Description The Ridge-tailed Monitor is an attractively marked lizard with light brown ocelli markings (round spots with a darker centre) on the upper side. The head is patterned with dark brown and cream stripes. The tail has rows of rigid sharp spines forming ridges along its length. It has a forked tongue like a snake that is constantly flicked in and out detecting different scents. They have strong claws and jaws.
Other Names Spiny Tailed Monitor
Size small to medium monitor growing up to 70cm total length
Habitat rocky regions in arid country. It hides in rock crevices when threatened, using the spines on its tail to wedge itself in and making it extremely difficult for a predator to dislodge. It is mainly terrestrial but sometimes lives inside tree hollows.
Food small lizards, mainly geckos and skinks and insects. When attacking prey the tail is used like a whip
Breeding lays between 5 to 8 eggs in a small chamber at the end of a tunnel dug into sandy soil
Range The Ridge-tailed Monitor is found in the northern half of Western Australia, Northern Territory and western Queensland. Also present on some of the associated islands.