Perentie

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The Perentie is the largest of the monitor lizards in Australia and the fourth largest on earth. Found primarily in central Australia from the west coast to central Queensland, Perentie’s thrive in warm arid environments.

Perentie’s will generally grow up to 2 metres in length making them one of the largest predators in the areas they inhabit. Recent research has found that Perentie’s are venomous, which in combination with their extreme sprinting speed make them a highly effective carnivore in their local ecosystem.

Perenties feed primarily on other small reptiles, mammals and birds which nest on the ground. If found Perenties are also known to eat entire nests of sea turtle and bird eggs.

Taxonomy

TAXONOMY

FamilyVaranidaegoannasforked tongue, Jacobson’s organs to analyse the sensations experienced by the forked tongue, long slender neck, flattened head, strong tail, powerful legs with 5 clawed toes, numerous sharp curved backward-pointing teeth
GenusVaranusgoannas
SpeciesgiganteusPerentie

Characteristics

Appearance

  • up to 2.5m (8 ft) in length; fourth largest lizard in the world

Distribution

  • occurs in desert regions from western Queensland to coastal WA;
    rocky outcrops, shelter in large burrows

Habits

  • ground dweller but will climb a tree if disturbed;forages widely

Prey

  • insects, birds, other reptiles, mammals, carrion; track by sight or by sensing prey with their tongue; forage actively and also ‘sit and wait’ for larger prey like rabbits

Reproduction

  • lay eggs

References – Books

  • Australia’s Amazing Wildlife, 1985. Bay Books, Kensington NSW.
  • Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, HG Cogger, 1996. Reed Books, Melbourne
  • Encyclopedia of Australian Wildlife, Reader’s Digest Australia Pty Ltd, 1997. Reader’s Digest (Australia) Pty Ltd, Surrey Hills.
  • Wildlife Conservation, HJ Frith, 1979. Angus & Robertson, London.

More on this topic

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