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The species Varanus giganteus, commonly known as the Perentie, is found throughout the middle of Australia stretching from Western Australia through Central Australia and deep into the outback of Queensland. They are found in the arid regions and are usually associated with rocky ranges and outcrops, using the crevices, caves and burrows as shelter. Foraging over large areas, they are also seen in sandy desert regions.

They are seen in the Kings Canyon and surrounding region. They are depicted in the dreaming stories and paintings of local aboriginal painting, as well as being a food source.

The Perentie has a long neck, an angular looking brow, and long laterally compressed tail. It appears to have pale cream to yellow spots arranged in rows across the body and tail.

This species was once considered to be a subspecies of Ctenophorus caudicinctus. It is found in the rocky ranges from the central to the northern regions of the Northern Territory.

Images © Greg Sully

Check out our Fauna Index and images on Perenties.


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