When the first people reached Australia, they encountered the largest lizard that had ever lived.

Fast Facts Edit Edit

Monitor Lizard
Diet: Carnivore
Size: Body length: 6m; Weight: 1 ton.
Protection status: Extinct
Megalania also know as the giant ripper lizard is a varanid lizard or goanna like the living Komodo Dragon. It looked very similar to the Komodo, but was more robust and had a proportionally shorter tail. Its serrated teeth were more widely spaced and more curved than those of a Komodo. It had very large claws on its feet.

''''' Megalania  Fossils have been found in South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales.

Megalania lived in open woodland and grassland.

Megalania was a carnivore. It is likely that giant ripper lizards both caught their own prey and scavenged, as the Komodo dragon does today. Extrapolating from the habits of the Komodo, it could easily have caught prey of twice its own weight, and could have tackled animals of up to 10 times its own weight. A fully grown giant ripper lizard would be able to tackle even the largest Diprotodon.

Megalania was most likely an ambush predator.

Megalania laid eggs as all varanid lizards do, but so far none have been found as fossils.

Conservation status Megalania is extinct.

A complete skeleton of a giant ripper lizard has never been found.

Records At 6m long, megalania is the largest lizard to have ever lived.

The best places to see megalania fossils and reconstructions are on display at Monash Science Centre, Monash University, Clayton in Victoria State, Australia; and the Wonambi Fossil Centre, Naracoorte Caves National Park, South Australia.

The closest relatives of megalania is the perentie or gigantic lace monitor lizard (Varanus giganteus).

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