like this.also we have witnessed them running across short distances Of water they seem to be running across the top of the Water.
KODI 5 February, 2011 23:31
Hey mate look i have 5 baby jackys and i dont know when they will hatch can u help me out
Discovery Centre 9 February, 2011 12:00

Hi Alison, You'll need to artificially incubate the eggs. The male should be fine kept with the female during this period however if he is still trying to mate with her and causing any stress he should be removed. Firstly you need to provide the female with a laying site, this can be an ice cream container or equivalent with a small entry hole cut into it. Have the container filled with either moist (not too wet just moist) coco peat or sand, or a mix of both works well. Keep an eye on her, she will be close to laying when she starts digging in the container. When she lays the eggs she will bury them, gently dig them up with a spoon, take as much time as you can as they're a soft shelled egg that is very easy to damage. It's important never to rotate the eggs, this could kill them as the embryo must develope with the air bubble at the top of the egg (if it is turned it will drown). An easy way to ensure they're not rotated is to mark the top of each egg with a soft grey lead pencil. Eggs are most commonly incubated in perlite or vermiculite, these are minerals that hold moisture pretty well. They can be purchased from hydroponic shops or sometimes specialist reptile petshops. It can be hard to find so try and get some asap so you are ready when the eggs are layed. Set up a tub about 1/3 full of the substrate (perlite or vermiculite) but first weight the substrate and add the same weight of boiled water. So there is a 1:1 ratio of substrate to water by weight. Then your tub is ready for the eggs, when transfering the eggs make an indentation with your finger for the eggs to sit in. The eggs then need to be kept at about 30 degrees celsius to hatch. If you want to do more research into dragon breeding, there are plenty of online resources for bearded dragons (which can also be applied to jacky dragons), just try googling bearded dragon care sheets.

Roland 13 March, 2011 17:26
Hi Discovery Centre, I came across a Tree Dragon at St Andrews yesterday, and Jacky allowed me to take a few photos. Jacky seemed quite unperturbed by the attention, then suddenly dashed off a few metres and immediately returned to the same spot munching a grasshopper. That gave me a look at the yellow interior of her mouth, though I was too slow to get a picture of that. Would you be interested in a photo? Regards, Roland
miro 27 March, 2011 15:15
jacky lizards are very playful!!
Nick Wasko 24 April, 2011 06:52
This applies to all reptiles, those artificial lights for all reptiles, never match an hour a day minimum of real sunshine or more, like my two tortoises get everyday, night they go in the tank inside, but daytime its out, even on cloudy days to get the natural UV. So many vets tell me tortoises in artificial lights often get sick, ones outside, well, my mate Stumpy is over thirty and still going and Turton is already over eight both come up A1 at all vet visits. Nothing beats natural sun.
Emi 30 April, 2011 14:55
I have a lizard and i don't know if it is a jacky lizard or not it is a dark brown colour and has light brown spots on it and it is quite small and its skins quite rough, and i can't tell if it is a female or a male, and if it is a female i'll call it Sammy and if it is a male i'll call it Spike!
Jonathan 17 May, 2011 18:01
hi guys I have a problem and would appreiate it if somone could help me out My Jacky lizard today did a poop and saw that there was a small and skinnny worm, does anyone no what this could be and what to do and would this behaps parasite or so be effecting my other jackys Thanks Jonathan.
Discovery Centre 20 May, 2011 13:12

Hi Jonathon, the worm you observed could be a parasitic worm. They can have impacts on the health of your lizard, just like intestinal worms can have on humans. The best thing to do is to keep the sample of poo and get it to a vet who can do what is called a ‘faecal float’, they do this to determine the types of parasites that are living in your animals system. Once they know the species they can work out if it is dangerous for your Jacky and whether treatment is required. If you do need to treat the animals for parasites you will have to treat the whole population as the others will possibly have the parasite as well.

Here at the museum one thing we always do to try to minimise parasites is removed any poo from the enclosure as soon as it is noticed. This minimises the chances that parasites will be given a chance to establish, as the lizards won’t accidently eat their own poo, or feed crickets and cockroaches.

Brad 24 July, 2011 14:11
I have a Jacky Dragon. It's still young, I don't know what sex it is. But in the last week it's been acting strange, ever since I moved it into it's new tank. It's not as lively. At first I thought it was just shock from the move, but after a week I realised that that can't be right. I've taken it out, I've held it, every day. I've fed it lettuce with water on it, I've offered it crickets but they died, in time. Today I went to pick him up again and at first he was normal, seemed normal at the least. So I did the thing I always do, took him to the bathroom, ran the tap, watered down some lettuce, and it opened it's mouth as if to say 'back off' so I let water drip in it's mouth, and it drank it. He then had a nibble of the lettuce. I did realise something abnormal of it. It's head was sticking up as high as it would go. And instead of running, it wriggled, back and fourth.. This is scaring me because I love it to bits, it's so cute and fun to play with. But.. I'm so scared for it. Also.. It's got a heat pad, it's got a UV light. I've fed it crickets ever since I got it. Lettuce included, it's got two sticks it can run up and sit on, the UV light on all day, and off all night. I attend to the tank regularly, it has a water bowl, of course. I make sure that's clean every day. I re-fill the water, every day. I'm just so scared for it. Can anyone PLEASE tell me what is wrong with it? Mum said it might be in hibernation, but, I don't believe that.
Discovery Centre 30 July, 2011 11:05

Hi Brad,

It’s hard to tell exactly what the problem with your Jacky Dragon might be. Our best suggestion is that it may be slowing down for the middle of winter and would prefer to be left alone for a period. If given the option, Jacky Dragons often take shelter for a week or two at this time of year even in captivity, then become more active as the weather outside warms up.

This might explain its reduced feeding and unusual behaviour. It might also be better to turn the heat pad off and offer an overhead basking light instead, which would give the dragon the choice of moving into or away from the warm spot as it felt the need. This is probably a better option for the longer term as well, not just during winter.

That’s all we can suggest at the moment. We hope the dragon improves rapidly, and if you’re still concerned about its health, the best way to be sure is to visit a vet.

meriel 29 November, 2011 12:00
We have a ? jacki ? nobbi lizard which keeps coming in from the paddock to the bathroom. If put outside again - back it comes. It sits on the handle of a basket and really doesnt move much except if disturbed. It will eat a mouthful of wet lettuce or broccoli if offered (not interested in insects). The room is quite well lit but not sunny and quite cool. Do I just leave it or should we move the basket its on into the sun for more UV - try putting it back outside??
Jayden 17 December, 2011 18:38
Hi i have 2 jackys 1 is about 2 months old and the other is about 2years the little one hase bright yellow stipes and a pink flushed tail and the eldest is just grey with lighter grey patterns on it does this colouration have anything to do with the sex of the lizard
Mat 6 January, 2012 19:46
wazzupp i really need a exact answer on this cause ive been literaly surfing the web for this and still nothing i wold like to know how long a jacky lives for and how big they grow (aprox)plezzzzz answer and i allso need a symple way to tell thier sex but dont worry ive got an advance licence
Discovery Centre 7 January, 2012 12:19

Hi Mat,

The Jacky Lizard can grow to approximately 300mm in length (this is including the tail).

  • Snout-vent length: 100 mm (range 72 mm to 117 mm) – This is from the tip of its nose to the beginning of the tail.
  • Tail length: approx. twice snout-vent length (approximately 200 mm)
  • Mass: 30 g (up to 67 g)

In regards to identifying the difference between males and females, the following website will assist you: http://en.allexperts.com/q/Reptiles-704/jackie-lizards.htm. Also, some of the comments by the Discovery Centre above have further explanations of identifying the sex of Jacky Lizards.

The Jacky Lizard has a lifespan of up to 6-7 years.

tyler 6 February, 2012 13:39
hey i have a jacky lizard and i have had her for 5 months now but i have recently notice that she is starting to white patches on top of her head and little bits one her back what does this mean?
Discovery Centre 8 February, 2012 12:19

Hi Tyler, the staff in the Museum's Live Exhibits Department have said they suspect she may be starting to moult, but could only confirm this if you were able to send some photos. You are welcome to take some images and email them to discoverycentre@museum.vic.gov.au

Steph 8 February, 2012 23:12
Can you please tell me approximately how long it takes a Jackie Dragon to reach full size? Also, do they like to be alone or to have a second dragon or more in a tank with them? (If they like company, does it matter if they are the same or opposite sex?)Thanks!
Discovery Centre 10 February, 2012 11:43
Hi Steph, In captivity Jacky Dragons can reach adult size in 12 months if kept in optimal conditions. This is compared to 2 – 3 years in the wild. They are generally solitary though they can be maintained in small colonies consisting of one male and several females. If more than one male is housed together then fighting will occur. Females will usually tolerate each other's company.
sam 26 March, 2012 17:50
if i use an exo-terra 50w infrared heat glo lamp in my 2 foot tank will she like it or not?will it harm her?and also will a 2 foot tank be an alright size for him..and how do i tell if she is actually a female?...cheers
Discovery Centre 30 March, 2012 11:12

Hi Sam,

A two foot tank is probably just large enough for a Jacky dragon, but the lizard may be too hot with that much lighting. A 30w or 40w (preferably 30w) would be better than the 50w. The light should be in a corner of the tank so the lizard is able to move away from it, and it should be used as a basking light rather than a viewing light (i.e. only on for a certain period of the day). The lizard's behaviour should give you and indication - if it hides away when the light is on, it might mean it's too hot. If it comes out and sits under the basking light, it should be just right.

And remember that at this time of year the lizards are cooling down for winter and not getting as much sun as earlier in the year.

Male and female head size and shape is identical in Jacky dragons and the only way to tell the difference between sexes are the pre-anal pores on the insides of the thighs on the hind legs. You'll probably need to search 'pre-anal pores' online to get an idea of what to look for. Males have four pre-anal pores, females none.


sam 29 March, 2012 11:33
o and i forgot to mention it is a baby jacky dragon only a couple of weeks old
klobasaurus ldi 2 April, 2012 12:35
hi i have a baby jacky dragon that is approximately 14 cm long from it snout to the tip of its tail i was wondering how old it would be ,,,also how do i telll the sex of a lizard this small....another question ...i have a bearded dragon that is approximately 38cm long from its snout to the tip of its tail how old would it be and how do i tell the sex of it?
klobasaurus ldi 4 April, 2012 15:02
and also if i put the beardy in with the baby jacky dragon will it eat it or kill it?
fred fredrickson 8 April, 2012 08:35
hi i was just wondering if you could answer klobasaurus's question because i am in a similar situation
Discovery Centre 8 April, 2012 10:34
Hi Fred, the questions from Klobasaurus have been sent to our Live Exhibits Department. As soon as we hear back from them we will post their answer online, so keep checking into this page.
Discovery Centre 9 April, 2012 10:26
Hi Klobasaurus, without knowing the keeping history of the animals involved, it would be impossible to guess the age of either lizard. Growth rates in reptiles are extremely varied and rely on food intake, temperature and other factors such as whether the lizard cooled over winter.

The Jacky dragon is too small to sex but the Bearded dragon should be fairly straightforward. In adults the best indication is the size of the femoral pores (a row of pores running along the underside of the rear leg). These are quite obvious and large in adult males but are quite small on females. If you search 'femoral pores' on the internet it will give you a good indication of what to look for.

Discovery Centre 9 April, 2012 10:29

Hi Klobasaurus, about 80% of the diet of Bearded Dragons in the wild is animal prey. This is mostly insects, but also includes small rodents and other lizards. If the size difference between your Bearded Dragon and Jacky Lizard is significant, it would be safest not to house them together.

Steve 15 August, 2012 20:53
Klobasaurus, I am a local breeder in the Queanbeyan region and breed these two species of lizards and the Jacky Lizard hatchling should not be mixed in with a Bearded Dragon. The reason is that a Bearded Dragon will grow 4 times the size of a Jacky Lashtail and it is also a Omnivore, its sight is not 100% and it relies on it natural senses given by its oversized ears. These ears will pick up vibrations and when a much smaller animal was to run past a Bearded Dragon it will strike without thinking. Thus meaning these two species are not compatible. But in saying that, the Pygmy Bearded Dragon is ok to mix with Jackies as they are Much Smaller than the Bearded Dragon and not much different in size to the Jacky Lizard. Hope this information has helped.
Katie 15 June, 2012 20:19
Hi My Jacky Dragons tail has a big cut and im afraid its gonna fall off. What should I do
Discovery Centre 18 June, 2012 09:47

Hello Katie

Dragons do not voluntarily drop their tails or regrow them as some skink species do, so a cut on the tail can be a serious health issue. If you're concerned about it you should take the dragon to a vet. Your local vet may be able to treat it or refer you to a vet that specialises in reptiles

Rebecca 13 September, 2012 15:32
Hi, We have a wild Jacky Dragon up near Sydney that was being cornered by a relative's cat and we were wondering when is the best time to release it. It was caught on a warm and sunny day yet the weather has taken a cold turn with temperatures of about 10 degress and it is quite wet, so we were wondering whether we should keep it inside in an old aquarium with a heat source at one end until the weather warms up or let it go now when it's still quite cold. The lizard is warm and active at the moment, and has been provided with branches to climb on and we are planning on buying some live crickets to feed it unless we release it today, so it is being looked after as well as we can without having a fully set up terrarium, but we do not want to keep it any longer than we have too, it's an adorable little creature but it is illegal to keep it, we would much rather get a reptile licence and purchase a captive bred lizard.
Discovery Centre 13 September, 2012 16:27

Hello Rebecca,

It’s good that you thought of the dragon’s welfare when considering its release. It’s not a good idea to release the Jacky Dragon when the temperature is too low, as it might not have the energy to find suitable shelter. You can let it go when the outside temperature reaches 20 degrees  - until then it sounds like you’re looking after it well.

Rebecca 15 September, 2012 14:52
It got quite warm where I live this afternoon, so I took the Jacky Dragon down to the very back end of my property and put him on a log in the sun. It is a good area with plenty of native woodland nearby and good ground cover for our little friend to run around in, much better than the tiny open backyard with two cats where we found the little fellow. Everyone in the family loved the little guy, so I am applying for a reptile licence and I am going to purchase a captive bred lizard soon, probably either a Jacky Dragon or a Pygmy Bearded Dragon. Thank you so much for your help, I think the little lizard will be quite happy in the dry forests behind our property.
Shaina 30 September, 2012 20:26
my Jacky lizard is hardly moving for about 2 weeks now and he isn't opening his eyes. He is still alive because when I pick him up he moves his legs a little. But he is not trying to run away like normal. What could be wrong?
Discovery Centre 1 October, 2012 14:52

Hello Shaina,


Jacky Lizards may be kept as pets if you hold a Basic Wildlife License, and more information about that can be found at the Department of Sustainability and Environment. A reputable breeder can give you more detailed information about the needs of your pet.


It is difficult for us to say what might be wrong with you lizard. We suggest you take your Lizard to a vet for consultation.


Chris 24 October, 2012 07:21
Hi, I would like to know how common Jacki's are in Melbourne? I have lived next to Lysterfield Park in Lysterfield South for over 20 years and never seen one (locally) until last night when there was one running around my bush garden. Cheers,
Discovery Centre 3 November, 2012 13:03

Hi Chris,

Jacky Lizards are found widely and are not endangered. You might be interested in checking out Museum Victoria’s bioinformatics page – this site contains lots of information including distribution maps on Victorian lizards including the Jacky Lizard

Peter 24 February, 2013 22:15
I saw a Jacky Lizard in the Plenty Gorge National Park near me.When disturbed it ran upright.
joel fletcher 12 March, 2013 15:39
wats the best temp to keep my jackie lizards at?? i have them at 25- 30 depends on the day outside,
jayden 2 June, 2013 20:36
hi that is the best info i caught a baby jackie jack and his name is bullet
Wendy 31 October, 2013 21:04
I have Jackie running around my garden there are 3 of them living here they are very friendly and follow my husband and my self around we love them I call one of them my boy friend but I am not sure if it is male or female it loves to be sprayed with the hose
Kim 28 November, 2013 20:03
Hi guys, great info thanks! I am currently setting up a 3 foot tank for my first ever Jacky. I am just struggling to find the correct info on heating. I have purchased a 60 watt ceramic heat lamp (under guidance from where I am purchasing the Jacky) but I am unsure if I am meant run this with a thermostat? Also should I set the heat lamp on a timer and if so between what hours of the day should it be left on? Any info would be greatly appreciated thanks.
Discovery Centre 30 November, 2013 12:40
Hi Kim, have you seen the replies to Ren on the 26th March, 2010 and Sam on the 30th March, 2012. Do these answer your question? 
Zac 2 January, 2014 22:45
Hi I have a jacky dragon and I also have marble geckos just wondering if they can share an enclosure?
Discovery Centre 6 January, 2014 14:36

Hi Zac,

There are few if any reports of Jacky Dragons (Amphibolurus muricatus) eating other lizards, but as a general rule it's not wise to house larger lizards with smaller ones, particularly small lizards of a different species. Captive animals will sometimes feed on prey that they would never feed on in the wild, simply as a function of captivity. 

maegan 26 January, 2014 19:42
hi I have two Jacky dragons and I was wondering how do you tell the difference between female ones and male ones
Discovery Centre 27 January, 2014 16:26
Hi Maegan - if you read through some previous responses, you'll find a couple of answers to the question of differentiating the sexes of Jacky dragons. Best of luck!
Diane 7 February, 2014 18:30
Jacky lizards are common on our 5 acres of sand dune coastal scrub at Cape Schanck, Southern Victoria. If we walk past them when they are sunbathing, they tear off into the scrub. At the end of November, I realised a female was egg laying in our gravel & sand driveway. Like a beach tortoise, she seemed in a trance & remained still while she laid. Photos show at least 8 eggs. I watch the spot every day & after 2 months there is no sign of hatchlings. It worries me to see ants & a burrowing beetle going in & out of the site. I wonder if this means the eggs didn't survive & insects are using them as a food source? I am tempted to dig the area to investigate. Is there not any precise way of knowing the incubation period?
Discovery Centre 15 February, 2014 12:19
Hi Diane, Jacky Dragon (Amphibolurus muricatus) eggs take between 37-107 days to hatch, depending on temperature - the higher the temperature, the quicker they hatch. Temperature also determines sex; a combination of the daily and seasonal temperatures, their average, variation and extremes changing the ratio of males to females. Females don't always pick the best location to lay their eggs, particularly in urban and suburban environments, and in this case the eggs may have not have hatched, a possibility backed up by the fact that ants and beetles are going in and out.
Brett 26 February, 2014 13:50
My Son came home with what he thought was a juvenile Bearded Dragon. 3 Months on now he shows no signs of a beared or spicks along it's sides, I believe it could be a Jackie because of his yellow mouth and marking. We live near Mackay in the Whitsundays Start of Nth Qld. Who can I send some pics to positively identify this little fellow. Thanks , Brett
Discovery Centre 1 March, 2014 11:26
Hi Brett - you're welcome to send a photo to us to forward on to our herpetology staff for identification (discoverycentre@museum.vic.gov.au), or you might like to contact the Queensland Museum's enquiries service. Please be aware that laws about collecting reptiles (and all animals) from the wild may apply in your state.
Tom 29 May, 2014 14:36
I have 2 jackie dragons, just wondering if both can stay in the same tank?
Discovery Centre 31 May, 2014 10:36
Hi Tom, if the Jacky Dragons (Amphibolurus muricatus) are both male, they will quickly begin territorial fights and do harm to each other. If they are both female or are a pair, they will get on fine but in the latter case you may end up with eggs.
Allan Zapo 2 July, 2014 19:41
Hi me and my family have a big probliem with our jacky dragon that we hav to hand feed him is this normal he has been active and all he does is sleep and he might move about 5 inchs then sleeps again dont know wats wrong with him plz help me thanks
Discovery Centre 7 July, 2014 10:33

Hey Allan,

Without extra heating at this time of year, reptiles will slow down and don’t require much food at all. With no heating they will go into hibernation (brumation) and cease all activity (including eating) until spring. Reptiles need to brumate on an empty stomach, otherwise food will sit in the digestive system for several months without being properly digested, causing the food to turn rancid with negative (possibly fatal) effects on the animal. If your lizard is generally in good health and otherwise eats well, you can turn its heating off and allow it to brumate as Jacky Dragons naturally do in the wild.


samara 31 July, 2014 13:51
was just wondering how long are they pregnant for
Discovery Centre 10 August, 2014 16:30

Hi Samara,

The gestation period - ie the time between mating and egg laying - is 4-6 weeks in this species.

The incubation period for Jacky Dragon eggs depends on temperature - at about 28 degrees Celsius the eggs take 55-60 days to hatch. The temperature also determines the sex of the hatchlings, with males being produced at temperatures of 20-25 degrees, and females above and below these temperatures.

jerry 17 October, 2014 20:39
there is this reptile that crawls out of the bushes in our farm. it looks like ur jacky but I dnt kno. it doest seem friendly at all. cos it always runs under d bush when you approach. what do I do? pls get back to me. thanks
Discovery Centre 18 October, 2014 13:53
Hi Jerry, If you can get a photo of the reptile, you're welcome to email it to discoverycentre@museum.vic.gov.au together with your location for identification.
Julian 22 October, 2014 22:57
Hi I've got a jacky lizard had him for about 3 years old but he has decided not to eat getting skinny and starting to drag he's back legs and I find him a the Botton of the cage on he's back turn him or he struggles to run off
Discovery Centre 27 October, 2014 13:51

Hi Julian - our Live Exhibits manager says that the most likely problem is metabolic bone disease, in which their bones degenerate due to lack of calcium or UV light. Either way it sounds like the lizard needs to be taken to the vet as soon as possible.

Heather 30 October, 2014 11:15
Hi, I have a Jacky lizard (Percy)living in my garden. I am getting dead patches of grass in my lawn about 1mt out from the garden edge (which is where Percy sits and sunbathes) . Would Percy be causing this?
Discovery Centre 1 November, 2014 12:57

Hi Heather,

Percy won't be causing these patches. They are more likely to be from domestic pets (or neighbourhood cats if you don't have any pets of your own). Lizards don't produce urine on its own, instead they excrete droppings made up of uric acid crystals along with faeces - small, compact and discrete droppings that don't kill grass.

Aidan 12 May, 2015 19:55
Hi I was wondering if I could get a jacky lizard before buying the license? thanks
Julian 6 November, 2014 19:57
Hi thanks for your help been to the vet it's not metabolic bone disease he has had a fall in the tank and hurt its spinal cord causing him to lose some function in he's back legs he's still in a lot of pain he's on calcium dust with crickets its a fifty fifty chance he will pull through this he's doing ok he's eating and moving around abit more I hope he comes good thanks again for the help :)
Ande 9 March, 2015 19:35
Saw a lizard at the You Yangs today & took a photo because it wasn't a skink which are usually the only ones I ever see. At the visitor centre I saw a leaflet about the grassland earless dragon & thought it might have been that even though the last confirmed sighting was in 1969. But checking this site it looks like i saw a mountain dragon. It was pretty relaxed catching little flying insects as I watched about 2 metres away. Very cool.
Tamara jones 1 April, 2015 21:11
Hey I have a friend who owns a jacky dragon and he has owned him for about 2 years and and hasn't had any problems till now he has recently noticed his jacky has 2 swollen eyes and underneath of the are a purplish colour and they have had a bit of pus on his eyes and he doesn't open them much anymore I was wondering if anyone on here could help me with some answer so I can tell my mate. Please and thank you
Discovery Centre 5 April, 2015 13:06

Hello Tamara - we checked with our Live Exhibits keepers, who have responded as follows: There are a number of reasons why a Jacky Dragon Amphibolurus muricatus may have swollen eyes. It may be lack of vitamin A, kidney problems or a range of infections caused by viruses or bacteria. The best option is to get the lizard to a specialist reptile vet as soon as possible.

Elizabeth Richardson 1 April, 2017 20:33
In the bush near Dixons Creek we were lucky to see a Jacky Lizard eating a skink It took about 20 minutes. Very interesting to watch - for us - not the unfortunate skink!!8
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