The Rainforest Journal: Outing #13 – Day 8

(Friday 7-November-2014)

MONITOR MATTERS

@4:25pm

Well Broeski still hasn’t shown-up, though the new lizard on the block was back this afternoon for pasta which is no great surprise,  given the quantity of free food he pigged-out on yesterday.

Junior

Junior

It’s pretty easy to tell whether it’s the same Monitor that stuffed his guts the day before of course; you just have to look at how fat and round the belly is. When he first arrived yesterday his stomach was thinner than his head, with baggy skin surrounding it. By the time he’d gorged himself on beef mince, well he looks the same today as yesterday.

.. Same fat belly. Evidently, they can eat as much as 40% of their own bodyweight in a single meal.

.. Same fat belly. Evidently, they can eat as much as 40% of their own bodyweight in a single meal.

I actually cooked a full pot of pasta when he arrived because I’d run out, but thanks to the six-minute cook-time of pasta, I had it boiled, drained and cooled enough for eating within ten minutes of Juniors arrival.

He didn’t eat the whole lot of course – there was probably a kilogram of pasta I dumped on the plastic – but he had about one cup or so then spent an hour just nibbling on bits, slowly using his tongue to seek-out the chunks of pasta he thought were the best.

He’s still around the camp now, just walking around then basking, walking around some more, baking some more. Though it’s nearly 5:00pm our time, reptiles don’t care about “daylight savings” time so it’s really only approaching 4:00pm for them. To be honest I couldn’t give a crap about it either. If the days are naturally longer in summer that’s great but why does that mean the entire country has to set their clocks forward an hour? It’s a fuckin stupid idea: to artificially lengthen the day just by changing the time just so people feel like the day is longer. It’s not longer. Like me setting the clock to 9:00am then pretending it’s really morning, it’s stupid.

...

Anyway, when Junior had his first-serve-fill of pasta, he went to rub himself on some trees to – I assume – mark his territory, just like all these Monitors seem to do after each meal. I wonder whether this territorial marking ever actually leads to much of anything because they always do it, then avoid each other anyway or at least I’ve not once seen two Monitors in the same periphery of one another.

...

After his initial feeding he came back again and just hung around mouthing at the “good bits” like I already mentioned, before gradually walking away from camp – ten meters at a time – until he was gone.

Now, for the sake of proving identification, here is a photo of Juniors tail-tip..

Juniors tail.

Juniors tail. Remember this for reference.

VARIOUS VARANUS VARIUS

Smelling the camera.

The all new lizard inspects the camera.

@~11:30am

So I’m just about to get another coffee on this morning when yet another young Lace Monitor comes stomping out of the bush and starts frantically tongue-flicking in search of something tasty.

At first I just assumed it was Junior, since he got a good face-stuffing yesterday and I expected him to be back today. I’d already spooned around a cup of pasta from last nights dinner in a bag and put it aside to give to him or Broeski today: whoever rocked-up first would get it I figured, and was prepared to cook some more anyway if a second lizard turned-up.

This Monitor was about the same size as Junior – much smaller than Broeski that is to say – and it wasn’t until he got close I saw that not only did his tail end in a black section (as opposed to Juniors now broken yellow tail-tip), his neck had a much smoother, finer pattern running down it’s length. I got out the photos of Junior from yesterday for reference just to make sure and confirmed that it is indeed another all-new Monitor to my acquaintance.

... this mornings new Monitors tail-tip..

… this mornings new Monitors tail-tip..

Naturally, since this was the first lizard of the day to make an appearance I pulled-out the bag of pasta and tipped it’s contents outside on the plastic-bag-dinner-plate and moments later he – or she – was already making their way over for brunch.

A new lizard a day! Note the smoother - almost smokey - neck colouring.

A new lizard a day! Note the smoother – almost smokey – neck colouring.

I’ve figured till now, that due to the markings they’re male Monitors, but I’m no longer so convinced. This new one has much smoother coloring. So much smoother you could say it looks like a she if you were too base your conclusion solely on markings but then I watched this goanna – like all the rest – walk around rubbing against trees. So although the scale patterns are different, all three Lace Monitors have scent-marked trees each day they come to visit.

This time I made a point of keeping the camera out; ready to snap a shot of this scent marking, and got a few too…

Apparently for a Monitor, rubbing your face against a tree is a very happy occasion.

Apparently for a Monitor, rubbing your face against a tree is a very happy occasion.

As you can see it looks like they thoroughly enjoy the act of hugging a tree, but he’s actually rubbing his neck on the bark. They also rub their vents on the tree for good measure, so they’re obviously rubbing their smell on trunks around the area. It might be, that rather than making the area for any kind of aggressive territorial thing they’re just using the trees like message-boards to inform their lizard brethren they were here, dunno.

Could be a girl.

Could be a girl.

This Monitor was noticeably more approachable than Junior right from the get-go, as evidenced by how close I was able to get in with the camera – within a centimeter or two. So close I got macros close enough to show the fibrous binding between each scale, and a macro of one of his back claws that shows every scratch on the nail.

Zoom-free macro, almost touching the new lizards side.

Zoom-free macro, almost touching the new lizards side.

 

Very sharp, very large and surprisingly detailed claws.

Very sharp, very large and surprisingly detailed claws.

I was very tempted to pat this one, but having kept lizards I’m well aware that reptiles just don’t like being touched – ever. Sure you can get them to the point they’ll tolerate handling, but they never like it.

So it’s now 10:00pm and although I had more to add, it’s time to cut it off and post. But certainly if new goannas keep appearing at this rate I’ll have to start dragging whole cows, or tourists, out here to feed them all.

The Rainforest Journal: Outing #13 – Day 8
Rate in Guidos

Jason
Animal-loving cleaner with a parrot.

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