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Goanna (Varanus Rosenbergii) (Heath Goanna)


The Goanna


These fierce looking large lizards generally are quite shy and timid. They have few natural enemies. Once I saw a goanna about a metre plus (four feet) long, on a track where I was walking. At the same time a kookaburra saw it standing there. “Kookkookkookkkookk” it called. Two more kookaburras flew in and then the three of them swooped at the goanna. It ran and  climbed a tall gum tree. It pressed itself flat on the bark perhaps thinking this would trick the kookaburras. However they attacked and attacked.  The goanna moved again and climbed further into the tree until it found a fork where the trunk split in two. It snuggled into the fork. The kookaburras made a few more swoops then gave up and flew off into the valley. Goannas are excellent tree climbers, and there is a fear among Australians that a goanna might mistake you for a tree and run up your leg! They generally run away from any human and scuttle at a run up the nearest gum tree. However people have been bitten by them, and because goannas feast on things like other dead animals, their mouths and teeth can infect any wound. A nasty bite!

They also eat birds, and small mammals as well as other reptiles.

They lay about five or six eggs in their nest which might be in a hollow or might be a burrow. The young are about 25 cms when they hatch.

Other species are the lace monitor or goanna (Varanus varius), and Gould’s goanna, (Varanus gouldii).


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