I had never seen a goanna before, so when at last I saw this one, I was excited.I was visiting a friend of my daughter's and we were having coffee, when suddenly this big guy appeared.."Be careful"they said to me, and with a reason! If you had seen its claws....You would also have been on the alert.
Being predatory lizards, goannas are often quite large, or at least bulky, with sharp teeth and claws. The largest is the Perentie (Varanus giganteus), which can grow over 2m in length.
The one I saw was not that large but its tail was very long. I must apologize for the poor quality of my photos, but I had to take them fast.
Not all goannas are gargantuan. Pygmy goannas may be smaller than a man's arm. The smallest of these, the short-tailed monitor (Varanus brevicuda) reaches only 20 cm in length. They survive on smaller prey such as insects and mice, and my daughter lost a turkey chick, which got out of its cage while a goanna was lurking for the poor little thing.
Goannas combine predatory and scavenging behaviour. A goanna will prey upon any animal it can catch that is small enough to eat whole. Goannas have been blamed for the death of sheep by farmers, though most likely erroneously, as goannas are also eaters of carrion and are attracted to rotting meat.
Most goannas are dark in coloration, whites, greys, browns, blacks and greens featuring prominently. Many desert dwelling species also feature yellow-red tones. Camouflage ranges from bands and stripes to splotches, speckles and circles, and can change as the creature matures; juveniles sometimes being brighter than adults.
Like most lizards, goannas lay eggs. Most lay eggs in a nest or burrow, but some species lay their eggs inside termite mounds. This offers protection and incubation, additionally the termites may provide a meal for the young as they hatch. Unlike other species of lizards, goannas do not have the ability to regrow limbs or tails.
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