Australian Goannas or Lace Monitors

Goanna at Durras North

An Australian Goanna climbs a spotted gum at Durras Lake North Holiday Park on the NSW South Coast. The Goanna is 1.93cm in length.

As we are totally surrounded by the Murramarang National Park, this means lots of native wildlife. Apart from the kangaroos, possums and birds, the other regular guests of the park are Goannas. (Varanus varius) Also known as a Lace Monitors, these large reptiles can usually be found lurking in the campground area so it is important not to leave any food lying around – particularly eggs!

They can usually be found between September and May as the warmer weather sets in. At other times, they are generally inactive and take shelter in tree hollows. A good indication of them being about are the frenzied calls of birds fearful of their eggs being eaten.

They can grow up to 2.1 metres long and weight up to 20kgs. This photo taken by “Vannie” Mark Dawes in October 2012 is of one of the larger ones frequenting the park. It measures 1.93cm.

Apart from food they raid from the campsites, they generally feed on small mammals, insects, birds and eggs. They also scavenge on dead carcasses.

Mating takes place in Spring and Summer with  6-12 eggs being laid, usually in termite mounds. A hole is dug on the side of the termite mound, the eggs are laid and the termites reseal the hole. Once hatched the hatchlings dig their way out and sometimes the female returns to use its strong claws to tear open the termite nest to allow the babies to exit the mound.

Contrary to popular belief, Goanna Oil is not made from Goannas but is a brand name. The ingredients in “Goanna Oil” is actually oil of wintergreen, turpentine oil Camphor, peppermint oil, Pine oil and menthol.

If you come across a Goanna in the park, it is best left alone. Most times they will scurry off into the bush or clmb a tree. Though not poisonous, they can inflict a nasty bite and have powerful claws. They are also the only lizard with a forked tongue.