Animal Diaries Archive
27 June 2008
If you travel to the Zoo in the future you may like to check out our famous Perenties; Pete, Penny and Two Spots. They are feeling great this winter with some new furnishings in their home.
Our talented ‘Mock Rockers’ have just finished building them some great heated basking rocks. There is one on the western side of the enclosure that helps shield them from the weather as it is a flat rock with an over hang, and this is Penny’s favorite spot. There is also one at the very front of the viewing area. In the winter they would usually bury themselves under rocks to maintain a steady body temperature but these heated rocks allow them to be visible and stay in the preferred spots even on colder days. Pete is lucky enough to have two girls in his enclosure so the addition of more areas to bask allows the ladies a little more space from each other if they need it.
Perenties are the largest lizard in Australia. They are part of the ‘Monitor’ or ‘Varanid’ family also colloquially called ‘goannas’. These champs are found in the centre of Australia from the Southern Queensland – Northern Territory border, right through to the Western Australian coast. They prefer warm, dry terrain and chase down just about anything that moves in the desert. A fully grown male perentie can reach lengths over two meters, making them a very formidable predator.
Like other large monitor lizards they also eat carrion, which means they scavenge. They have learnt that roads are a good place to find food. Unfortunately many of these guys are killed every day on our roads as they come down to grab an easy feed. If you are travelling in central Australia, help perenties out by slowing down around animals and wildlife road victims giving them enough time to reach the other side safely.