Lace Monitors, Varanus varius



You can tell this is a big lizard, walking across our front lawn as it searches for something tasty like a burrow of baby rabbits. ย It was startled by a car and ran up a small tree until it felt safe again.

lace monitor up a tree

Here is the whole animal, impressive, yet this is quite a young and small Lace Monitor.

trying to look like a tree trunk

trying to look like a tree trunk

Later it came down and sat guard over a rabbit burrow at the base of the tree, perhaps waiting until a good moment to try digging them out. Last week a much larger specimen was found climbing a nearby tree hunting for a bird’s nest.

larger and older Lace Monitor

larger and older Lace Monitor

It was very difficult to photograph against the bright sunny sky, but then these huge monitors (or goannas as we Australians know them) really don’t care about being photogenic! I was careful not to go too close because they will vomit on anyone chasing them up the tree. Of course for many thousands of years they were very desirable bush tucker for our indigenous people, so they had to develop escape tactics! Here is one last view of the large one, probably 2 metres long, that is over 6.8 ft.

big lizard, big tree!

big lizard, big tree!

26 thoughts on “Lace Monitors, Varanus varius

  1. Excellent photos!

    Just read another new blog that maintains that certain theropod dinosaurs, including T-rex, may (and likely did) have lips to cover the entire arrangement of upper and lower teeth (mandibular and maxillary).

    Seeing your monitors immediately after reading that blog…was reinforcing and amazing! No teeth showing with these natural predators… but they have plenty of them (for sure)!


      • Yes, Christine; the jaws of monitors have been proven (by science) to have truly lethal venomous glands associated with them… which are full of venom! Even if a prey animal gets mildly scratched or scraped by one… it likely will perish (and sooner than one would think).

        Please respect these babies (which i’m sure you do) and use the zoom feature unhesitatingly! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Oh not that close Gallivanta … they are wary, not wanting to end up in the soup pot or roasting on the campfire … as soon as they see you they are off … although years ago when we were camping at Ben Boyd National Park they had become used to people and raised the tents for food … quite scary!

  2. I’d love to have a few of these beaded beauties roaming in my neighborhood. They’d add a bit of predatory excitement, but I imagine owners of small dogs and cats wouldn’t be amused.

    Thanks for posting these, Christine. They’re magnificent and your words make them come alive for me. How I envy your summer right now. Itโ€™s -12C tonight in Michigan. Oooooffff. XOXOX

  3. Scrolling through your photos on your home page, accidentally pairing headings with the wrong photos: “??? They have a monitor lizard named Peaches?”

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