This article is about the giant lizard from Australia. You may be looking for the similarly-named giant shark Megalodon.

Megalania FineArtAmerica, CUBED


Vital statistics

Kind Other
Country Australia
First documented sighting circa 10,000ya (prehistoric encounters)
Latest documented sighting January 2008 (tracks)
Other names Giant Ripper Lizard
Ripper Lizard

Scientific information

Recognized by science? No
Proposed species name Megalania prisca
Varanus prisca
Major investigators Rex Gilroy

Popular Culture

Episodes featured in MonsterQuest: Real Dragons
Monsters Resurrected: Giant Ripper (cryptozoological side discussed)
Pop culture references Monsters we Met: The Burning
Monsters Resurrected: Giant Ripper

Megalania is a giant Australian lizard. Declared to be extinct, sightings still persist, and there are numerous footprint casts from modern times.

The closest relative known to still live is the Komodo dragon. The Komodo dragon remained hidden to western eyes until 1910, and it was recently discovered that females could breed asexually, through a process known as parthenogenesis. This means the possible Megalania population could be far smaller than thought, and this fact counters the common argument about population.

Physical appearance and biologyEdit

Megalania is almost identical to a Komodo dragon or goanna, but much, much larger.



A number of undated sightings have occurred. During the middle of the day, a surveyor returned to his truck. Tired, he wanted nothing more than to go home. He spied what he thought was a fallen tree near his car. Blaming his fatigue for his lack of details he climbed in his car and slammed the door. The "log" suddenly bolted away. It ended up being a lizard, approximately of 15 feet in length.

One incident includes a farmer who observed a gigantic lizard walking along one of his fields. It walked along a wire fence, so the farmer used a set of fence posts as a guide. His estimate of the beast was a length of twenty to twenty-five feet[1].

In Alice Springs, a group of aborigines reported seeing a giant reptile come through their camp. Another sighting by a scout master and boy scouts report a 22 foot long lizard[2].


Many cave paintings of Megalania are thought to be less than 10,000 years old[3].

There are Aboriginal legends of Megalania Prisca. One story tells of a Megalania that wandered into the ocean. The Megalania is attacked by a great white shark. The Megalania kills the shark and drags it to shore.

As noted in the Diprotodon article, oral traditions rarely last over five hundred years without suffering some form of distortion, suggesting that Megalania was around at least five hundred years ago.


The Australian town of Euroa was terrorized by a giant lizard in 1890. The story tells of a 30 foot reptile raiding farms and killing livestock. Many eyewitnesses reportedly saw the creature before it retreated back into the bush[4].


A retired Army Major claimed to have seen a giant goanna when he was a young man, in 1913, at Emerald Creek in Queensland.

circa 1960'sEdit

A French priest in the 1960's was traveling up river with a native guide in order to reach his mission. During the trip he spotted a large lizard lying on a fallen tree in the sun. He told the native to stop, but being badly frightened, the native continued the journey. The priest returned to the spot the following morning and measured the tree. It was 40 feet long, yet the lizard almost matched it[5].


In the summer of 1963, a fifteen-foot-long giant lizard was reported by the Karlsens, a couple traveling on a bush road between Brisbane and the Gold Coast. It came out of a ravine, and ran across the road in front of their vehicle[6].


In 1981, a soldier from Queensland reported a sighting from October of 1968, when he was with his unit on a jungle training exercise, on the Normanby Range.

The unit came upon the remains of a torn apart cow in a swampy area. They discovered “large reptile tracks and tail marks” in the area of the dead cow. It appeared to have been killed elsewhere, and dragged to the swamp. The unit left quickly[7].


Four teenagers claimed to see a giant reptile on a jungle track ahead of them near Townsville in 1977. They described it as having a huge head, long neck, “enormous legs and big claws, and a long, thick tail.” They said its body was “almost elephant-like,” and covered with “large scales of a mottled grey colour.” Its length was more than forty feet, and it stood at least six feet on all fours[8].

1979 FootprintsEdit

In July 1979, Rex Gilroy was informed by a farmer of giant reptilian footprints found in a field. Across the field were 30 or so tracks from what looked like an enormous lizard. Rain had washed away most of the tracks, but Gilroy was able to make a plaster cast of one that had been preserved[9].

Also in 1979, Herpetologist Frank Gordon returned to his vehicle in the Wattagan Mountains in New South Wales. After starting his engine he saw, what he at first thought was a log. It ended up being a lizard of some 30 feet or more in length[10].

circa 2000'sEdit

At some point, a Central Queensland farmer allegedly recovered a number of unusual bones on his property. Believing he had made an important find he gave the bones to university paleontologists in Brisbane. The bones caused a sensation among Australian paleontologists, because they were determined to be Megalania bones; and only three hundred years old. Allegedly, the find was quickly "hushed up"[11].

2008 FootprintsEdit

In January of 2008, Gilroy found additional tracks on a forest trail about 185 miles from Moruya. He made a cast of these lizard-like tracks and found them to be very similar to the tracks from 1979[12].

2008 MonsterQuest InvestigationEdit

In 2008, Gilroy and Gary Opit carried out an investigation in Wollemi National Park, although they failed to find any evidence[13].

Image galleryEdit

Physical reconstructionsEdit

See Megalania image gallery.

Artistic reconstructionsEdit

See Megalania image gallery.

Physical evidenceEdit

See Megalania image gallery.

Notes and referencesEdit