Xray of Tiger while at Currumbin Wildlife Hospital.
Xray of Tiger while at Currumbin Wildlife Hospital.

Goanna's x-ray reveals its big mistake in chicken coop raid

A GOANNA is lucky to be back in the wild after having narrowly-escaped surgery from eating six golf balls during a raid on a chicken coop in Billinudgel.

The lace monitor, dubbed Tiger, broke into the enclosure Bay and devoured the six balls as well as three eggs.

The owner had placed the balls into the boxes to encourage his chooks to lay there.

When he noticed the balls had disappeared he called wildlife rescue group WIRES, who discovered the engorged Tiger close by and took him away to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital for X-rays and assessment.

Staff pondered whether to operate or see if the balls would pass through the lizard of their own accord and were unsure whether the coating on the balls could withstand the strong digestive acids in the stomach.

But before anything happened, Tiger managed to regurgitate all six balls and the eggs overnight.

WIRES said this was fortunate as surgery would have required fostering and care for Tiger over the winter months.

"It is thought that the regurgitation may well be a stress response and that left to his own devices the outcome may not have been as favourable," a wires spokeswoman said.

"Tiger was able to be released back to his home the following day.

"They feed mostly on reptiles, birds, eggs, insects and are opportunistic scavengers. Equally adept on the ground or high in the trees they are active in the warmer months and tend to lay low and take cover for winter."


Lewis, vet nurse at Currumbin Wildlife Hospital with Tiger.
Lewis, vet nurse at Currumbin Wildlife Hospital with Tiger.

WIRES has warned people of leaving out plastic eggs as they receive many calls for reptiles who have eaten them.

A python that has eaten a placebo egg will most likely suffer a painful end to life with a blocked digestive system.

If you have chickens and need to prompt your hens to lay in set locations, WIRES recommends you avoid using plastic replicas and simply leave one of the real eggs in the laying spot to encourage the chooks to lay there.

Marking the dud eggs with a texter is recommended, or rotate the egg daily, marking it with a food dye so no eggs go to waste.

If you are keen to make a difference for the wildlife in our area, consider joining WIRES. For more information about how you can join and contribute call 66281898.

WIRES relies heavily on the generosity of caring people for support. All donations $2 and over are tax deductible. Now is also a great time to join WIRES and start learning to be a wildlife rescuer. Our 24-hour hotline is for all rescue, advice or membership calls in the Northern Rivers - call 6628 1898 or go to http://wiresnr.org/Helping.html to find out how you can help.