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Sand Goanna

Species: Varanus gouldii

Sand Goanna
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Sand Goanna / Gould's Goanna • Varanus gouldii

The species Varanus gouldii is the most widespread and abundant goanna found throughout most of the mainland in Australia.

Known as the Sand Goanna or Gould's Goanna, there are two sub species:

  • V g flavirufus occupies the sandy desert region, and is usually paler and generally redder;
  • V g gouldii occurs over the remaining regions of Australia;

    with both foraging widely over dry open habitats.

In the northern and western part of Australia, the Sand Goanna is active throughout the year, whilst in the south it is inactive during the cooler months. Goannas are good at climbing trees and are also good swimmers.

In late 2005, University of Melbourne researchers discovered that perenties and goannas and other monitors are venomous.

An important bush food for the Indigenous people of Australia, the goanna also feature prominently in Aboriginal mythology and dreamtime stories, as well as being depicted in many pieces of Aboriginal art. Many Indigenous artists have their own unique way of portraying the goanna, whether symbolically as a wavy line and footprints (the tracks left by the goanna),  or as either a flattened 2 dimension or 3 dimensional painting. Goannas also appear in carvings.

Common name Scientific name Where Found
Sand Goanna
Sand Monitor
Gould's Goanna
Racehorse Goanna
Varanus gouldii Throughout mainland Australia, including the arid and desert regions.
Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Scleroglossa
Family: Varanidae
Genus: Varanus
Species: V. gouldii
Sub Species: V. g. flavirufus
  V. g. gouldii

Sand Goanna / Gould's Goanna Images

Sand Goanna (Varanus gouldii flavirufus)  

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Sand Goanna  / Gould's Goanna • Other links

Indigenous Australia
• Koockard (Goanna) from stories of the dreaming
Digital Morphology - An NSF Digital Library at UT Austin
• A dynamic archive of information on digital morphology and high-resolution X-ray computed tomography of biological specimens. Browse through the site and see spectacular imagery and animations and details on the morphology of many representatives of the Earth's biota
- Varanus gouldii, Sand Monitor.
Wikipedia • Sand Goanna

Goanna venom rocks the reptile record, The University of Melbourne, UniNews Vol. 14, No. 22, 28 November - 12 December 2005


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