Wild Fact #345 – Sharp Looking Lizard – Spiny Tailed Monitor

Spiny Tailed Monitor

Photo by Haplochromis (Wikimedia)

It looks like we are starting the week off with a short trip to Australia. Why do we want to go to the “land down under”? Well, there are many reasons but the main one today is to catch a glimpse of the intriguing Spiny Tailed Monitor. This Australian reptile is often referred to as the Ridge-Tailed Monitor or simply a Goanna, which is the name for all monitor lizards. I am probably going to continue calling them the Spiny Tailed Monitor since I find that name to be the most interesting and appropriate for today’s creature.

How Important is a Tail?

This medium sized monitor lizard generally grows up to about 70 cm (27.5″) in length while their tail is about 2-3 times longer than their body and head. As their name suggests, this long, round tail is full of spiny scales, and serves a few purposes. The tail of this Monitor Lizard plays a crucial role in both their passive and aggressive defence strategies. They passively defend against predators by using their tail to wedge themselves into small rock crevices, which obviously shelters them from any potential threat. If they come face to face with a ┬ápredator then this tail becomes a deadly weapon as they will not hesitate to swing their spiny appendage much like you swing club. So if you happen to come across a Spiny Tailed Monitor….keep a close eye on their tail!

Spiny Tailed Monitor Distribution Map

Distribution Map - Photo by Nrg800 (Wikimedia)

The Deadly Hunter

When not defending themselves from dangerous predators such as wild cats, the Spiny Tailed Monitor will go out and hunt for themselves. Interestingly enough, they are also looking to feast on other monitor lizards as well as small mammals, insects and other lizards. For some reason this monitor lizard doesn’t utilize their useful tail for hunting. Personally, if I had a tail with large spines all over it, I would be wielding it like a club all day long!

One Fine Pet

These cool looking lizards have often found themselves stuck inside a terrarium as they are quite popular in the pet industry. They make great pets as they are relatively easy to keep and you are even able to have 4 or 5 in the same enclosure. If you are doing this though, it is always a good idea to give them a little bit of ┬ábreak from time to time. Let’s face it, everyone like some alone time every now and again. Whether in the wild or in captivity there is no doubting that the Spiny Tailed Monitor is one sharp lizard.

One Response

  1. esu 4 years ago

Add Comment