Short-Tailed Pygmy Monitor

Scientific Name: Varanus Brevicauda

Short-Tailed Pygmy Monitor

This diurnal monitor is the smallest monitor in the world. This terrestrial lizard reaches a maximum of 23cm in length. It is reddish brown in colour with darker flecks through the body. Like all monitors it has a long neck, strong claws, well developed limbs and a powerful tail. These solitary monitors are small reaching only about 23cm and a weighing only 6 grams. This species has acute sight and hearing but the majority of its sensory information is chemically such as mate recognition.


This monitor is found exclusively in arid regions of Australia. These areas include NW South Australia, Western Qld, South Northern Australia and Central to coastal Western Australia. This burrowing lizard lives on sand dunes usually dominated by spinifex grass. It uses the grass tussocks and rocks to burrow beneath for shelter and protection.


This short-tailed monitor is a carnivore and its diet is made up of insects, carrion and other lizards.The short-tailed mon¬i¬tor is strictly car¬niv¬o¬rous. It uses its forked tongue to pick up chemicals in its environment and is transferred to the Ja¬cob¬son’s organ. It has the ability to eat large prey items through mesokinesis which is a process that allows the animal to eat prey items larger than its own head.


During the breeding season males are aggressive towards one another and will fight one another in a wrestling manner, with the winner mating with the female. After a successful mating the female monitor will dig a burrow and lay between 1 and 4 eggs with the clutch size usually being 2 eggs. The incubation period is between 70 and 100 days and is temperature dependent. The hatchlings are only about 2 grams at first but grow quickly and are fully grown within 18 months.


Conservation Status: Not listed

Due to the short-tailed monitor’s secretive nature more research is needed to ensure their numbers in the wild are maintained, even though it appears its conservation status is secure.