What do you think of when you hear that title, the racehorse of the desert?
When I read it I immediately thought of a camel. Quite fast when they want to be and appropriately adapted for running in sand. We have quite a few wild camels here in Australia, in fact, we have the largest wild population of them in the world. Considering that they are an introduced species that is quite an achievement.
Anyway, I would never have connected that particular title to this vision of a gigantic lizard, would you?
It is a pity there isn’t anything in the top photo to use as a scale but I think we will all agree, that is a lizard that would have been left to go his own way, unmolested by pretty much everything. If you would like to see a similar photo here is one from 1935 I posted a while ago of a 6ft long Bungarra with a wary dog for scale although I get the feeling todays Goanna is even bigger….*
After the wonderful clarity of the photos of an 1934 outback christmas I used in my post yesterday I went back to that particular paper to see if they had any other gems and these guys were on the very next page. Fortunately this time there was a note as to who took the picture and we can thank Mrs. E. Lambert and E. Tindale for these pictures.
*Here is a link to an earlier post with a youtube clip of a far more recent encounter with a goanna, this time the goanna is helpfully perched on a backyard bbq for scale. They are smaller these days, but still impressive. 😀
I’m trying to imagine it with a saddle!
And with a jockey!
And the goanna pelts through the spinifex with the jockey desperately clinging on, all you can hear is “aaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!”… 😀
I was thinking along the lines of a camel or an ostrich. But no—a mutant lizard is much more plausible. 🙂
I thought that it would be a far more fitting title for a camel or emu (since we don’t have ostriches) too, a lizard, no matter how big, is not really a creature built for racing is it? They either saunter casually or zoom a short distance to a place of refuge.
This guy though, I think he probably doesn’t ever have to lift his pace above a casual saunter, ever! 🙂
That is one scary beast. And somehow seeing it perched on top of a tree makes it even scarier – no escaping this guy!
By the way – never knew Aus had such a large camel population…
I am not sure if that is the same goanna in the tree, if it was that would have to be one hell of a strong tree otherwise the lizard might get a crash course in flying! Well, plummeting anyway… 😉
The camel population is certainly a surprise, it is amazing to think that there are more here than anywhere else in the world. I wonder how many other critters are out there in the world who have found a completely different country is a better refuge than their own original environment and most of them are on permanent holiday?
That is a hell of a goanna! It looks like it’s survived from the dinosaur age, that one, not just the species. Imagine waking up with it outside your tent…
I get the analogy of the horse and goanna both running fast… but I guess the media’s penchant for a punchy headline no matter how loose hasn’t changed 🙂
It is spectacular isn’t it. I wonder if there are still any this massive out there in the remote reaches of the deserts? I wonder if the feral animals have moved in and made life that much harder for them, ensuring none have the chance to live the kind of life that breeds these amazing giants.
I agree with your thoughts on a punchy headline, when I think of this guy and a jockey all I can imagine is the desperation of anyone trying to hang on when it breaks into that waddling, serpentine, run!
I’ve heard that about your camels. I wouldn’t have guessed. What with them and rabbits it must be like an invasion!
And lots of other destructive feral things too. Australia originally had nothing with hooves, now they stomp all over the country… 😦
Speaking of invasions, we also have water buffalo, wild pigs, goats and deer. Oh and horses. All introduced species that have adapted to our inhospitable climate with gusto. It’s nice to see photos of something that actually /belongs/ lol.
Don’t remind me. 😦
It would be a bit of a shock to come across this guy on your travels wouldn’t it? 😀
This is the kind of lizard that gets a tip of the hat and a polite ‘Sir’… as I back away quietly. 😉
Wild camels, giant lizards… and people think living in New York is scary. LOL… I must learn more about nature in Australia.
I think New York is probably very scary in its own way!
Some of the critters we have here are pretty impressive. At the moment we have a big trapdoor spider in a jar (without a lid, inside another bigger jar, covered in gladwrap. No, he’s not getting out!) on the kitchen bench who was very grumpy when he was accidentally dug up in the garden the other day. The kids are both terrified and fascinated by him so he is visiting for a few days until I get the chance* to chuck him out!
*Chance or bravery, you choose… 😉
What a delightful addition to the kitchen bench — NOT!! Any thoughts about giving it a name and keeping it as a pet? Taking it for walks? 🙂
😀 you would have laughed your head off on the first night. There is no way it can scale the sides of the jam jar it is in but I couldn’t go to bed without screwing the lid down and possibly killing it. My compromise was the extra layer of inescapable jar and the holey gladwrap, small holes mind you, just in case it channels McGyver and builds a ladder in there or something….
Still on the bench, haunting your dreams?
I just walked in the door from letting it go! I was going to chuck it into next door’s garden, they never garden so it will never be disturbed again, but then I realised it would just march back through the fence to our clearer block!
I ended up taking it to an empty piece of land a few doors up the street, turfing it into some grass and taking a few BIG steps back… (and hoping it didn’t follow me home plotting revenge…) 😉
Now there is an evil thought — the Revenge of the Spider. But maybe it was so freaked out by the experience of being peered at it has given up haunting humans for good!
That is my hope, if I do see it again I am afraid it won’t get scooped up in a nice clean jar, it will get the boot!
Now I’m waiting for the faint but determined stomp of tiny spider feet coming my way, bent on retribution….