Ridge-tailed Monitor

A Ridge-tailed monitor basking on a rock
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Scientific Name: Varanus acanthurus 

Size: Total Length 650 mm

What does it look like?

The Ridge-tailed Monitor is reddish to blackish-brown above, with numerous pale to bright yellowish spots on back and flanks forming conspicuous eye-like rings. Head with pale to bright yellowish spots and longitudinal stripes, and tail with similarly coloured or pale brown rings, occasionally fading to uniform blackish towards tip. Tail long and slightly flattened, with prominent keels giving spiny appearance. Undersurface yellowish-cream to whitish. 

Where is it found?

Northern Australia, from central western WA coast, through NT, to western Qld. Also on Groote Eylandt and Wessel Group. 

What are its habitats & habits?

The Ridge-tailed Monitor is found on rocky outcrops and ranges, where it shelters in deep crevices or under larger rocks. It is terrestrial, feeding on invertebrates and lizards, and occasionally small mammals and eggs. Oviparous, producing around 10 eggs in a clutch, occasionally with 2 clutches in a year. 

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A Naturalist's Guide to the Reptiles of Australia (2nd Edition) cover

This species features in my book A Naturalist’s Guide to the Reptiles of Australia

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