Varanus giganteus

Description

Perenties have forked tongues, long slender neck, flattened head, strong tail, powerful legs with 5 clawed toes and numerous sharp-curved backward-pointing teeth. They are yellow or cream with tawny brown rosettes edged in dark brown on their back and have dark limbs with white spots. The head and neck are pale creamy-white overlaid with a reticulated pattern of black lines and flecks. The average length of a Perentie is 2 metres plus.

Diet

Perenties are very efficient predators. They forage widely on turtle eggs, insects, birds, other reptiles, mammals and carrion.

Size

The average size of a Perentie is between 1.75 to 2 metres however they can grow as large as 2.5 metres.

Distribution

Found living in arid regions from Western Queensland to coastal Western Australia, usually around rocky hills and outcrops. They can also be seen finding shelter in burrows which they dig with their powerful front legs and claws.

Breeding

The female Perentie will lay around six to twelve eggs in termite mounds where the activity of the insects provides constant warmth. The brightly coloured young will hatch around three to nine months later.