WA Heath Monitors (Varanus rosenbergi)

Discussion in 'Field Herping and Reptile Studies' started by Nero Egernia, Mar 30, 2020.

  1. Nero Egernia

    Nero Egernia Subscriber Subscriber

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    Hi everyone, for the past couple years I've been following local Heath Monitors (Varanus rosenbergi). I've learnt a few things about them while out in the field. Probably the most exciting thing, however, was being able to observe and photograph neonates emerging from the scene of their birth, deep within termite mounds, after a lengthy incubation period that lasts roughly half the year.

    [​IMG]Nasute Termite Mound by Kayla Higginson, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Heath Monitor (Varanus rosenbergi) by Kayla Higginson, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Heath Monitor (Varanus rosenbergi) by Kayla Higginson, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Heath Monitor (Varanus rosenbergi) by Kayla Higginson, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Heath Monitor (Varanus rosenbergi) by Kayla Higginson, on Flickr

    I spent hours sitting stark still in the hot sun, being beset upon hundreds of March Flies to get these photos. Patience is definitely a virtue here. Not long after I decided to leave I came across a small skinny adult. She could possibly be the mother of these babies, having laid her eggs some six months earlier. Refer to her sunken belly and prominent hips.

    [​IMG]Heath Monitor (Varanus rosenbergi) by Kayla Higginson, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Heath Monitor (Varanus rosenbergi) by Kayla Higginson, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Heath Monitor (Varanus rosenbergi) by Kayla Higginson, on Flickr

    Here's a different termite mound in a different area. Note the vegetation's regeneration as time goes by after the controlled burnings.

    [​IMG]Nasute Termite Mound by Kayla Higginson, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Nasute Termite Mound by Kayla Higginson, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Nasute Termite Mound by Kayla Higginson, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Heath Monitor (Varanus rosenbergi) by Kayla Higginson, on Flickr

    Note the differences in hole sizes formed in the termite mound. The photo with the small hole is the neonate's exit route, which appeared early spring, whereas in the photo with the large hole is the mother digging into the mound to lay the next generation, in early autumn. Some couple metres away I discovered the possible mother resting in the shade of thick vegetation.

    [​IMG]Heath Monitor (Varanus rosenbergi) by Kayla Higginson, on Flickr

    I may have posted these before, but here's some more photos of different adults that I have come across and was able to photograph.

    [​IMG]Heath Monitor (Varanus rosenbergi) by Kayla Higginson, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Heath Monitor (Varanus rosenbergi) by Kayla Higginson, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Heath Monitor (Varanus rosenbergi) by Kayla Higginson, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Heath Monitor (Varanus rosenbergi) by Kayla Higginson, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Heath Monitor (Varanus rosenbergi) by Kayla Higginson, on Flickr
     
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  2. Josiah Rossic

    Josiah Rossic Active Member

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    Great photos Kayla!
     
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  3. Herptology

    Herptology Well-Known Member

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    Awesome! Great timing! Did you plan to see them coming out this time of year? Or just pure luck
     
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  4. benc63

    benc63 Not so new Member

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    Fantastic event to witness Kayla. I came across the same scene myself many years ago but only had a basic point and shoot camera.
    I got a few shots but then my batteries died. I ran a few klms back to my car, drove to a nearby shop to get more batteries and then
    got back to the termite mound as quick as I could. the juvie was gone and even though I went back many times, I was never able to
    repeat the experience.

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  5. Nero Egernia

    Nero Egernia Subscriber Subscriber

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    Thanks! It was a little bit of luck to begin with when I first started, but after a while you soon learn to look out for the signs. Then finding them becomes easier.

    Good effort benc63! It sure is a wonderful thing to witness, even if it means being eaten alive by mosquitoes and march flies. You got some nice close up shots. If I'd tried to get any closer the juvenile monitors would never have emerged from their hole. Odd that you couldn't find it again. They usually use the termite mound as a home base for a few weeks/months before leaving for good.
     

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