Australia might be famous for its deadly snakes, spiders and sharks but few think of the goanna as being dangerous. But at up to 2 metres in length, the tree goanna (or lace monitor) is equipped with some intimidating weaponry in the form of long claws for tree climbing and sharp teeth for eating prey such as birds, eggs and other lizards.
Importantly however, they’re not normally outwardly aggressive to people or pets. Their normal defence mechanism is to scurry up a tree. However, sadly in this situation, when confronted with a threat in the form of a brave and inquisitive dog smaller than the monitor and potentially no escape route, it has chosen to scratch and bite its way out of trouble. The claws unfortunately inflicted fatal damage on the Jack Russell while the elderly couple experienced serious scratch injuries and blood loss when they stepped in to try and save their dog. They will thankfully recover from their wounds.
So what should you do to prevent your dog from tangling with a lace monitor? Keep your dog on a leash in wildlife areas. Lace monitors are a relatively common sight in east coast forests and farmland where large trees are found.