Finke Gorge National Park

Finke Gorge NP | Boggy Hole | Palm Valley | Fauna | Flora

Commonly known as the Black Headed Goanna (Varanus tristis), there is two sub-species, V. tristis and V. t. orientalis (the latter one is lighter in colour and lacks the black head. They are also known as the Freckled Goanna or Freckled Monitor.

Widespread over much of northern Australia, they are usually found in the arid regions of Australia such as Central Australia.

Whilst goanna do feature in Aboriginal bush food diet, the Black-headed Goanna is not usually eaten by the Aṉangu people of Central Australia as they are believed to cause bad dreams.

An arboreal reptile, they are often found sheltering in tight spaces including tree the loose bark and tree hollows, as well as rocky crevices.

A shy and fast moving goanna it may cover up to one kilometre per day while searching for its diet of large insects, lizards, nestling birds as well as mouse sized mammals and marsupials.



  • Scientific classification
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Reptilia
  • Order: Squamata
  • Family: Varanidae
  • Genus: Varanus
  • Subgenus: Odatria
  • Species: V. tristis
  • Subspecies:
    V. tristis
    V. t. orientalis
  • Binomial name: Varanus tristis