Australia’s largest lizard
The Perentie can grow to around 2.5 metres in length, making this arid region species the largest lizard in Australia. Perenties use their size to deter potential threats by rising up, swelling their throat and hissing. Their whip-like tail may also be used as a means of defence. If all else fails, they run away.
Meat for carnivores
Perenties are carnivores and prey on a variety of food including insects, birds, eggs, small mammals and other reptiles. A large, full mature Perentie may even attack small kangaroos. The Perentie will violently shake the prey until it is dead and then swallow it whole.
A tongue for smelling
Monitors like the Perentie differ from all other lizards due to their forked tongue. They constantly flick their tongue in and out; picking up scents from the air interpreting them with a structure on the roof of their mouth called the Jacobson’s organ.
Did you know? Research suggests that monitors have the remains of a venom gland, which may explain why bites from these lizards take a long time to heal.