Rosenberg’s Goanna is a monitor lizard and is considered as one of the world’s distinct species. They actively search for prey and rely on detection of scents to facilitate their search. While hunting, they walk with a characteristic swinging pace holding the snout near the ground while flicking in out their long forked tongue and transferring odors to sensory organs.
This lizard reaches up to a meter and a half in length. The upper part of its body is dark grey, spotted finely with white or yellow. It has blackish cross bands from its neck to the tail end. The pairs of thin, regular bands around the overall length of its tail is a unique feature which sets it apart from the common Lace Monitor Vuranus varius, whose bands towards the tail tip are lighter and wider. Rosenberg’s Goanna has finely, also has distinct barred lips while the Lace Monitor has wider bands around the snout. There is a pale-edge black stripe running from the eyes across its ears and onto the neck.
Rosenberg’s Goanna can be found in health, woodland and open forest. They normally feed on birds, eggs, carrion, small mammals and reptiles. They need large areas of habitat and shelters on rock crevices, hollow logs and in burrows that they may dig themselves or may use burrows of other species. When chased, they run around the ground. Lace Monitor when pursued on the other hand climbs trees.
Rosenberg’s Goanna can lay up to 14 eggs in a termite mound and their hatchlings dig themselves out of the mound. They are generally slow moving and are more likely to be seen when the climate is hot on flatlands.
One of their biggest threats they are faced with include loss of habitat and fragmentation as land is cleared and used for agricultural, residential and industrial developments. They are also killed by moving vehicles. They are also a prey to dogs and cats.
Because Rosenberg’s Goanna is one of the endangered species in the world today, targeted strategies for managing them were developed by many organizations that aim to protect and conserve wildlife. They provide some measures to ensure that these animals are protected against predators and other situations that may put their lives to danger.
In areas where the species occur, dogs and cats should be restrained and kept indoors. Fallen timber and termite mounds that are critical habitat component to Rosenberg’s Goanna should be retained especially in areas supporting this species. Woodland, heath and forest remnants should also be retained in the known distribution of the species.
Their habitat should not be fragmented for the purpose of clearing, creating roads and other developments. The remnant populations should stay linked or connected to each other. In the event remnants lose the connective links, re-establishing it should be done by revegetating sites that will serve as stepping stones for distribution.
To lessen instances of road kills, road upgrades or new roads in areas supporting habitat should construct elevated sections to facilitate the lizards passing underneath. As rare as they may be, people, especially those living in areas where the Rosenberg’s Goanna occur should ensure that they provide a suitable and safe living environment for this species.