|About: Spiny-tailed monitors
(Varanus acanthurus) are a dwarf monitor
species that inhabit rocky habitat throughout
Range: These monitors range through the northern part of Western Australia, most of the Northern Territory and inland western Queensland.
Habitat: These lizards are closely associated with rocky outcrops throughout their range. They dig burrows, generally beneath large rocks, and shelter among rocks during the day.
Natural History Notes: Despite their diminutive size, these lizards are related to the Komodo dragon and other large, well-known monitor species. They have a typical varanid appearance with a stocky build. They are built for burrowing and are avid diggers. This needs to be taken into account when keeping these animals in captivity, and they should be given a deep substrate for burrowing. Their tail is lined with sharp spines, giving them their common name. They use their tails to block the opening of the burrow to protect themselves from predators.
They are primarily insectivores, but like any monitor, will eat anything they can overpower. Preditors include larger goanas, pythons, birds of prey, and various introduced mammals, including cats and foxes. They are very warry, especially when kept outside, and keep a watchful eye on the sky.
Frequently referred to as ackies, which is a familiarization of their species name, acanthurus, these monitors are one of the most commonly kept species in herpetoculture. There are two "types" of ackies in captivity: the reds and the yellows. We have a pair of red acanthurus that we are currently working with.
Red Ackie Female
Male Red Ackie
Young ackie found in the outskirts of Alice Springs
Wild female acanthurus, Alice Springs