Yellow Spotted Monitor – big laying eggs lizard

Yellow Spotted Monitor

Many times during our trips we spot goannas basking on the rocks or crossing the roads. They are also called monitor lizards or varanids. There are 28 species of goannas in Australia.

The Yellow Spotted Monitor, also known as the Ridgetail Monitor, is a large lizard species found in Australia and parts of Papua New Guinea. With its distinctive yellow spots and impressive size, this lizard is a fascinating and unique species that deserves closer examination.

In this article, we’ll jump into the world of the Yellow Spotted Monitor, exploring its physical characteristics, behavior, and cultural significance. From its impressive hunting abilities to its role in local folklore, this lizard is truly a marvel of the animal kingdom. Join us as we explore the world of this remarkable species.

Yellow Spotted Monitors are one of the largest monitor lizards in the world, with some individuals growing up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) in length from snout to tail. They have a distinctive yellow-spotted pattern on their bodies, which makes them easy to identify.

These lizards are found in a variety of habitats, including forests, savannas, and deserts, and are known for their impressive hunting abilities and distinctive breeding behaviors. Despite their size and hunting prowess, however, Yellow Spotted Monitors face a number of threats in the wild, including habitat loss and poaching for the pet trade.

Through ongoing conservation efforts, we can work to protect this fascinating and important species for future generations to enjoy.

Behavior and Diet

Hunting and Foraging Strategies

  • Yellow Spotted Monitors are skilled hunters and foragers, using their keen senses and impressive agility to catch prey.
  • They are known to climb trees and rocks in search of prey, and can run quickly across the ground to catch fleeing animals.
  • They also have powerful jaws and sharp teeth, which they use to crush the bones and shells of their prey.


  • Yellow Spotted Monitors are carnivores and eat a variety of prey, including insects, birds, rodents, and small mammals.
  • They are also known to eat eggs and other reptiles, including other monitor lizards.
  • They have been observed scavenging on carrion as well.

Role in the Ecosystem

  • Yellow Spotted Monitors play an important role in their ecosystems as predators and scavengers.
  • They help to control populations of small animals and insects, which helps to maintain the balance of the ecosystem.
  • They are also an important food source for other predators, including birds of prey and large mammals.

Yellow Spotted Monitor Appearance

Yellow spotted monitor is dark brown, heavily built and can grow up to 1.4 meters. Its distinctive feature is the yellow dots that can be found on the monitor body, so it is easily recognizable. The underside is pale and its tail is laterally compressed and has narrow dark bands in the end.

They have sharp teeth and claws so when spotted it is best to stay away and take a good photo from a distance. When threatened they rear up on their hind legs and also emit harsh hissing noises.

Where do monitors live

Monitors can be found in a variety of habitats, including coastal beaches, grasslands, and woodlands. They have an excellent sense of smell and feed mostly on small vertebrates and insects.

During the wet season, they lay eggs in underground burrows.

Biggest threat to goanna monitors

Currently, the biggest threat to gonna monitors are cane toads. If a goanna eats a cane toad that is full of toxins, it can actually kill the animal.

Are goanas endangered?

Currently, the number of goannas in Australia is stable and they are not listed as endangered.

Yellow spotted monitor distribution

Yellow spotted monitors can be found in Northern Australia in Kimberley, Northern Territory and up to the Cape York Peninsula. A distinct subspecies occur in the Pilbara and Gascoyne Region of Western Australia.

The yellow spotted monitor on the pictures we spotted in the Kimberley region in Western Australia. We were doing our Mitchell Falls walk and right in the middle of it, just above Merten Falls we saw this monitor resting on the rock.

It was amazing to watch this beautiful animal in its natural environment.

Cultural Significance

Indigenous Beliefs and Mythology

  • Yellow Spotted Monitors have long been significant in the mythology and beliefs of Indigenous Australians, particularly in the Northern Territory and Queensland.
  • They are often associated with creation stories and spiritual beliefs, and are sometimes regarded as totem animals.
  • Some Indigenous cultures also believe that the lizards have medicinal properties, and have used them in traditional medicine.

Art and Symbolism

  • Yellow Spotted Monitors have been featured in a variety of artwork, including paintings, sculptures, and carvings.
  • They are often depicted in Indigenous art, where they may symbolize strength, power, or the natural world.
  • They have also been featured in modern art and design, including in logos and other branding.

Tourism and Education

  • Yellow Spotted Monitors are an important part of the tourism industry in Australia, where visitors can learn about the lizards and their habitats through guided tours and educational programs.
  • This has helped to raise awareness about the importance of protecting these animals and their ecosystems.

Where spotted: Mitchell Falls WA,

Yellow Spotted Monitor – more information

  • The Yellow Spotted Monitor, also known as the Spiny-Tailed Monitor, is a species of monitor lizard that is found in northern and western Australia.
  • These lizards can grow up to 4 feet long, with their tails accounting for about two-thirds of their total length.
  • The Yellow Spotted Monitor is one of the largest and heaviest of all monitor lizards.
  • They are known for their distinctive yellow and black spotted pattern, which helps them blend in with their surroundings.
  • These lizards are excellent climbers and are able to scale trees, rocks, and other surfaces with ease.
  • They are also strong swimmers and are known to be able to hold their breath for up to 30 minutes while diving for prey.
  • The Yellow Spotted Monitor is an opportunistic feeder and will eat a variety of prey, including insects, small mammals, reptiles, and birds.
  • These lizards are solitary animals and are generally only seen together during mating season.
  • Yellow Spotted Monitors are often kept as pets, although they require specialized care and a large enclosure to thrive in captivity.
  • They play an important role in their ecosystems, helping to control populations of prey species and serving as a food source for larger predators.

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