Reptiles are both common and protected within Whiteman Park, with 34 species having been recorded here.
It is important that visitors maintain the speed limit and remain vigilant when driving within the Park to ensure that these magnificent creatures are not injured or killed by vehicles, as they do not often move out of the way, leading to an unfortunate demise.
By far the largest of the Park’s reptile species is the Rosenberg’s monitor (Varanus rosenbergi), or kaarda as it is known in the local Noongar language. This monitor, also known as a goanna, is significantly affected by urban development, as it preys upon a variety of small native mammals, reptiles and frogs which have declined in number since human settlement. They may also scavenge scraps, allowing them a wide environmental niche. Whiteman Park is a significant refuge in suburbia for these amazing creatures.
The black-headed tree goanna (Varanus tristes) is a much smaller - and much darker - monitor spends a lot of its time hanging out on the sides of trees.
Being cold-blooded, as with other reptiles, these monitors are commonly seen basking in clearings or on roads.
One of the most common reptile species spotted in the Park is the aptly named bobtail (Tiliqua rugosa). These stubby tailed lizards are a type of blue tongued lizard and can often be seen along the Children’s Forest path that connects the Village and Mussel Pool. They feast upon a range of foods, from insects and carrion to vegetation and flowers.
King skinks (Egernia kingii), fence skinks (Cryptoblepharus plagiocephalus) and the Western blue-tongues (Tiliqua occipitalis) are also frequently spotted, again, usually basking in a warm spot on a sunny day. Approaching them quietly will allow an excellent view of their unique scale patterns.
Along the banks of Mussel Pool and around the Park’s other wetland areas, you may be lucky enough to spot one of our resident Western long necked turtles (Chelodina oblonga) on the move, or one of the females laying her eggs. This is always a special experience and Park management are keen to know the location of these nests so we can help protect them by reducing foot traffic in the area.
Snakes can be found throughout the Park, although they are typically shy and will vacate an area if disturbed.
Whiteman Park is home to six snake species in total, including the highly venomous dugite (Pseudonaja affinis) and tiger snake (Notechis scutatus). The rest are smaller species and include the intriguing black-striped snake (Neelaps calonotus) and narrow-banded shovel-nosed snake (Brachyurophis fasciolatus) that burrow into sandy areas.
(Banner) King skink, Egernia kingii