The Gould’s Monitor Lizard (Varanus gouldii) is a large Australian reptile, also known as the Sand Goanna, Sand Monitor, or Racehorse Goanna.
The Gould’s Monitor Lizard varies in colour and pattern. Its back can be brown to greenish-grey or almost black, with scattered markings and spots of lighter colours, usually yellowish to cream. Its underbelly is yellow or cream with dark markings. Usually it has a black stripe on the side of its head, with cream or yellowish stripes above and below the black stripe. Its tail is light-brown or black, with a white or yellow tip. It has a forked tongue. It has long, sharp claws.
It grows to about 140 centimetres (55 inches) long.
The Gould’s Monitor Lizard is terrestrial, living on the ground. It digs large burrows for shelter, and will also live in rock crevices.
It is widespread across most of Australia, except in far north Queensland and the southern coastal areas. It prefers arid open woodlands and grasslands.
It is diurnal, active during the day. It forages for food and eats a wide range of animals, such as insects, lizards, mice, small birds, and snakes.
The female Gould’s Monitor Lizard lays 10-17 eggs in a termite mound. She digs a tunnel towards the middle of the mound, then refills the tunnel. The termite mound helps to regulate the temperature and humidity for ideal hatching.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM