Perentie Facts: Discover The Largest Lizard In Australia (And The Fourth-Largest Lizard In The World)

Discover intriguing details, captivating visuals, and enlightening knowledge about the magnificent perentie. This remarkable creature belongs to the monitor lizard family and is indigenous to the vast lands of Australia. Towering above its reptilian counterparts, the perentie reigns as the largest lizard in the entire Australian continent, stretching beyond an impressive two meters in length.

This formidable reptile rarely crosses paths with humans, for it prefers to dwell in secluded regions far removed from human settlements. Its natural habitat is found in remote areas, safeguarding the perentie from regular encounters with people.

Prepare to immerse yourself in the captivating world of this awe-inspiring Australian reptile as we delve deeper into its enthralling traits and characteristics.

Perentie Facts at a Glance

  • Alternate Titles: Monitor Lizard, Goanna
  • Scientific designation: Varanus giganteus
  • Animal Type: Reptile
  • Family: Varanidae
  • Habitat: Australia
  • Size: Can reach a length of 2.5 meters (8.2 feet)
  • Weight: Up to 15 kilograms (33 pounds)
  • Conservation Status: Not currently at risk

Meet the Perentie: Introduction

The perentie, an impressive reptile found in Australia, holds the title of being the largest lizard in the country and the fourth largest worldwide. Outmatched only by the mighty Komodo dragon, the Asian water monitor, and the crocodile monitor, the perentie’s size is truly remarkable.

Encountering a perentie is a rarity for humans, as these elusive creatures prefer to keep their distance from human settlements. Shy by nature, they tend to reside in remote regions, far away from areas inhabited by people.

If you’re eager to witness the awe-inspiring perentie in action, you’ll be captivated by the incredible footage showcased in the video below.

What Does The Perentie Look Like?

When comparing the perentie to other sizable reptiles, one notable characteristic is its relatively slender body. It possesses a lengthy neck, a flattened head featuring a long snout, a forked tongue, and teeth that are sharp, slightly curved, and point backward. Its tail and legs are robust, each limb adorned with five clawed toes.

The perentie’s coloration spans from dark brown to light brown, exhibiting dark spots scattered across its body and limbs. Distinctive cream or pale yellow bands with dark borders adorn its tail and back.

Notably, the lizard’s throat displays large blotches that form a distinct pattern, enabling the identification of individual specimens.

It is worth mentioning that juveniles boast a more vibrant coloration compared to the adults.

Where Is The Perentie Found?

The perentie, a fascinating creature, calls Australia its home. This species predominantly inhabits the dry, desert-like regions of the country. Its habitat spans across the central coastline of Western Australia, traversing through the Northern Territory and South Australia, all the way to the majestic Great Dividing Range in western Queensland.

Interestingly, the perentie can also be found on Barrow Island, which is situated about 50 kilometers (30 miles) northwest of the Pilbara coast in Western Australia.

Perentie Habitat

The perentie, often encountered in dry and partially dry areas, tends to inhabit environments characterized by compacted earth, scattered pebbles, and rugged formations like cliffs and canyons.

Perentie Facts: Behaviour

The perentie is a remarkable creature that has adapted to its environment in unique ways. This burrowing animal utilizes its strong front limbs and powerful claws to create extensive tunnels in sandy soil. These burrows serve as a refuge from harsh weather conditions and potential predators. Additionally, the perentie seeks shelter in caves and rock crevices when available.

Being a cold-blooded reptile, the perentie relies on external factors to regulate its body temperature. It cleverly basks in the sun, absorbing its warmth, and may even rest on sun-warmed rocks to attain the desired temperature.

In order to minimize its exposure to danger, the perentie exhibits interesting behavior. It occasionally positions itself with only its head protruding from its shelter. During the colder months, when temperatures drop, the perentie becomes less active and tends to stay within its burrow.

When confronted with threats, the perentie employs different defense strategies. It either remains motionless, lying flat against the ground, or tries to escape from danger. In desperate situations, the lizard will defend itself using its teeth, claws, and whip-like tail.

During aggressive encounters, the perentie may engage in a threatening display. This involves puffing up its throat, emitting hissing sounds, and sometimes lunging forward with an open mouth. To appear more intimidating, the perentie may even stand upright on its hind legs, a behavior referred to as “tripoding.” This stance is also employed in non-threatening situations, allowing the perentie to survey its surroundings for potential hazards.


The perentie, known for its remarkable swiftness, can sprint at impressive speeds of approximately 40 km/h (25 mph). This agile lizard owes its velocity to a distinctive ability: the capacity to expand and contract its neck’s sides akin to bellows. This unique mechanism enables the perentie to draw in a substantial amount of air into its lungs while in motion.

Furthermore, the perentie exhibits proficiency in tree climbing, courtesy of its elongated claws.

Perentie Life Cycle

The perentie, a large lizard species, engages in mating during the spring or early summer. The male perenties are territorial and engage in fights to gain access to females. These fights involve standing upright, grabbing their opponent, and attempting to force them to the ground.

During the courtship process, a successful male perentie approaches the female and may show affection by licking or nuzzling her. The mating process occurs multiple times over a span of several days.

After mating, the female perentie lays a clutch of eggs, typically consisting of 6 to 12 eggs. Each female only lays one clutch of eggs per year.

The eggs are often laid in a termite nest, where the activity of the insects helps maintain the ideal temperature and humidity for incubation. Alternatively, the eggs may also be laid in soil.

It takes approximately 220 days for the eggs to hatch.

Steve Irwin Meets A Perentie

In this captivating footage, renowned Australian wildlife enthusiast Steve Irwin encounters a remarkable perentie up close and personal…

Perentie Diet: What Do Perenties Eat?

The perentie, a carnivorous reptile, sustains itself by consuming a diverse range of prey. Its diet encompasses various creatures such as insects, small mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, turtle eggs, and carrion.

Impressively, larger perenties are capable of hunting animals as substantial as wombats and small kangaroos. Furthermore, instances of cannibalism have been observed among perenties.

To locate its prey, the perentie relies on its sharp vision and its tongue, which detects airborne chemicals. Typically, this lizard is an active hunter, actively pursuing its targets. However, it occasionally adopts a patient approach, concealing itself and launching a surprise attack on its unsuspecting prey.

Once captured, the perentie shakes its prey vigorously until it ceases movement, after which it swallows the prey whole.

Is The Perentie Dangerous To Humans?

When a perentie lizard sinks its teeth into you, it can bring about intense agony, swelling, and a feeling of lightheadedness that can persist for several hours. In the past, it was believed that these unpleasant symptoms were the result of bacteria found in the lizard’s saliva.

However, recent understanding suggests that perenties, along with other monitor lizards, actually possess venom glands. It is now believed that the severity of the symptoms stems from the venom present in the lizard’s oral secretions.

Fortunately, the venom of the perentie is relatively mild, and the effects of a bite are not long-lasting. As a result, this species is not considered a significant threat, and human encounters with perenties are rare.

Is The Perentie Endangered?

According to the IUCN, the perentie lizard is classified as “Least Concern.”

Even though the perentie may not be abundant, it inhabits a vast range, and its population is deemed stable. Presently, no significant hazards endanger the species.


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