The great Australian island continent is a downunder, topsy-turvy world in more ways than one.(walking dinosaur costume) Instead of an interlocking guild system of small, medium, and large predators, filled mostly by mammals, such as we see in the Serengeti, the Australian predator guilds feature monitor lizards in many of the roles we are accustomed to believe were reserved for the Mammalia.(animatronic dinosaur costume) The badger role is played well by Gould’s monitor, a digging predator specializing in buried prey. On other continents the brotherhood of furry hunters—weasels, ferrets, and mongooses— chase the small prey, but “down under” the long-bodied small predators are pygmy monitors. Tourists in minibuses gawk at leopards sleeping at midday in Kenyan game parks, but in the Australian outback the traveling lizard watcher can catch a glimpse of the seven-foot Perentie monitor, draped over a eucalyptus branch to escape the noonday heat. Native Aussie mammals take a decidedly second place to monitors in the freshwater guilds, too.
The greatest lacertilian hunter of this region is, however, missing today. (animatronic dinosaur)A few thousand years ago a monitor Kong stalked the Australian landscape: Megalania, a massive half-ton lizard predator as big as a Kodiak bear. Fossil Megalania vertebrae and jaws with monstrous curved teeth were first discovered a century ago by pioneering Aussie naturalists and now are known from sites across Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria. With the eyewitness accounts of Komodo dragons in mind, one must suppress an involuntary shudder at the image of a resurrected thousand- pound ora rushing out to tear apart the largest Australian mammal.