Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

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The Sand Goanna, also known as the Gould’s Goanna (Varanus gouldii).

The species Varanus gouldii is the most widespread and abundant goanna found throughout most of the mainland in Australia. They forage widely over dry open habitats.

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

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

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
Sand Goanna, Sand Monitor, Gould’s Goanna, Racehorse Goanna.


  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Reptilia
  • Order: Squamata
  • Family: Varanidae
  • Genus: Varanus
  • Subgenus: Varanus
  • Species: V. gouldii
    Sub Species: V. g. flavirufus
    Sub Species: V. g. gouldii
  • Binomial name: Varanus gouldii