Most of the lace monitor’s body is covered with blue grey scales on the top with cream underneath. The blue grey areas are patterned with cream coloured spots and bands. A variation on this general pattern exists which has yellow bands across the body instead of spots.
Their tail is blue grey and ringed with cream bands which begin narrow and expand towards to the base of the tail. It makes up around half of their length.
The tongue is forked like that of a snake. Their toes have long claws which they use to climb.
Adult lace monitors measure between 1.5 and 2m (5 and 6.6ft). On average, they weigh 20kg (44lbs).
The lace monitor is a carnivore. Their diet includes insects, reptiles, mammals, birds and their eggs. They are also opportunistic feeders eating carrion when they come across it. At times they will scavenge through bins in picnic areas.
They can gorge themselves when feeding on a large kill and then not need food for the next few weeks.
Wild 15 years
Captive 40 years
Australia is the native home of the lace monitor. Here they can be found throughout Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and the Australia Capital Territory.
They make their home amongst open and closed forest as well as the coastal tablelands. For shelter they use tree hollows and logs.
Breeding takes place through the spring and beginning of summer. Males will fight for their right to mate with the females. They will hold the opponent with their front claws and rise on the hind legs. By using an inflated throat pouch they will intimidate each other till one admits defeat.
Following a successful mating it will take 4-6 weeks for the female to be ready to lay her eggs. They will find a termite mound in which to lay between 4 and 14 eggs. The termites will then reseal the nest. The inside environment of the termite nest remains at a constant temperature which is suited to the incubation of the eggs.
The eggs incubate for between 8 and 9 months at which point the female returns to the termite mound where they will dig out the hatchlings.
It will take between 4 and 5 years for the lace monitors to reach sexual maturity.
Predators of the lace monitor include dingoes and birds of prey. One form of defense is a mild venom which is present in their saliva.
These animals are active during warmer weather. When it cools, they take shelter in a tree hollow or beneath a fallen tree or rock.
Because of their strong claws they are able to climb trees which they can use as a means of escaping predators. Lace monitors are also competent swimmers.
Lace monitors are also referred to as ‘goannas.’
It is Australia’s second largest monitor after the perentie.
By Sanx (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
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By Quartl (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Common
Venz, M., Wilson, S., Hobson, R. & Sanderson, C. 2018. Varanus varius. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T83779090A101752385. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-2.RLTS.T83779090A101752385.en. Downloaded on 26 April 2020.
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