Yellow-spotted Goanas

The first time I saw a five-foot lizard walking around here, I was a bit surprised. Now, I’ve seen so many that they blend in with the wallabies and crocs.

The biggest ones are the Yellow-spotted Goanas. They look pretty much like giant lizards with blocky heads, thick legs, and long tails, and walk with a curious sideways gait. They’re no danger to people, but goanas are the main predator of eggs and baby birds here. Eighty percent of baby Fairy-Wrens are eaten before they even leave the nest.

Sometimes a goana will be hiding in dry leaf litter or grass when I come walking along, and it will shoot out from under my feet at the last second with all kinds of noise. Mostly, though, they regard humans with a kind of impassive, aloof stare, and meander on their own business, perenially searching, probing, and shuffling along, eating whatever they can find – bugs, frogs, baby birds. Oh, to be a goana!

5 replies
  1. Tom Mickel
    Tom Mickel says:

    We had a Sand Goanna while in the outback in 2006 and they are a bit of a surprise when you’re used to the 5” fence lizards of western Oregon. Thanks for sharing your photos and thoughts while at Mornington Station.

  2. Alan Contreras
    Alan Contreras says:

    I don’t recall you mentioning bats. Those rocky gorges with wet bottoms look batty to me. Do you have them?

  3. Noah Strycker
    Noah Strycker says:

    Hey Alan – There are bats here, but the only one I’ve had a good look at so far (a Sheath-tailed Bat) was in the talons of a Barking Owl.

  4. Noah Strycker
    Noah Strycker says:

    Hey Tom – Thanks! And, yeah, the goanas are definitely a bit bigger than anything similar back home!

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