Ian Jenkins

Partners for life welcome a bundle of joy

PADDINGTON and Lucy know the meaning of a long-term relationship.

But before we get into that, let's start at the beginning.

It was a cold winter's day when Paddington first set eyes on the lovely Lucy and felt his heart warm.

It was love at first sight - he knew she was the one.

As a young fellow, Paddington found himself in a bit of strife in the backyard of a Sunshine Coast property.

It was not clear the reason how or why he was there, as generations of family all lived only in the southern and western half of Australia.

This was before he was given a forever home at Childers where he was taken in, well fed and cared for. But something was missing from his life.

The lonely days didn't last - Lucy arrived 12 months later.

Now, after six years of courting, the couple welcomed their first baby on March 3.

LOVING PARENTS: A shingleback back lizard was born at Snakes Downunder Reptile Park and Zoo. Paddington (dad) and Lucy (mum) will look after the youngster until it is about 12 months old.
LOVING PARENTS: A shingleback back lizard was born at Snakes Downunder Reptile Park and Zoo. Paddington (dad) and Lucy (mum) will look after the youngster until it is about 12 months old. Ian Jenkins

Everyone knew their new arrival was coming as the herbivores both stopped eating.

Mum because she had to make room in her stomach for a baby which was one third her size at birth.

And dad because he had to keep watch and be on his toes to protect his partner.

The proud parents will be able to dote on the youngster for at least 12 months, until it reaches adolescence.

And not only are the pair madly in love, but they will stay that way - they are among the small proportion of animals that are monogamous.

In the wild they breed for life with the same partner and if one dies the other can be found by its side, mourning for some time.

Shingleback facts

  • Shinglebacks are the bulkiest of the blue-tongues.
  • Babies are born live.
  • Alternative names include the stumpy-tailed lizard, sleepy lizard, bobtail, two-headed lizard and pinecone lizard.
  • Their tail resembles the shape of the head and works to confuse predators.
  • They are highly monogamous, seeking out the same partner year after year.
  • Although the female can have one to four live young, which are rather large in comparison to mum (combined weight around 1/3 of her body weight), on average she will give birth to only one or two.
  • Shingle-back lizards are found in the southern half of Australia, except for eastern and south-eastern coastal areas. It inhabits coastal heaths, dry sclerophyll forests, mallee scrub and spinifex-dominated sandy deserts. They are diurnal and shelter under fallen timber, leaf litter, and grasses when not active.
  • Shingle-back lizards are primarily herbivorous living on a diet of flowers, berries and succulent leaves, however they will opportunistically consume insects and carrion.


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