A taste for lizard keeping
WHAT keeps a goanna going?
For 25-year-old Spud, a stir-fry of Asian green veggies, defrosted mice and chicken necks hits the spot.
Owner Andrew Camilleri from Pendle Hill says live bugs also give his lizard’s hunting skills a boost.
“All lizards have different personalities, but sometimes they need extra stimulation,” he says.
Camilleri says goannas are a scavenging lizard which has an impact on their diet.
“Chicken carcasses, dead mice and chicken hearts are some of his (Spud’s) favourites,” he says.
Rhonda Glover, president of the Macarthur Herpetological Society, says people are becoming increasingly interested in keeping lizards as pets.
Glover says the Australian bearded dragon is even giving dogs a run for their money as a popular pet around the world.
One of the reasons is that they are low maintenance, she says.
“Lizards like goannas ... are just garbage guts. They’ll eat anything.
“You can have a piece of meat out for a day and they won’t think twice about tearing it apart.”
As long as you keep your fingers out of the way, Glover says keeping your lizard healthy is a simple task.
“I feed a lot of my geckos live crickets; they wouldn’t just eat crickets in the wild, so I dust the crickets with multivitamins and calcium,” she says.
“It’s more difficult to get their living conditions right and, if you breed them, the tough thing is getting the babies out before mum or dad eat them.”
Glover says owners should use wood roaches, mealworms, and quails or chicken pieces for monitor lizards and mix that with leaves, flowers and bruised fruit, for other native lizards such as blue tongues.
Experts suggest reptile owners avoid feeding their pets iceberg lettuce, kale, broccoli and cabbage as the vegetables contain an ingredient that prevents lizards from absorbing calcium. Looking to get a lizard? Visit: arod.com.au
Spud the goanna enjoys snacking on dead mice. Picture: Justin Sanson