I frequently go over to Stradbroke Island in the evening to walk.
Climbing the sandy hill there’s often the sound of rustling and scuttling in the bush on either side of the track. But hoping to see what makes the noise is generally futile as its survival is dependent upon it remaining invisible to any potential predators –
However, on this occasion a movement in the bush caught my eye, followed by a scrambling scratching noise up a nearby tree!
One of Australia’s lizards ~ A lace monitor!
Many years ago I used to do map work for exploration companies across outback Australia and when working in scrub country where trees were few and far between fellow team members would tell me if I startled a goanna, as they are commonly called, I should lie down as their ‘fight or flee’ reaction is to climb the nearest tall object – which in that country would have been me!! I’m not sure how much they were pulling my pommie leg, but seeing the size of their claws, I’d rather have lain down in the dirt than risk the possibility of a goanna running up my body. 😉
Later, when living on a property in northern NSW, we had a resident monitor that must have been not far off their maximum size, which is 2.1m (6’10”). Because of his prehistoric looking lumbering gait as he roamed his domain, we called him ‘Dino’. He’d clamber up the steps onto our verandah to investigate whether there were any tasty morsels that could be scavenged, and sadly for us one day he did strike lucky when he found my son’s pet Cockatiel 🙁
Editor’s Post Script:
After writing this post John Shortland and Charley Jones sent me some photos of their sightings of Lace Monitors…
The photos supplied by John Shortland were taken on the Tallowa Dam Road, Kangaroo Valley NSW
Thanks so much John for adding to this post 🙂
Charley Jones of http://www.secretwater.com.au spotted the lace monitor below at Little Shark Rock Point on the Hawkesbury, Sydney when out with her family in their tinny, just last weekend ~
It really is such a thrill to see such magnificent animals in their native habit like this 🙂
Thanks Charley for adding your photos!
Great topic and post. I think on Twitter you asked for pics of Lace Monitors. There is one on this post taken when we were on Hinchinbrook Island. http://ourhikingblog.com.au/2007/09/thorsborne-trail-hinchinbrook-island-3.html Cheers
Hi Frank ~ Yes, thanks for your input – I was hoping we’d get some better photos to illustrate their beautiful skin markings, as my hasty ‘snap’ more illustrates their camouflage ability!
I watched the movie ‘Lucky Miles’ after I’d written this and was amused to see them use the scenario of a goanna running up one of the characters when in a sandy treeless environment – I’m not sure whether this scene just perpetuates the ‘myth’ or whether anyone has lived to tell the tale of this really happening? 🙂
G’day Linda – In the distant past I have been told of small goannas mistaking humans for tree stumps or fence posts when they’ve been disturbed by another person.
I’ve eMailed you some photos of a lace monitor who hangs out near the Shoalhaven River in the Illawarra region near where I live in NSW.
The pics illustrate his pretty good skin markings. He was snapped, at first, foraging on some smelly old road-kill off the Tallowa dam Road back in March 2009.
He’s still only a little fella, by NSW standards of course 😉 but I wouldn’t be standing still if I saw this baby coming at me – ha ha…
Best… ~ John
Hi John ~
Thanks so much for emailing me your images of a Lace Monitor you spotted down near Kangaroo Valley ~
I’ve uploaded them into the post for everyone to enjoy!
Many thanks for your input 🙂
We own a bush block on Tallowa Dam Road. Have seen the same lace monitor dragging a dead wombat off the side of the road. Saw one similar down there yesterday. If you would like pics (and a movie) I can email them to you.
Cheers – graham and jacqueline
Hi Graham ~
Would love to see photos and movie of ‘your’ Lace Monitor –
If you email I’ll upload them here for everyone to enjoy 🙂
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What an amazing story. One of the things I love about Australia, (one among MANY!), is the wildlife. All your creatures are big, bold and noisy. What an extraordinary place.
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I often think somewhere like Madagascar would be pretty amazing too on the animal front!
But Australia’s not bad for a close second – As an island continent there are many unique animals here 😉