Goanna Watch

Goanna Watch is a Discovery Circle project

Goannas are the last remaining large, native, terrestrial predators in southern South Australia, and they need our help!

In southern South Australia, goanna numbers are declining.  A loss of suitable habitat makes it difficult for goanna populations to persist, and much of their remaining habitat is degraded or fragmented. We need to know more about goanna populations, particularly information about where they are and how many there are. But it is difficult for scientists to find them as there are so few of them remaining. For example, it is estimated that there are now fewer than 100 Rosenberg’s Goannas (also known as Heath Goannas) in each of the seven mainland Natural Resources Management regions of South Australia (see here for a map of the regions), and they are a Threatened Species.

You can help to gather valuable information needed on goannas in South Australia. This information is vital for the development of management strategies to address the loss of goannas.

How to participate

If you see a goanna please let us know where you saw it. Goannas are shy, so do not approach or disturb them. Do not disturb the habitat either, just make a note of the location and, if possible, take a photo. You can then submit your sighting using our online system. See the goanna species list below and click on the “record” button for the species you have seen. If you are unsure of the species, use the last button below (“record an unknown goanna sighting”). To submit your first sighting you will need to  complete a short registration process.

Be careful: do not chase, catch or handle goannas. Ensure your personal safety at all times, particularly if you see a goanna on a road.

Injured goannas: If you see an injured goanna, call the Fauna Rescue hotline on 8289 0896.

Any questions? You can contact us via email: discoverycircle@unisa.edu.au or by phone: 08 8302 9999.

Goanna species to report:


Lace Monitor, photo by Mark_Hutchinson

Lace Monitor

Scientific name: Varanus varius
Description: Up to 2 metres, with distinct bands around mouth, and can climb trees.
Photo courtesy of Mark Hutchinson

Record a Lace Monitor sighting


Heath Goanna, photo by Richard Garnham

Heath or Rosenberg’s Goanna

Scientific name: Varanus rosenbergi
Description: Up to 1.5 metres, curved markings on neck, and no pale tip on the tail.
Photo courtesy of Richard Garnham

Record a Heath Goanna sighting


Sand Goanna, photo by Kym Smith

Sand or Gould’s  Goanna

Scientific name: Varanus gouldii
Description: Up to 1.5 metres, straight markings on neck, found in sandy areas, has a pale tip on the tail.
Photo courtesy of Kym Smith

Record a Sand Goanna sighting


Perentie Goanna, photo by Bernard Dupont

Perentie Goanna

Scientific name: Varanus giganteus
Description: Up to 2.5 metres, spotted markings over body.
Photo courtesy of Bernard Dupont (source: ALA)

Record a Perentie Goanna sighting


Unsure which type of goanna it is? You can still record it for us…

Record an unknown goanna sighting

More information

For more information about these goannas, download a useful factsheet from Natural Resources South Australia: click here (pdf file, requires Adobe Reader, 902kb)


Goanna Watch sightings

The map below will automatically be updated as goanna sightings are recorded. Each dot represents an individual sighting. Click on the dots to see details for the sightings.

You can move the map around by ‘clicking and dragging’ with your cursor or by clicking on the navigation arrows near the top left of the map. You can zoom in or out by turning the wheel on your mouse (as long as your cursor is over the map on the screen), or by using the ‘+’ and ‘-‘ buttons near the top left of the map. As you zoom in on the sightings (the dots), more sightings may appear. Other features can be accessed by clicking links just above the map, including:

  • View a list of all the sightings (click ‘List’)
  • View the gallery of images that have been submitted with sightings (click ‘Images’)
  • Download the information – various file formats are available (KML, SHP or XLS; click ‘Download’)