Scientific Name: Varanus spenceri
Size: 1.2 m
What does it look like?
Spencer’s Monitor is a heavy, thick-set goanna, with short, laterally flattened tail and rounded snout. Greyish-brown above with numerous paler and darker spots, and broad, pale yellowish-grey transverse bands on back and tail. Head darker and lips paler and barred. Yellowish-cream below, with dark grey mottling, more prominent on throat. Well equipped for digging, with long, sharp claws.
Where is it found?
The species inhabits the open black soil plains of north-eastern NT and central western Qld.
What are its habitats & habits?
Spencer’s Monitor, or Spencer’s Goanna, is terrestrial, foraging on the ground in open grassland for wide variety of prey, including venomous snakes, small lizards, small mammals, carrion and eggs. When not active shelters underground, in burrows or large cracks in soil. Oviparous, with around 20 eggs in a clutch. If threatened, gives a loud hiss and uses its short, muscular tail as a whip.
The only Australian goanna that is not arboreal.
This species features in my book A Naturalist’s Guide to the Reptiles of Australia