Around Keswick Island, you can see a number of monitors, with their dark steel grey colouring with an underside of pale yellow bands or rows of spots.
The sand monitor, or sand goanna, is a member of the monitor family. With long necks, powerful tails and claws and well-developed limbs, they can grow to be 1.5 metres long, with a weight of up to 6 kilograms. Monitors have long, forked tongues, and are, in fact, the only lizards which do. They regularly flick their tongue from side to side amongst leaf litter, and it’s thought they are looking for olfactory clues to prey. They forage over long distances, with diets typically consist of insects, reptiles, small mammals, birds and birds’ eggs.
Monitors are mainly active from September to May, but are inactive in cooler weather and shelter in tree hollows or under rocks. Females lay a number of eggs in spring, usually in termite mounds or similar. It is believed the mother is aware of when the eggs are due to hatch and she will return to the nest and clear the area with her strong claws to allow the baby monitors to escape.
If you take a walk on Keswick Island in the warmer months, you’re likely to see a monitor scratching around the bushland, or simply lazing in the sun.