Stroke of luck saves goanna who swallowed golf balls
IT was not eggs-actly the meal this hungry goanna was expecting when he raided a chicken coop in search of a free feed.
The half-dozen eggs the big lace monitor thought he was devouring turned out to be golf balls, left under a broody hen by its owners to encourage her to lay.
The reptile, dubbed Tiger (as in Woods) hit the rough when he swallowed the balls - along with three real eggs - in a chook pen at Ocean Shores near Byron Bay.
Feeling somewhat fowl, the goanna ended up in the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary Hospital on the Gold Coast, where head vet Dr Michael Pyne feared he would have to operate.
But in a sweet stroke of luck, the lace monitor regurgitated all six golf balls to avoid going under the scalpel.
"He would have been feeling a bit unwell but once he brought all the golf balls up, it was happy days," Dr Pyne said.
"He's very lucky - if the balls had found their way into his intestine, it would have caused a really serious blockage."
Dr Pyne said he had treated snakes which had swallowed golf balls but never a goanna.
In 2008, he removed four golf balls from a carpet python in what was described as world-first surgery.
Dr Pyne urged people with chooks to make coops snake and goanna-proof.
Tiger, meanwhile, has been released back into the wild, well away from the scene of his dangerous egg-sploits.