Australian Wildlife

  Gould's Monitor (Varanus gouldii)

Gould's Monitor | Varanus gouldii photo
Gould's Monitor or Sand goanna in a dry creekbed, Chace ranges, South Australia

Image by Peripitus - Some rights reserved.    (view image details)

Gould's Monitor | Varanus gouldii photo
Gould's Monitor

Image by Geowombats - Some rights reserved.    (view image details)


Gould's Monitor varies considerably in colour and pattern. The back varies from brown to greenish-grey to almost black, with scattered flecks and spots of lighter colours. These spots are arranged in irregular bands. Sometimes it has light cream or yellow ocelli markings (round spots with a darker centre) . Usually has a black stripe on the side of the head edged above and below with cream or white. The tail is light brown or black with white or yellowish tip.

Other Names
Sand Monitor

Grows to 1.5m total length.

coastal eucalypt forest to the sandy desert of the arid interior

insects, reptiles, birds, mammals and carrion

Nests in active termite mound. The female digs a tunnel towards the center of the mound 50 to 60 cm deep with a large cavity at the end. She lays 10 to 17 eggs into the tunnel. Afterwards she refills the tunnel, and the termites reconstruct the mound around the goanna eggs. The termites regulate the temperature and humidity

Gould's Monitor is found in most parts of mainland Australia except south Victoria and extreme south east of New South Wales. Common around Perth (where it is known as the Racehorse Goanna)

distribution map showing range of Varanus gouldii in Australia

Map is from Atlas of Living Australia website at https://biocache.ala.org.au licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia License

Order:Squamata (Sauria)
Common Name:Gould's Monitor

Relatives in same Genus
  Ridge-tailed Monitor (V. acanthurus)
  Stripe-tailed Monitor (V. caudolineatus)
  Perentie (V. giganteus)
  Pygmy Mulga Monitor (V. gilleni)
  Kimberley Rock Monitor (V. glauerti)
  Mangrove Monitor (V. indicus)
  Pygmy Rock Monitor (V. kingorum)
  Mertens' Water Monitor (V. mertensi)
  Yellow Spotted Monitor (V. panoptes)
  Emerald Tree Monitor (V. prasinus)
  Heath Monitor (V. rosenbergii)
  Spencer's Monitor (V. spenceri)
  Storr's Monitor (V. storri)
  Spotted Tree Monitor (V. timorensis)
  Black-headed Monitor (V. tristis)
  Lace Monitor / Goanna (V. varius)