Katandra Bushland Sanctuary

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Lace and Heath monitors

  Two of the lizards found in Katandra belong to the VARANIDAE family of reptiles, 

the Lace monitor (Varanus varius) and the Heath monitor (Varanus rosenbergi).

Heath monitors

The Heath Monitor, also known as Rosenberg’s Goanna, is among the rarest reptiles in the Sydney Basin region, being more commonly found in south-western Australia. Slightly smaller than the Lace monitor, it can be distinguished from its near relative by the absence of cream-coloured bars on the lips, chin and forelimbs.

The forelimbs tend to be spotty rather than striped. Like the Lace monitor, it will usually lay eggs in the side of a termite mound, relying on the termites to cover the eggs when they repair their damaged nest.

A “preserved” specimen of a Heath monitor is on display in Katandra’s Yurt (pictured right) – a road-kill specimen that was found nearby. Other live individuals have been sighted within the Sanctuary.

Lace monitors

Lace monitors grow up to 2 metres in length. They have extremely long tails that are usually twice as long as the head and body. They have a dark steel grey body with pale yellow or cream bands or rows of spots. Their long and strong claws are ideal for digging and climbing trees. Lace monitors feed upon birds, insects, reptiles, small mammals and nesting bird’s eggs, regularly moving up to 3 kilometres per day. Several individuals live in the Katandra, often seen near the large brush turkey mound in the north western section of the Sanctuary. One individual was recently seen being attacked by a pair of kookaburras as it climbed a large tree, mostly likely near the kookaburra’s nest. The sound of the birds hitting the monitor’s body with their beaks as they flew in was very violent and dramatic.

Other than when breeding, lace monitors are usually solitary animals. Most females breed every year and 4-6 weeks after mating will lay 6-12 eggs.Monitors are the only lizards that have a forked tongue.

Source - Katandra Bushland News (Winter 2014 edition)