Red Ackie Monitor

Red Ackie Monitor


Found throughout arid northern Australia as well as on a small group of islands off the north and west coasts of Australia.


This lizard prefers arid, flat terrain near rocky outcrops. It often burrows under large boulders that serve as retreats and areas where animals may regulate their body temperature without being exposed to predators.


The red ackie, or ridge-tailed monitor, is considered a dwarf monitor, reaching a maximum length of three feet. Its flat body and spiny tail are perfectly designed to help it squeeze into crevices when threatened. They have vibrant orange red to rich reddish brown ground color with rows of yellow ocelli (eye spots) with black dots in the center running from the neck to the tail base. A broad pale edged dark reddish brown stripe extends from the snout, through the eye, to the neck. The head is also dark reddish brown in color with paler patterns matching the body\\\\\\\'s ground color.

Males have a larger head than females and the female’s head is narrower and more pointed. Eye color ranges from red to orange with black pupils and can be used as an indicator of an animal’s sex—males have a more fiery red color than females. The tail is ringed with backwardly projecting spines that are blunt to the touch

Red Ackie Monitor

It uses its tail for gripping onto the rocks as well as to protect the more vulnerable parts of its body.

These lizards are very curious and can be observed inspecting their environment often digging and searching for new areas to explore. Males are generally more outgoing than females and are visibly prominent in their habitat, whereas females often prefer the security of hiding places and tend to be more reclusive.


Although little is known about the reproduction of these lizards, they are thought to mate in the late dry season from August to November. Females lay between two to 11 eggs. The number is thought to be dependent upon the size of the female. Hatchlings emerge during the wet season from December to March after 85-160 day incubation period.

Interesting Facts:

Called “goannas” in Australia, monitor lizard’s range in size from the eight-inch, short-tailed monitor to the 10-foot Komodo dragon.

When inside rock crevices this monitor can use its spiny tail very effectively to wedge it self against the rock surfaces thus making it extremely difficult to be dislodged by predators.

The genus name, "Varanus" comes from the word waral ورل, which is translated to English as "monitor". It is believed that this name came from their ability to stand on their two hind legs and appear to "monitor" their surroundings led to the original Arabic name.

Red Ackie Monitor

All 60 species of monitors are classified as threatened due to loss of habitat and over-hunting.

Did YOU Know?    
The severed tails of these animals are sometimes encountered and suggest that this armored appendage is considered inedible and discarded by predators.
Red Ackie Monitor
Class: reptiles
Order: Squamata
Family: Varanidae
Genus: Varanus
Species: acanthurus acanthurus
Length: Measure 16 inches to three feet.
Weight: Up to 12 ounces.
Average Lifespan: Live up to 30 years
Wild Diet: Insects and small lizards
Zoo Diet: Crickets, mealworms, wax worms and earthworms
Predators: Raptors, snakes, and other monitors all prey on the spiny-tailed monitor. They consume adults, juveniles, and unhatched eggs.
Where at the Zoo? Small Animal Building

Learn more about reptiles or animals from Australasia!
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