Happy Australia Day everyone! We really hope you can spare a minute away from the barbeque, footy or fireworks to celebrate some of our favourite animal inhabitants of Australia.

Australia supports one of the largest collections of the Earth’s species! A fact not so hard to imagine when you consider it’s diverse habitats ranging from barren deserts to alpine heathlands and tropical rainforests.

One favourite fact about Australia: it has the greatest amount of reptiles of any country in the world – with an incredible 755 species! Here’s a few of our favourites.

Large monitor lizard

This large monitor lizard has a feverish habit of flicking its tongue which enables them to seek out the scent of prey that may be hidden or buried.
 

Sleepy Lizard or Shingleback

Second is the Sleepy Lizard or collectively called Shingleback - because its colours range widely from white to deep reds, therefore at times mimicking the shingles used for roofs.

Thorny dragon

This thorny dragon is a master of defence with its armour of sharp, hard spines, this rigid structure enables it to collect and channel water straight to its mouth, from any part of the body. And we thought having a false head on its back was enough it make it our best-loved Australian reptile!

This originally appeared on BBC Earth and was reprinted here with permission.