Spencer’s Monitor

Varanus spenceri TL 1.2m

(Spencer’s Goanna)

What does it look like?  Heavy, thick-set goanna, with short, laterally flattened tail and rounded snout. Greyish-brown above with numerous paler and darker spots, and broad, pale yellowish-grey transverse bands on back and tail. Head darker and lips paler and barred. Yellowish-cream below, with dark grey mottling, more prominent on throat. Well equipped for digging, with long, sharp claws.

Where is it found?  Open black soil plains of north-eastern NT and central western Qld.

What are its habitats & habits? Terrestrial, foraging on the ground in open grassland for wide variety of prey, including venomous snakes, small lizards, small mammals, carrion and eggs. When not active shelters underground, in burrows or large cracks in soil. Oviparous, with around 20 eggs in a clutch. The only Australian goanna that is not arboreal. If threatened, gives a loud hiss and uses its short, muscular tail as a whip.