Rainforest Animals – Lace Monitor (Goannas)

By Tony Mandarich 2008

Scientific:

Name: Lace Monitor
Scientific Name: Varanus varius
Status: Conservation Dependent
Scientific Classification: Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Scleroglossa
Family: Varanidae
Genus: Varanus
Species: V. varius

General Information:

The lace monitor, also known as the lace goanna (goanna, being the common Australian name for a monitor lizard), is the second largest monitor lizard found in Australia. It has been recently discovered that, similar to perenties and other monitors, as well as Gila monsters, bearded lizards, and the Komodo dragon, the lace monitor is quite venomous. Bites on humans have produced rapid swelling and pain, with some symptoms lasting for several hours. However, this has not stopped the Australian aboriginal people from eating it as a favorite traditional food.

Physical Description:

On average, they are close to 5 ft in length, but some having been known to grow to over 6.5 feet long. It is patterned in a dark steel gray with yellowish bands of spots. Its underside is a light yellowish color. The lace monitor has toes that are equipped with long, curved claws which are used for climbing, and its long tongue is forked like that of a snake.

Diet:

Its appetite is broad, and includes insects, bird eggs, birds, reptiles, and small rodents. It is also known to feed on carrion. After a large meal, this lizard can go for weeks without eating.

Habitat:

Lace monitors are distributed along the eastern coast of Australia, and are found in forests and coastal tablelands. It is an arboreal creature and is often found on fairly large trees. It remains more inactive during cooler weather, and finds shelter in tree hollows or under fallen trees and large rocks.

Reproduction:

Lace monitors couple in the spring or early summer to breed, giving birth 4 – 6 weeks after mating. It lays its eggs in termite mounds (especially those found in trees). The young hatch 8 – 9 months later, when the female actually returns to dig them out.

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