Scientific Classification: Varanus
Alternative Names: Australian monitor
Location: they live throughout Australia, but not so much in Tasmania. They like scrubland and forests where the soil is soft for burrowing.
- Goannas are predatory, carnivourous reptiles that will eat small animals, insects and eggs and scavange on rotting meat.
- There are around 20 species of goanna and 15 of those live in Australia. They vary in size and can grow to up to 2 metres long.
- They live in burrows, wander around on the ground looking for food but are great at climing trees.
- When they breed, they lay about 5-6 eggs which hatch little babies that are about 25cm long. Sometimes, the goanna mums will dig up a termite mound and lay their eggs inside. The termites will build their nest around the eggs, incubating and protecting them from predators. When it’s time, the baby lizards will hatch and dig their way out, or mum will return to give them a hand.
Cuteness Rating: They’re giant lizards with dry skin and long claws. If you think that’s cute, then that’s your own problem.
Danger Rating: don’t get bitten by a goanna – their teeth are filled with bacteria, so a bite can lead to a nasty infection.
We were camping in Mount Remarkable National Park at the Mambray Creek campground, when Juz noticed a goanna under the shade of a nearby tree, just hanging out in the grass. We had read that they are attracted to campers by the smell of meat, and while we didn’t really have food out, he seemed quite content in perving on our campsite.
Later on, while we cooked dinner on the electric BBQs in the visitor area, another goanna came by looking for scraps before climbing a nearby rivergum and hanging out on one of the top branches. The next day, we had another visit and it was cool to watch them move and scurry.