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Spencer's goanna

Spencer's goanna or Spencer's monitor (Varanus spenceri ) is a species of monitor lizard in the family Varanidae. The species is endemic to Australia.

Spencer's goanna
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Varanidae
Genus: Varanus
Subgenus: Varanus
V. spenceri
Binomial name
Varanus spenceri
Lucas & C. Frost, 1903



The specific name, spenceri, is in honor of English-Australian biologist Walter Baldwin Spencer.[1]

Geographic rangeEdit

V. spenceri is native to the Barkly region in central Queensland/Northern Territory, Australia.


V. spenceri can grow to a total length (including tail) of up to 120 cm (47 in). Spencer's monitor is generally heavier than a similarly sized monitor of another species due to its "stockier" build. It has sharp claws which it uses for digging burrows.


Varanus spenceri eats anything it can find, including highly venomous snakes, small mammals, small lizards, eggs, and carrion (dead animals), and is able to digest anything it eats.

Defensive behaviorEdit

When threatened, V. spenceri hisses loudly, distends its throat and whips its aggressor with its muscular tail.


Varanus spenceri lives in black soil plains with no trees; so Spencer's goanna is the only Australian monitor that does not readily climb although juvenile animals will climb given the opportunity.


Clutch size of Spencer's monitor generally ranges between 11 and 30 eggs.[2]


Varanus ingrami Boulenger, 1906, is an invalid name (a junior synonym) for this species.[3]


  1. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Varanus spenceri, p. 250).
  2. ^ Varanus spenceri
  3. ^ "Varanus spenceri ". The Reptile Database.

Further readingEdit

  • Lucas AHS, Frost C (1903). "Descriptions of two new Australian Lizards, Varanus spencer and Diplodactylus bilineatus ". Proc. Royal Soc. Victoria 15: 145-147. (Varanus spenceri, new species, pp. 145–146).
  • Mertens R (1958). "Bemerkungen über die Warane Australiens ". Senckenbergiana biologica 39: 229-264. (in German).

External linksEdit

  Media related to Varanus spenceri at Wikimedia Commons