You don’t need to be a zoologist to be able to tell the difference between an alligator, a shark and a goanna, no matter how big the goanna is. Fair enough, alligators and goannas conform to the same general body shape, tail, gnashers up front and a leg in each corner, but a shark? The dorsal fin of doom is usually a staple of shark horror. I have seen some alligators and quite a few goannas and none are afflicted with such. People love to panic, don’t they?
Many years ago I worked at an animal refuge. One afternoon we had a panicked call from a local woman regarding the massive goanna in her garden terrorizing the household. We packed up a large cage, catching pole, leather gauntlets etc etc etc not knowing how massive or terrifying this beast may be and set off. On our arrival the woman spoke to us through a locked security door and begged us to take it away. We entered the garden waiting to be mauled….no mauling….
It took us some time, but eventually we found the monster. It was a medium sized blue-tongue lizard sleeping on a rock in the flowers. The difference between an angry goanna and a sleepy blue-tongue is like the difference between Jaws and Nemo. We stifled our laughter, carried him triumphantly to the van and felt a little stupid putting him in the huge cage in the back. Still to this day I wonder why she felt the need to lock the door.