Tuesday, April 28, 2009



Meet Murray,
Murray the monitor

I was waiting for my friend
to put on her walking shoes
when she called me to her rear deck
to meet Murray

Murray has taken ownership
of a corner of her deck
to sit in the sun
and warm his cold blood

Murray is rather old and slow
He has some torn flaps of skin
on his left rear leg
a battle legacy

My friend's daughter was staying,
trying to get a mobile phone reception
she stood at the corner of the deck
close to Murray
who took objection to the invasion of his territory
and lurched at her

When a goanna
with long sharp claws
lurches at you
you know it's time
to skedaddle

Now my friend approaches Murray
with an outdoor chair
like a lion tamer
and makes Murray retreat to his hidey-hole
underneath the deck
so she can reclaim the deck

But Murray will be back
that is guaranteed -
he needs a daily dose of sun.

Murray is Lace Monitor from the Varanidae family, and is about one meter in length.
He is a carnivore - predator although will eat rotting matter as well. He can be hostile and if provoked may deliver a stinging lash with his tail. His claws are very sharp and his jaw strong. Like a snake he can unhinge his jaw in order to swallow small animals such as rodents.
The monitor is a fast runner and good climber and will normally retreat up the nearest tree if threatened.



  1. apparently if they curl their tail it means they are getting ready to go you...a guide on Fraser Island told me that.

    isn't this area amazing for its abundance of fascinating critters :)

  2. My, but he is a big fella. I though goannas were smaller (or is that different than a Monitor?)

  3. ouch, that last paragraph doesn't exactly say come meet my new friend. still, I think he's quite cute. are they rare?

  4. Hi Victoria
    is that so - I didn't know that...I'll pass on the warning to my friend.

    Hope the opening night goes down well...shouldn't you be there?

    Happy Days

  5. Hi Violet, Murray is a goanna - monitor (the term goanna may have derived from iguana) and they can be bigger than Murray.
    Happy days

  6. Polly -
    you are right. I made my introductions from a distance. Many of the goannas in the park have become quite tame and fearless, hanging around the BBQs and picnic area. But they usually retreat first if threatened. I am always worried they might mistake me for a tree!

  7. Murray is beautiful, but monitor lizard sunning on your deck? That's really freaked! Wish I had one here to enthrall me.

  8. Hello Priya,
    a bit too close for comfort do you think. My friend lives on the edge of the national park so has extra wild life neighbours.
    Happy Days

  9. I'm glad to have met Murray. I'm also glad he's got a name. Once we humans name animals, they seem to acquire the right to life. (Not that they didn't already have the right to life.)

  10. Dan
    Do you have insomnia?

    Murray enjoys the company I am sure. There is also Stumpy - he is missing part of his tail...perhaps the turkeys attacked him when he was young and raiding their nest.
    Happy Days Dan

  11. Yipes! And I thought my ant problem was bad! He's a fascinating guy!

  12. Delwyn I would be so freaked out.

    Although I don't blame him for seeking out the sun.

    Love Renee xoxo

  13. I thought this Murray is a he?
    Because she just love like a he...He..He..So naughty me!
    But I really love the her textured body. She is a babe:)

  14. My cat likes to hide under my deck and that is about all I can handle! I am not one who is going to say that Murray is cute:)

  15. Oh he is gorgeous, even if a bit grumpy. Murray, I also have to name all sorts of animals and insects, they seem to me to have personalities which dictate a name and Murray seems just right for him/her! Thanks for your advice Delwyn on my thoughts blog about the trees, There is just one near the house that has to come down, but it is so lovely, and so old, it will be a shame to see it go!

  16. Your lion-tamer friend is much braver than I am. I would be on the other side of the glass, peering out to make sure Murray had vacated before I ventured out.

  17. wow, i thought we had it bad with the slugs, but they're just yucky, they never attack. :-)

  18. Great photos... glad you were there to catch some stills of Murray before he was forced to retreat. I have a fondness for lizards.

  19. Willow,
    I have ant problems too, but none of Murray's family at my place...just 'Bluey's' progeny.
    Happy Days

  20. Lizzy,
    Hi to you,
    I like them too - they are very intelligent and these monitors can count to 6!
    Happy lizard days

  21. Hi Julie,
    I had a vision of a giant slug rearing up - on it's - no there are no legs...just rearing up...very slimey
    Happy Days

  22. Hey Meri,
    she may have been the one holding that chair in the last picture but I'm the one bending down close to that lashing tail to get the pictures !!!
    Actually he wasn't cross at all just slinking away slowly - I don't think he had warmed up enough to be any bother.
    Happy days

  23. Hi Delphine,

    Naming the animals seems to include them in the family somehow!
    Hope the tree felling is progressing ok. A tree fell in the forest yesterday after we had passed it - just a little one but they do land on people so be careful!
    Happy Days

  24. Oliag,
    the cat would probably frighten the lizard away...

  25. Yoon see,
    I have no idea what sex Murray is but it certainly looks like a male Murray don't you think!

    When i said 'she' is reclaiming the deck I meant my friend.
    Happy monitor days

    PS They have exquisite jewel like markings Yoon see, click on one of the pics and see the clusters of gems.

  26. Renee,
    when I first met them (we came from tame little ol' NZ) they seemed formidable but they really are quite scaredy cats unless they have become too accustomed to people, like in picnic areas, when they have been known to become a little assertive and want the BBQ meat!

  27. I always love seeing all the flora and fauna you share that is so completely different from anything I am used to. Seems as though it would be a great addition to a house - keeps down the mouse population, right?

  28. And it's okay to let him just live under the deck? What if he sneaks up on your leg some night when your just out enjoying the evening breeze. Zap! A piece of your calf is gone.

    Hopefully you can just throwing him rotting matter on occasion to keep him happy.

  29. My husband just peered over my shoulder to see what I was looking at...he "skedaddled" just looking at the pictures! lol

  30. Jennifer,
    the more I write about the more I seem to notice...Yes Murray would keep the rodents down...
    happy Days

  31. Pyzahn,
    They really are timid animals so they don't intimidate people that way... We never think about them until we see one...And remember my friend's house adjoins the national park I don't have monitors here 3 mins away from her place.
    Happy monitor days

  32. Tulsa,
    Murray is only one metre long - they can grow to 2 metres!!!!!! then they would make you skedaddle pronto...
    Happy Days

  33. I just remembered, I had a large albino gecko in my condo at one time in my life. It was probably about 6 or 8 inches long. At one point I had a cockroach problem, but not after the gecko arrived. Late at night if I walked into the kitchen I would see or hear it skitter along the wall. Think it was fat & happy until it ate all the bugs!

  34. Have a good trip to NZ! Be safe!
    xoxoxo Lizzy

  35. Lizzy,
    we have a houseful of geckos but still get the cockies, as they are affectionately known here. It goes with the territory...
    Thanks will do...face masks are sold out!!!!!!!

  36. Be nice to Aunt Delwyn Murray!

    xxx Mona

  37. Mona,
    who has been a very busy girl?

    Murray and I are good friends...I have made him famous....

  38. I saw a few of Murray's cousins in Malaysia when I holidayed there last year. They looked pretty harmless from afar, but we were warned by the hotel staff to stay away from them.

    I like Murray. Many thanks.

    Greetings from London.

  39. Hi Mr C.

    Murray has lots of relatives and they are all best to keep a wide berth from...with claws like that I'd prefer to withdraw...

  40. There will be nothing like this in NZ huh Delwyn?

    I think I would retreat up the nearest tree if faced with a stinging lash of a tail!!

  41. Yvonne
    are you there yet?

    No only katipo spiders!!!!

  42. Thanks Delwyn:)
    I am going to sleep, my eye half close...

  43. I come back to clarify on the above.
    Sorry, tire while reading the post.
    I just miss read it here.
    Please forgive me, hope that there is no hard felt feeling:)


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