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Varanus baritji Print E-mail
White's dwarf goanna
White's goanna

Extract from A Little Book of Monitor Lizards © D. Bennett 1995. Viper Press, UK

Varanus baritji King & Horner 1987

White's Goanna (baritji is an aboriginal word for white and the lizard is named after its discoverer Dr Neville White) is a small spiny-tailed monitor known at present only from the extreme north of the Northern Territory. It can be distinguished from V.acanthurus only on the basis of its pattern and colour. V.baritji lacks the light ocellated markings on the back associated with V.acanthurus and also lacks the light and dark dorsal neck stripes. V.baritji has a bright yellow underside. Like V.acanthurus it favours areas of rocky outcrops and has been collected under both limestone and granite. A specimen caught in early June laid three eggs in captivity. Maximum known length is 72cm TL (25cm SVL) (King & Horner 1987). According to Thissen (1992) Swanson's (1976) picture of V.acanthurus is actually V.baritji.

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The Butaan Project
The Butaan Project - Research
butaan3.jpgThe only obligate fruit-eaters among reptiles are three species of monitor lizard that live in the Philippines. Frugivorous vertebrates tend to be able to fly (almost all are bats and birds) and so these lizards have a unique ecological role as highly specialized and relatively immobile fruit eaters. Before this project started, the only studies of this unique giant and endangered lizard had involved killing the animals. We have developed a set of techniques that allow us to learn about these animals in a completely non-destructive way.
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