Documenting natural behaviours may be an important component of conservation management of threatened species in that deviations from some behaviours may serve as early warning signs of subsequent deteriorating condition and the possible need for intervention. We described predation behaviour of the endangered Australian scincid lizard Tiliqua adelaidensis from 23 burrows by watching video images from cameras over 10 days each month for five months in spring and summer. We observed 341 predation attempts, of which 277 were successful. These lizards predominantly ambush passing prey from their burrow entrance without completely emerging from the burrow. Orthopterans were the major component of their captures; prey captures peaked in November and December. We measured the proportion of unsuccessful foraging attempts, the proportion of foraging attempts that involved full emergence, the mean distance a lizard moved away from the burrow entrance, and the proportion of plant parts in the diet. We suggest that if any of these parameters increase it could indicate the requirement for intervention management. Our study supports the view that behavioural monitoring could be considered as an integral component of any conservation management of endangered animal species.
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Vol. 63 • No. 4