Sand goanna

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Sand goanna
Varanus-gouldii.jpg
Gould's monitor or sand goanna in the Tanami Desert
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Lacertilia
Family: Varanidae
Genus: Varanus
Subgenus: V. (Varanus)
Species: V. gouldii
Binomial name
Varanus gouldii
(Gray, 1838)
Sand Goanna.png
Distribution of the Sand goanna

The sand goanna (Varanus gouldii) is a large Australian monitor lizard, also known as Gould's monitor, the sand monitor, or racehorse goanna.[1]

In some Aboriginal languages, the sand goanna is called bungarra,[2] a term commonly used by nonaboriginal people in Western Australia, too.

The name 'sand monitor' can be used to describe various other species. Gould's monitor is a terrestrial or "ground-dwelling" reptile that excavates large burrows for shelter. Rock escarpments and tree hollows are also suitable dwellings. V. gouldii inhabits a vast range throughout Australia, and reaches an average length of 140 cm (4.6 ft) and can weigh as much as 6 kg (13 lb). They can be found in northern and eastern Australia, where they inhabit open woodlands and grasslands. V. g. flavirufus]], a subspecies, resides in Australia's interior. In some places, however, the ranges of Gould's, V. g. flavirufus and the Argus monitor overlap. The similarities between the species and their close proximity frequently cause confusion.

The sand monitor is a relentless forager. It is diurnal, meaning most of its activities take place during the day. Anything smaller than itself will be eagerly devoured. The diets of hatchlings and juveniles often consist mostly of insects and small lizards, but generally varies more with age. Adult monitors will prey on mice, small birds large insects, small lizard species, snakes, and carrion. They are seemingly immune to snake venom and will kill and eat even the most venomous species such as the Fierce Snake. The sand goanna does consume smaller species of monitors: Ackies, rock monitors and other dwarf species are often found and eaten. It is common to see a Gould's disturbing rock piles in an attempt to flush out any Odatria. It lays it eggs in termite mounds to protect them from the harsh desert climate.

Goannas, like snakes, have forked tongues which they regularly flick side-to-side near the ground or amongst leaf litter, and are thought to looking for olfactory clues to prey.[3]

Subspecies[edit]

  • Gould's goanna - V. g. gouldi
  • Desert sand monitor - V. g. flavirufus

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.wildherps.com/species/V.gouldii.html
  2. ^ Flora and fauna of Australia’s West Pilbara Coast Karratha Visitor Centre website, accessed: 30 July 2012
  3. ^ [1] Thompson (1995), p. 111.

Sources and photos[edit]

in a semi-urban environment." G. G. Thompson. Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia, 78 (4), December 1995, pp. 107–114.