I was recently out in the field nearby to Roma Queensland, poking around for weeds when I spooked a large goanna beside the track I was following. It ran up a fence post and I was able to get a good look at it. This particular goanna is more formally known as a Lace Monitor Goanna (Varanus varius). It had just caught a half-grown Shingleback lizard which it was carrying it in his/her mouth. The unfortunate Shingleback looked as though it had been caught for the goanna’s morning tea.
Lace Monitor Goanna’s are one of the largest goanna species here in Australia. “Lacies” are usually found in well-wooded country in the east of Australia, from South Australia northwards to the lower Cape York Peninsula. This is the goanna you see scavenging around picnic tables in National Parks and other reserves where people gather.
When they are not looking for barbeque hand-outs, Lace Monitors are a powerful predator, eating a wide range of insects and other arthropods, frogs, reptiles and small mammals. They are adept at climbing trees and will track down bird nests to eat the contents (eggs or young birds). Basically, they eat whatever they can overpower, and will also eat carrion. You can sometimes see a Lace Monitor feeding on a dead kangaroo on the road – quite a few of them end up getting run over while doing this.
Lace Monitors, especially big adults, can look very fierce but they avoid people, preferring to run away (unless they have got used to BBQ scraps!). If they are molested, they can use their powerful claws to scratch –– and have powerful jaws and sharp teeth with which to bite. Lace Monitor Goanna can cause severe wounds s they are best left alone and admired from a distance.