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 (see below). 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.

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

Click on the markers on the map below to see photos and obtain a link to the data. You can view all of the data and photos on the BioCollect system (click here).