Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wildlife on Wednesday ... the Lace Monitor Lizard (Varanus varius)

Today we meet another regular visitor to my place.  I see these beautiful creatures regularly during our summers here.  We refer to them as 'goannas' and they have the most stunning skin ... the patterning consists of white spots, lace-like blotches or bands all over their body.  Each one I've seen seems to have slightly different markings too - wider bands down the tail, larger lacy spots etc.

This particular goanna was on the hunt for eggs and attempting to get into our duck/chook pen.  It was interesting watching his attempt.   (Please click on the photos for an enlarged view)

Righto ... feeling a pit peckish!  Eggs for lunch I think!


Mmmm .... maybe I can slip in under the gate!

No luck ... I'll try going down here and see if I can get in under the fence!

Drat!  No luck there either ... hmmmm... thinking, thinking!

Hmmm! ... I wonder??

Aaaahaa!!  Aren't I a clever little lizard?
 
Dinnertime!


These beauties are members of the monitor lizard family - the Australian members of which are commonly known as goannas. They're found all along the east coast of Oz. 

This is the second largest monitor lizard in Australia - they can grow to 2 metres long from head to the tip of the tail!

These lizards are mostly terrestrial but they are often seen climbing trees and spending time hanging about in the branches. They are mainly active from September to May (Spring through Autumn), but not very active in our cooler weather.

They will eat insects, reptiles, small mammals, birds and birds' eggs. I think the lace monitors actually eat more birds and eggs than other goannas.  They will frequently attack the large nests of the scrub turkeys out in the bush to steal their eggs, and they are often spotted trying to get into the chook/duck pens around the neighbourhood.

They have very strong claws and powerful legs ... and can hang around in trees for ages!

Now look closely .... can you see me?

Come a little closer!

That's it!

 Hi!!

22 comments:

  1. What a beautiful Monitor Lizard, and big too! I do hope your duck eggs were safe. I'm rather surprised, as these lizards can climb trees, that it didn't just try to climb the fence. You really do have the most wonderful wildlife.

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  2. LOL! Hi Bernie.It was pondering that escape wasn't it. I did not think it was camouflaged well until you took a picture of it in the tree. It would be hard to see if one wasn't paying any attention. Great shots.

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  3. Hope you didn’t loose too many eggs. I have to say I like lizards especially geckoes.
    The goanna in the tree look’s rather BIG!
    How’s the weather over with you now? It’s lovely and sunny here been in the garden most of the day.

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  4. Are the ducks and the lizard still with you?

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  5. Hi Curbstone ... the Monitor got a couple of the eggs. I wasn't about to go downstairs and try to rescue any eggs ... those goannas have nasty claws!
    I've been the Monitor climb that old gum tree before ... it must have been feeling a bit lazy on this particular day!

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  6. Hocking Hills Gardener ... these Monitors are very hard to spot in the dry bush and when they hang around in trees. It took me quite some time to realise there was a Monitor in the tree next to the garage!

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  7. Hi Sue ... actually the weather has started to fin up, finally! Those unusual April showers seem to be almost over ... we had a quick little shower yesterday afternoon ... but the days are mostly sunny now, thank goodness. Time to get out into the garden this weekend!
    P.S. The Monitor did get some of the eggs!

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  8. Elephant's Eye ... yes the ducks are still with us. The Monitor doesn't try to hurt the ducks at all ... and they run a mile when they see it anyway! As for the Monitor itself ... yes it's still around as I just saw it two days ago!

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  9. aloha bernie,

    wow those are huge lizards, hope you didn't get all the duck eggs which i actually like to also eat :)

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  10. Lovely photos Bernie, thanks for sharing. They can certainly give you quite a scare, we had one following us when we were wading in the creek and I was convinced he was a croc! so glad the weather is drying out a bit - I love this sunshine and cooler weather!

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  11. Great sequential story about a lizard - would make a great children's book Bernie!

    Eileen

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  12. Those are pretty cool! We only have tiny lizards here lol.

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  13. A Lace Monitor is the same as a Goanna, isn't it?

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  14. Hi Bernie, we don't have them right where we are, but go a couple of hours east and we start to see them. They are wonderful looking creatures but I'm very wary of those claws!

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  15. Great post. Loved the story line. The pics are great too. he is a beautiful specimen but i'd be worried about the eggs, I had a reptile visit my garden today but it didn't have any legsssssssss.

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  16. Wow. I love seeing your wildlife. Incredible creature!

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  17. That is a gorgeous lizard! Quite a master at the camouflage too...and at breaking into fences. You have the most amazing wildlife where you live!

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  18. Amazing, Bernie! I lost him in the camouflage for a bit. If I kept chickens in your area, I'd be worried -- how to defend against such a clever, nearly invisible fellow? ;)

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  19. Bernie, your monitor visitor is quite beautiful and talented! GREAT photos of him!

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  20. Hi Bernie, great post, wonderful photos - I first met goannas while camping in southeast Australia. We had to keep the food in the tent because of them. They are very ingenious and determined when they are hungry (I can relate to that, can't you?) cheers, catmint

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  21. My goodness you have such exotic creatures in your garden. Would you say you welcome this one or not ?

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