Rescue and Rehabilitation of Australian Native Animals Inc




FAQ - Reptiles and Amphibians

Reptiles and Amphibians rescue advice

With all rescues be alert to your own possible danger first.

The Far West of NSW is home to a vast array of native reptiles and amphibians, including lizards, freshwater turtles and frogs.

It is beyond the scope of our website to help in the identification of all local species however we have listed three of the more common lizards of the area.

  • Shingleback lizard – commonly known as a Sleepy, Bobtail or Bogeye
  • Bearded Dragon – sometimes mistakenly called a Frilled - neck Lizard. Frilled - neck lizards are only found in Northern Australia.
  • Gould’s Goanna – Sandy’s Goanna

Handling lizards and amphibians

If you do find yourself in a situation where it is necessary to handle a sick or injured reptile or amphibian, it is essential that you observe the following guidelines.

Wash hands thoroughly after handling any reptile or frog. If available wear powder-free disposable latex gloves, to prevent chemicals from coming into contact with them.


Many species of Skinks can drop their tails if they feel threatened so it is essential that you do not handle them by their tails. Using a pair of gloves or a small towel, cover the skink, scoop it up and place it into a secure box.

Bearded Dragons can be more difficult to handle, particularly larger individuals. Using gloves and/or a towel, you can restrain the dragon by its tail with one hand while supporting it from underneath with the other. Bearded Dragons can bite hard so always keep your fingers away from their mouth.

Remember, lizards may also scratch and some species may attempt to whip their tail.

Lace Monitors (Goannas) should only be handled by people that are confident and experienced in restraining them as they are extremely strong and quick. They have very sharp teeth and claws and can inflict extensive injuries. We recommend that sick and injured lace monitors are always referred to an experienced wildlife rescuer.

Freshwater Turtles

Freshwater Turtles are relatively easy to handle although they can bite and do have sharp claws. Some species (such as Eastern Long Necks) can also spray a nasty odour when they feel threatened.

Turtles can be picked up by placing one hand on either side of the top shell between the front and back legs and placed into a secure box.

Ensure you face the tail away from you when you first pick up a turtle as most will urinate readily.


Frogs have very delicate skin so it is important that all handling is minimised as much as possible.

It is preferable that powder-free disposable latex gloves are used when handling frogs to prevent chemicals from coming into contact with them. If you do not have gloves handle with clean, wet hands.

Sick and injured frogs can be picked up gently by cupping them in your hand and placing them immediately into a secure plastic container that has adequate ventilation.

If transporting for any period of time we recommend a moistened piece of clean, paper towel in the bottom of the container to prevent dehydration of the frog.

Why reptiles and amphibians sometimes need rescuing