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Goannas or Monitor Lizards

(Family: Varanidae)

A family of almost 80 species, with the largest member (and the largest of all lizards) being the Komodo Dragon Varanus komodoensis, from several Indonesian Islands, which can reach a length of around 3 metres. The Komodo dragon uses a toxic cocktail of bacteria “venom” in its saliva to weaken larger prey and assist capture. Australian varanids have sharp claws and powerful limbs and jaws, which can inflict painful injuries if handled, but the role of the venom they produce is uncertain.

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