By EMMA CORNFORD
GOANNAS enjoy eating dog food, but a goanna found at South Grafton yesterday afternoon apparently also enjoys taking the odd bite out of dogs.
The 1.5metre-long reptile had been slinking around a backyard in Armidale Road for a few days before the homeowners decided to call WIRES, thinking the lizard could not escape.
But when Clarence Valley WIRES reptile co-ordinator Terry Webb got to the scene, the goanna had proved everyone wrong and escaped to a nextdoor neighbour's yard, where it bit a young staffordshire bull terrier.
"By the time I got there the goanna was sitting on a fence between houses and had already bitten one of the dogs in the neighbour's yard," Mr Webb said.
Approaching the lizard slowly and with his wife shaking bushes to distract it, Mr Webb grabbed the goanna by the tail. Mr Webb plunked the unwelcome fence climber into a canvas bag, held open by Mrs Webb.
"You don't tend to get a lot of goannas around town. They tend to be fairly secretive and run up a tree at the first sign of danger so I don't know what this one was doing hanging around," he said.
"I'VE been getting reptiles for two years now and this is only the third one I've ever seen."
The dog was bitten after it went for the goanna while the other dog in the yard had a hold of the tail.
"The dog went for (the goanna's) head which turned out to be the wrong thing to do and it got bitten right back."
Despite having some skin torn from its leg, Mr Webb said the plucky puppy got off lightly.
"A goanna's quite capable of taking off a finger with its bite if it's fair dinkum and will easily go down to the bone. If it bites an arm it will hang off there for an hour and has to want to let go; you can't prise its jaws open."
Despite the drama, there was a happy ending. Although the dog will have to undergo a course of antibiotics to ward off any infection from the bacteria-packed bite, the goanna was released back into the wild around 10km from town.
nTHE annual Clarence Valley WIRES garage sale will take place during the Easter long weekend at the old Bunnings' warehouse in Treelands Drive.
If anyone wishes to donate goods for the sale, or finds a goanna in their backyard, contact the WIRES hotline on 0500 894 737.