lizards are the most impressive lizards in Australia.
large, slow moving, quite easy to spot and beautiful to watch; they are
also called goannas,
and there are 24 species in Australia.
They have strong feet, long necks, slender heads, and forked tongues -
unlike all other lizards.
The largest in the world are komodo dragons, the largest in Australia
are perenties, our
largest one is lace monitor - the second largest goanna in
is one of the most widespread and abundant of all Australian monitor
It is a
fairly large lizard, and as opposed to many other
monitor lizards, it is ground dwelling (not found in trees).
It is only
found in south eastern parts of Cape York peninsula (Lakefield and
by blundershot via
spotted monitor can look similar to sand goannas (except it has dark
bands on tail tip and bands of dark spots on belly), and it can also be
found in a similar habitat - on the ground and not in
Queensland, it is found from Cairns
in the north roughly to Mackay in the south.
tree monitor lives up in trees. It has a dark, grey to black body, with
cream coloured spots, and the tail has a banded pattern. It lives in
open forests and rainforests in northern and eastern
York, it is found in Cedar
Bay National Park and Home Rule, south of Cooktown.
by Jurgen Otto via Flickr.com
monitor has a reddish brown body with dark centered cream coloured
spots, and the pattern continues to the tail (no bands on
lives in rocky areas and open forest in a patchy distribution across
northern Australia. In the Cape York area it is found at Archer Point
and Lappa Junction.
monitor also has a spotted body, but a pattern with bands across the
It is fairly
large and has a brownish grey to black body.
lives in coastal swamps and mangroves
in a patchy distribution between Cape York peninsula in the north and
Gladstone in the south.
by Bill Higham via
tailed monitor is one of Australia's larger monitor lizards, with a
dark, brown to black body with dark centered creamy spots on the head
and body, and narrow bands on the tail.
It is found
in most of
Australia except the south and south east. In the Cape York area, it is
south of Cooktown.
And finally, the largest of them all in Cape York, and the second
largest in Australia (after perentie), lace
is an impressive two metres long lizard with a dotted body and banded
It lives in
closed and open forest and woodland in coastal
Australia, in Cape York it is found south of Cape Melville.
goanna is a large, impressive lizard.
actually not found in most parts of the Cape York peninsula,
only in the south east
- south of, and including Lakefield National Park, which - as opposed
to the northern parts of the peninsula - is a real hot spot for them.
It can look similar to lace monitor, and it is a kind of monitor lizard.
Goanna is the name often used to refer to Australian (and some Asian)
monitor lizards, of which there are about 25 (30 with the Asian)
Taxonomy and Subspecies
two subspecies of sand goanna: Gould's
gouldii gouldii, and Desert Sand MonitorVaranus gouldii flavirufus.
gouldii gouldii near Jowalbinna. The first
lives largely in
northern and eastern Australia, while the latter lives in the arid
The ranges of the two also overlap, and confuse, as the two are not
always so easy to distinguish from each other.
gouldii gouldii in Lakefield NP. All photos subject to Copyright - do not copy. Borth can
also, at first
glance, be confused with the lace
However, there is a difference.
Lace monitor is arboreal
and will take off to the trees if disturbed.
Sand goanna is ground
dwelling and digs holes in the sand or soil, where it will seek
Gould's monitorVaranus gouldii gouldii
is a fairly large lizard, at 1.4 metres in length in average, and a
weight of up tp 6kg.
Goulds monitor Varanus
gouldii gouldii. All photos subject to Copyright - do not copy.
It lives in grasslands and woodlands in the eastern and northern Australia,
and shelters in burrows, tree hollows and rock crevices.
It is believed to be the most abundant of all Australian monitor
Desert Sand Goanna
Desert sand goannaVaranus gouldii
flavirufus, lives more in the central Australian
sandy deserts and the outback.
goanna Varanus gouldii
Both are mainly diurnal
(active during the day time).
Both are carnivores,
thus predators, and they feed on rodents, large insects and other
Both also eat carrion as well as eggs of birds and other reptiles.
They lay eggs
which they first dig a hole into, then let the termites to repair it,
leaving the eggs inside.
the eggs are ready to hatch they return and dig
the mound open again. Juveniles
eat insects and small reptiles.
monitor is one impressive lizard.
It is the largest goanna lizard in Cape
and the second largest in Australia (after perentie which we don't
It is great to watch
walks on the ground looking for food, but it spends most of the time up in the trees so
your chances to
see it up there are much better.
It is up to two metres
has a distinctive colouring and a forked
tongue like a snake's. It is the only lizard to have
forked tongue. They are
found in eastern
from Cape Bedford on Cape York
peninsula in the north, to eastern South Australia in the south.
It is dark grey or brown
with lighter, cream or
yellowish spots. Its
underside is pale.
The rarer, Bell's Form
found in dryer habitat in Queensland and New South Wales) has large
brown and pinkish stripes across its body.
They all have strong
legs and claws
that are used for climbing in trees.
Lace Monitor with tongue out, Lake Placid,
forests, open woodlands and coastal tablelands, where they forage on the ground and
seek safety and
shelter up in trees.
They hide from cool
tree hollows, under rocks and under fallen trees.
They can walk up to three
kilometres a day
birds, eggs, small mammals, and carrions.
They also come to people's homes and farms and eat garbage, chicken
eggs and chicks, and whatever else they can get hold on.
They attack marine turtle and bush
nests to eat their eggs. They are active during the
warmer months of
the year, and their breeding
season is the build-up season and early Wet - the hottest time of the
They lay their eggs
in termite mounds, where they make a hole
for the eggs and then leave the hole for termites to repair.
That will keep the eggs warm and safe until the female goes back and digs them
once the eggs are ready to hatch. Lace monitors are harmless
they can bite and some studies have even shown that they may have some
this 50 pages
guide totally for FREE.
contains information that helps you getting started with planning of your trip.
You get to make early-stages desicions such as when to go, how long time you
should take, how to get
there and get
to stay (general info), what
will it cost..
and a short insight to what is there to see and do in Cape York.
This complete 300 pages
travel guide is all you need before and during your trip. Besides the
background chapters on the peninsula's history and wildlife; and the comprehensive detail about all
the places (down to prices, opening hours and full contact
detail), it has invaluable information on at least 10 four wheel drive tracks,
at least 30 guaranteed FREE
camping spots on the Cape (and at least 150 on your way to
the Cape), at least 40 best
swimming holes, all mapped; as well as practical things -
from fuel, roads, wireless internet and mobile phone reception,
how to deal with the national
parks booking rules; and Aboriginal land entrance and camping permits
and alcohol restrictions - to vehicle preparation and accessories and necessary recovery
gear by my partner
Mark who is the recovery guy on northern Cape York and the Old
Not to mention locals'
tips on how to spot that croc and palm cockatoo ;-)
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This site uses British
English, which is the English we use in
best efforts have been made to ensure that all the information on this
website is correct, this site is not to be blamed should there be a
Since Winter - Spring 2018 this site has been getting upgraded, and the domain name was changed from the original www.cape-york-australia.com to the new www.capeyorkaustralia.com While this is happening, you will find some things under construction, and some photos blurrier than normal, as their new dimensions affect their quality (until they get changed). They need changing one by one - with hundreds of pages it will take some time before the whole site looks good again, but I am gradually working on it as quick as I can.