AFTER more than eight months of artificial incubation one little lace monitor has finally made its way into the world at Snakes Downunder Reptile Park and Zoo at Childers.
The hatchling was one of four eggs laid by resident goannas Belle and Terry who have been at the zoo for a combined two decades.
It may not sound like a big deal but there is a lot of careful planning which goes in to making sure the eggs are collected in time to make sure some of them stay viable.
Park owner Ian Jenkins said they were excited to see one the eggs hatch but would have to wait until the lizard was about a year old to see if it was male or female.
"There were four eggs in this clutch and one survived - which is about normal," he said.
"We incubate them for eight months and give all eggs the benefit of the doubt as to whether they survive or not.
"An ultrasound or x-ray is done to see what sex it is."
Mr Jenkins said Belle took them by surprise this year as they didn't realise she was pregnant.
"We managed to collect them in time which was great," he said.
"If we didn't realise she had had them the male (Terry) would have gone in and ate them."
He said the park was part of a reptile swapping program with other zoos and the new hatchling would be going to live with one of the staff members.
"We keep them here until they are feeding well then off they go," Mr Jenkins said.
"A pair from last years clutch have gone off to the Darling Downs Zoo here in Queensland.
"They are waiting to go to Auckland. They spend about 90 days in quarantine here and another 90 or so in quarantine over there."
Mr Jenkins said the diet for a lace monitor consisted of small mice right up to whole chickens.
"Whole food is always best and when feeding the lizards we keep an eye on them as sometimes they may bite each other or get a little rough," he said.
He said he was passionate about reptiles are had been around them since he was about four years old.
Description: The lace monitor is a dark steel grey above with pale yellow or cream bands or rows of spots and cream underneath, it grows to 1.5 - 2m in length.
The jaws and snout are usually strongly barred. The toes are equipped with long, strong claws, which are used for climbing. The tongue is long and forked like a snake - monitors are the only lizards that have a forked tongue.
Habitat: The lace monitor lives in eastern Australian forests and coastal tablelands.
Diet: A broad and varied diet including birds, insects, bird eggs, reptiles and small mammals. Reproduction: Lace monitors lay between 6 to 12 eggs each year.