Lace Monitor
Physical description
Binomial nameVaranus varius
Scientific classification
SpeciesV. varius

Template:Tall image The Lace Monitor, or Lace Goanna, Varanus varius, is a member of the monitor lizard family, Australian members of which are commonly known as goannas. It belongs to the subgenus Varanus.[1]

Lace monitors are the second-largest monitor in Australia after the Perentie. They can be as long as 2.1 metres (over 6 ft 10ins) with a head and body length of up to 76.5 cm (2½ ft). The tail is long and slender and about 1.5 times the length of the head and body.[2][3] Maximum weight of lace monitor can be 20 kg.(44 lb), but most adults are much smaller.

These common terrestrial and often arboreal monitors are found in eastern Australia and range from Cape Bedford on Cape York Peninsula to south-eastern South Australia. They frequent both open and closed forests and forage over long distances (up to 3 km a day).

They are mainly active from September to May, but are inactive in cooler weather and shelter in a tree hollow or under a fallen tree or large rock.

The females lay from 4 to 14 eggs in spring or summer in termite nests. They frequently attack the large composting nests of Scrub Turkeys to steal their eggs, and often show injuries on their tails inflicted by male scrub turkeys pecking at them to drive them away.

Their diet typically consists of insects, reptiles, small mammals, birds and birds' eggs. They are also carrion eaters, feeding on already dead carcasses of other wildlife. Lace monitors will also forage in areas inhabited by people, raiding chicken coops for poultry and eggs, rummaging through unprotected domestic garbage bags, and trash cans in picnic and recreational areas.

Like all Australian goannas, they were a favourite traditional food of Australian Aboriginal peoples and their fat was particularly valued as a medicine and for use in ceremoniesTemplate:Citation needed.


File:Varanus varius -Airlie Beach, Queensland, Australia -molting-8.jpg
File:Lace Monitor - Bell's Form - Fraser Coast. Queensland. Australia.JPG

Lace monitors are found in two broad forms. The main form is dark grey to dull blueish black with numerous scattered cream spots. The snout is marked with prominent black and yellow bands extending under the chin and neck. The tail has narrow black and cream bands which are narrow and get wider towards the end of the tail.

The other type, known as 'Bells Form', is typically found in dryer parts of NSW and Queensland. It has broad black and yellow bands across the body and tail. Close up these bands are made up of various spotted patterns.


In late 2005, University of Melbourne researchers discovered that Perenties (Varanus giganteus) and other Monitor lizards, may be somewhat venomous. Previously, it had been thought that bites inflicted by these lizards were simply prone to infection because of bacteria in the lizards' mouths, but these researchers have shown that the immediate effects may be caused by mild envenomation.[4] Bites on human digits by a Lace Monitor (Varanus varius), a Komodo Dragon (V. komodoensis) and a Timor Monitor (V.Timorensis ) have been observed and all produced similar results in humans: rapid swelling within minutes, localised disruption of blood clotting, shooting pain up to the elbow.


  2. Ehmann, Harald. Encyclopedia of Australian Animals: Reptiles, p. 158. (1992). The Australian Museum. ISBN 0-207-17379-6 (Reptiles).
  3. Wildlife of Tropical North Queensland: Cooktown to Mackay, p. 233. (2000). Queensland Museum. ISBN 0-7242-9349-3
  4. Goanna venom rocks the reptile record, UniNews Vol. 14, No. 22 28 November - 12 December 2005, University of Melbourne, Retrieved March 8, 2006


  • King, Dennis & Green, Brian. 1999. Goannas: The Biology of Varanid Lizards. University of New South Wales Press. ISBN 0-86840-456-X
  • Wilson, Steven & Swan Gerry 2003 A Complete Guide to Reptiles of Australia. Reed New Holland Australia ISBN 1-976334-72-X
  • Wilson, Stephen k. 1985 Australia's Reptiles. ISBN 0 207 17707 4.
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