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A Run-In With An Australian Desert Lizard
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A Run-In With An Australian Desert Lizard


We could tell you all morning about some of the wonders of the wilderness but it's better to let you listen for yourself. MORNING EDITION has taken occasional trips into the wilderness to listen. We're tracking down wildlife experts who record the sounds of rare birds, lizards, frogs - anything that makes a noise.

And today we're going to visit Australia with David Stewart. He had a run-in with an unusual desert lizard called a goanna.

DAVID STEWART: The sand goanna is a large lizard. There are a number of species in Australia. This one mainly lives in desert regions.

(Soundbite of goanna)

STEWART: It's about seven feet long. It lives on the ground but it certainly can climb trees and it chooses to raid a bird's nest for the eggs and young.

(Soundbite of goanna)

STEWART: It was a very hot day. It was about 125 degrees Fahrenheit and this very large goanna suddenly reared up on its hind legs and started making this sound. I think it's a threat call. I was just too close to it.

(Soundbite of goanna)

STEWART: So I actually go behind a tree and taped the microphone around the tree with this animal about two meters from me making this incredible roaring sound, if you like. And he went on for quite a while. I got my recording and we both happily went on our way.

(Soundbite of goanna)

STEWART: What can happen is as the animal becomes alarmed and you're standing out on the grassy plain, it'll climb the nearest tree. If it's you, it'll finish up on top of your head.

(Soundbite of goanna)

(Soundbite of music)

INSKEEP: The series is called Sounds Wild. Think of it as Story Corps for critters. The recordings come from the Cornell University laboratory of ornithology. NPR's Christopher Joyce worked with the lab to get those sounds for us.

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