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Freckled monitor

Scientific Name: Varanus tristis

Did You Know?

When mating, freckled monitor males locate females by their pheromones, which are naturally occurring chemicals that the male monitor can smell. Males have been observed following female pheromone trails over great distances.

The freckled monitor is beautifully patterned, with rows of white ocelli (eye shaped circles) with dark centres, covering its back. The base colour varies from red-brown to light grey-brown and black. Spotted patterning can occur at the start of the tail but the end of the tail is usually black. The monitor is a slender goanna, growing to lengths of 80 centimetres, although over half the length comprises the tail.

Habitat:

Freckled monitors are found across mainland Australia, particularly drier areas and grassy woodlands. They are arboreal (tree dwelling) but spend a lot of time foraging on the ground, especially around rocky areas. They are a wary monitor and repeatedly return to burrows, rock crevices and tree hollows for shelter.

Diet:

Small lizards, birds, eggs, and insects, especially grasshoppers. The monitor is an opportunistic eater whose diet will vary according to what’s available. The freckled monitor has also been observed ambushing its prey.

Reproduction:

Mating often takes place in tree hollows, and occurs in September-October. By October-November a clutch of up to 17 eggs is laid, usually in a hollow in the ground, and then buried up to 20 centimetres deep. Hatchlings emerge in February-March and are about 7 centimetres long.

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