This large Goanna, or Lace Monitor, scoots past my yard most days. That netting fence means nothing to it and the set route goes right through it. Usually I only catch a glimpse, so fast and determinedly does it move.
But this day I wanted to see it over the fence and moved higher and closer. The click of the camera caused it to stop and look at me… or the source of the noise.
I am always amazed at massivity of these creatures: look at those legs! Common in eastern Australia, it is one of our largest lizards; some of the males can exceed 2m in length.
Carnivores, they are quite partial to carrion.
I have seen them foraging around campsites… and enjoying a meat pie.
This one decided it was safer off the ground; one of their common names is Tree Goanna. Those claws give good grip, holding it here for me to admire the extraordinary patterning of stripes and spots… an Aboriginal art template.
They are actually shy, and while they have been known to run up a human, it is not from aggression, but because they have mistaken the vertical ‘thing’ for a safe tree.
One aspect of their lives that was new to me was how they breed: the female digs a hole in a termite mound and lays her 6-12 eggs there. The termites rebuild over the hole and keep the eggs steadily warm (30ºC). Then 8-9 months later, she returns to dig out the hatchlings. How clever is that at delegating?!