A couple in Australia and their pet dog were attacked by a giant carnivorous lizard

Susanna Heller
Goanna lizard

Rob Griffith/AP Photo


  • A 72-year-old man was seriously injured after attempting to break up a fight between his pet dog and a giant Goanna lizard, the Australian Broadcasting Company reported.
  • Attempting to save his pup, a long-haired Jack Russell named Lilly, the man sustained a laceration and possible fracture on his right arm. His wife and dog were also injured.
  • The attack was described by the CQ Rescue as "a horrific and freak ordeal."
  • Goannas are a carnivorous monitor lizard found in Australia.
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An elderly couple from Queensland, Australia, is recovering after being attacked by a giant lizard while walking their dog. Authorities say that a Goanna is responsible for the attack that required the 72-year-old man to get surgery.

"He was breaking up an attack on his dog — he was rescuing his dog," Shane Tucker, the senior operations supervisor for Queensland Ambulance, told The Guardian. "He has had quite significant injuries to his arm and leg and has had some blood loss."

While attempting to save his pup, a long-haired Jack Russell named Lilly, the 72-year-old man sustained a laceration on his right arm, a possible fractured right arm, and a wounded right leg that had "severe bleeding," a spokesperson for the CQ Rescue told the Australia Broadcasting Company.

The man was flown to Mackay Base Hospital where he was treated for his injuries. The woman, whose name and age were not disclosed, was treated for injuries to her foot at Proserpine Hospital.

Earlier reports described that his dog had died in the attack, but the ABC reports that she is alive, and has sustained serious injuries. Authorities are calling the incident "a horrific and freak ordeal."

Goannas are a kind of carnivorous monitor lizard found in Australia. They can grow up to 6-feet long and are known for their predatory behavior, sharp teeth, and claws.

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"Unfortunately these lizards basically eat anything that's made out of meat, they're not fussy at all — so rodents, birds, they'll even eat other lizards, other reptiles, so something the size of a small dog or a cat is right up there on the menu for these guys," Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary reptile keeper Dave Ryan told the ABC.

Tucker echoed those sentiments, adding the couple is actually quite fortunate, all things considered.

"I believe they are quite an aggressive animal. Any wild animal that is cornered is going to protect itself," he told the ABC. "Definitely out of the ordinary. Sounds like he's quite lucky, however, to have sustained the injuries that he has and still be in a stable condition."

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