Lace Monitor Paul Balfe/Flickr

Lace Monitor

Varanus varius

Did You Know?

  • Live for 10 - 15 years on average (some captive animals reach 40 years of age
  • If females are unable to find a termite nest to lay eggs in, she will create a nest in a hole in the ground filled with grass and leaf litter to incubate the eggs while they decompose
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Found in two broad forms. The main form is dark grey to dull blueish-black with numerous, scattered, cream-colored spots. The snout is marked with prominent black and yellow bands extending under the chin and neck. The tail has narrow black and cream bands which are narrow and get wider towards the end of the tail.

The other type, known as Bells form, is typically found in dryer parts of NSW and Queensland. It has broad, black and yellow bands across the body and tail. Close up, these bands are made up of various spotted patterns.

Also known as the Tree Goanna.

Size

About 55cm long (head and body); 140 cm long (head to tail). Some may grow up to 2.1 m long (head to tail).

Behaviour

Diet

The Diet of the lace monitor is varied, including insects, other reptiles, small mammals, birds, eggs and carrion (dead or decaying flesh).

Movement

Terrestrial and often arboreal (tree dwelling), an active lizard that forages over large areas.

Breeding

Mating takes place in Spring and Summer where males will gather around and mate with receptive females. The female lace monitor will lay between 6-12 eggs, usually laid in termite mounds.

They reach sexual maturity at about 4 - 5 years of age.

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What to Observe

  • Basking

  • Feeding

  • Courting/Mating

  • Presence of juveniles

  • Hatched eggs

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When and Where

When To Look

  • Mainly active from September to May, inactive in cooler weather
  • Mating occurs in Spring and early Summer
  • Eggs laid 4-6 weeks after mating occurs
  • Eggs hatch 8 - 10 weeks after incubation with the mother returning to dig them out of their nest (incubation longer in cooler temperatures)

Where To Look

  • Eastern Australia
  • Forages on the ground but will climb a tree when disturbed and shelter in tree hollows or under fallen trees or large rocks
  • In forests, tall woodlands and open tablelands and slopes
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What Else?

Similar Species

The lace monitor is distinguishable due to its distinct scaling pattern.