We’ve seen our resident Lace Monitor of late – he’s coming out to enjoy the sunshine!
He is commonly seen walking in front of the cottage and heading towards the dam. He’s big and very strong and has long claws which he often uses to climb the trees near the car port and along the forest edge. He will sometimes come up on to the deck and sun himself, running back into the bush or up a tree when he sees us and seems quite accustomed to having us around.
The lace monitor is often referred to as a Goanna’s and is one of Australia’s largest lizards, commonly growing 1.5 metres long. His Scientific Name is Varanus varius. They have been known to reach 2 metres in length and can weigh up to 20kg’s. Their tails are quite long and often twice the length of their head and body combined and they have a forked tongue like a snake which is interesting. They are known to have a nasty bite so it’s best not to antagonize him.
It is common for a lace monitor to spend a lot of it’s time in large trees, usually coming to the ground when foraging for food. They have a varied diet including birds, insects, nesting bird’s eggs, reptiles and small mammals. We have been known to feed him meat at times and after researching he eats the eggs of birds I’m thinking it may not be a good idea to encouraging him to be around (the birds bring me the greatest joy at Booyong). They can go for many weeks without food after a large meal and will enjoy road kill or carrion which is decaying flesh.
The lace monitor is quite solitary except during the mating season of spring and early summer. The female will lay between six and twelve eggs in termite mounds where the termites seal the eggs within their nest for protection during the 9 months it takes to incubate. The mound also provides a constant and appropriate temperature until the female returns and digs them out, allowing the hatchlings to escape. Quite clever really!