The Perentie is the largest monitor lizard native to Australia. They are found west of the Great Dividing Range in the arid regions of Australia. They are not a common sight and can usually escape detection before it has a chance to be seen.
An adult Perentie can grow up to 8 feet long although its average size is 5.5 to 6.5 feet long. It is likely the third largest lizard on earth, after the Komodo Dragon, and the Water Monitor. Crocodile Monitors rival the Perentie in being the third largest as they are longer than the Perentie, however the Perentie is bulkier and heavier. However, Perenties are relatively lean lizards, compared to the Komodo and Water Monitor.
These large lizards can stand on their back legs and tail to gain a better view of their surroundings. This behavior is known as “tripoding” and is quite common to all monitors large and small. They are also fast sprinters, running using either all four legs or just their hind legs. Perenties generally forage for their food, but are also known to wait for food to come to them. Their prey includes insects, birds, small mammals, and Carrion. They will also eat other reptiles, as well as their own kin.
It was recently discovered by University of Melbourne researchers, that Perenties, along with goannas and other monitors, are venomous. Before this, it was thought that bites inflicted by these lizards were simply prone to infection from the bacteria in the lizards’ mouths. Perenties were once favored as food by desert Aboriginal tribes, and the fat was used for medicine and ceremonial purposes.