The Lace Monitor lizards in an Australiana icon.There are several kinds of goanna in Australia. The largest is the Lace Monitor, Varannus varius. It lives in trees and in summer it is very active hunting for food. In winter is slows down and spends its days resting in hollows in trees.
They often hang around picnickers looking for food scraps. Some people fear goannas, but for the most part the reptile is harmless - they could hardly swallow a human whole. They would rather run than bite a large living animal: their main target is carrion.
When male Lace Monitors mate they go through the set patterns of who is the strongest to get the female. Having young is an easy matter. A female lays her eggs in a termites nests which stays at a steady 31°C.
Aboriginals used goanna oil to ease body pain and as a protective layer on wounds. Early European settlers used the oil on guns as it was a good substitute for standard lubricating oil. Goanna linament does not contain any Goanna oil because killing the animal is illegal. This stops the oil being put to test - folk lore says that if put in a glass jar it will seep through the bottom and be underneath in the morning. Rogue research shows this claim to be right. This is a very interesting property and could possible be put to a good use!
Anyway, we will have to live with the saying: "Flat out like a lizard drinking". Yes, their tongues move very fast when they drink water.
◆ Australiana by Ty Buchanan ◆
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