Sand goannas are active predators. Their constant tongue flicking during hunting allows them to detect the scent of hidden or buried prey. The females lay their eggs in the centre of an active termite mound and the resident termites keep the temperature and humidity just right for egg development.
Scientific name: Varanus gouldii
The sand goanna has to be tough to survive in Australia's deserts.
The sand goanna is also known as the racehorse goanna because of the speed with which they run over the red sands of the Australian desert. Reptiles like these are more successful at living ihere than mammals because they require less food. Meals can be scarce in the desert so the sand goanna will even eat scorpions if they can. Goannas do get stung in the process but they appear to be immune to scorpion venom. To protect its eggs from the harsh desert climate, the goanna lays them inside a termite mound to incubate. After nine months they are ready to hatch. When they do, they emerge from the eggs as fully-formed miniature adults. One by one they will climb out of the termite mound to enter one of the toughest habitats on earth.
Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.
The Sand goanna can be found in a number of locations including: Australia. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.
The following habitats are found across the Sand goanna distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.
Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.
Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
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