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Rosenberg's Goanna

There are about 25 species of Goanna. Goanna is the name given to the Monitor lizards native to Australia. Rosenberg’s Goanna, Varanus rosenbergi, is a large one.  It can grow to about one and a half metres long, and weigh three and a half Kilograms.

Humans often disagree about things.  Reptile experts are no exception.  Although I have given this animal the specific name of rosenbergi, some people consider it to be a type of the Sand Monitor, Varanus Gouldii var. rosenbergi.


Rusenburg’s Goanna is common on Kangaroo Island, but this may be the only place it is common.  It also occurs on the mainland of Australia and can sometimes be found from New South Wales to southern Western Australia.


Goannas are largely a tropical group of animals, but Rosenburg’s Goanna is an exception, living in the cooler half of the Australian mainland.


Although this animal certainly had some native predators, its main one now appears to be the Fox.  The European Red Foxes probably especially eat the young Goannas.  In areas of Western Australia that have been extensively baited for Foxes, young Rosenberg’s Goannas seem to be building up in numbers.

On Kangaroo Island there are no Foxes and there is an average of about 20 Rosenberg’s Goannas per hectare.

Goannas and Rabbits

On Kangaroo Island, there were enough Goannas to wipe out the Rabbits.  On the mainland Goannas are a predator of Rabbits, but there are not enough Goannas to make much difference to the Rabbit population.  One of the reasons for the lack of Goannas and other Rabbit eating native predators is that the Foxes kill them.

Goannas will dig their own burrows, but they will also make use of burrows made by other animals, including Rabbits.

In the Rabbit control program, it recommended that after the Rabbits have been killed; the Rabbit warrens be destroyed.  This also gets rid of the Goannas.

Then when the Rabbits come back there are less predators to eat them.


Goanna on Kagaroo Island
By Cody Pope [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons