I was thrilled to discover recently that a beautiful Gould’s Goanna (Varanus gouldii) has made a burrow at the edge of the brick paving on our verandah. This local reptile is relatively common in bushland around the Perth hills but I’ve rarely seen them in modified gardens (like ours) which are not adjoining bush remnants. This animal is quite young, maybe a couple of years old, and still has very vivid markings across his back.
I suspect this goanna dispersed from his nest in nearby bush as a hatchling and found our place had lots of plant cover, so decided to stay. Now he’s grown to a reasonable size and we’ve noticed him because he’s made his home very close to ours! Not only is it exciting to see this beautiful animal, but we know he will help us in the garden by eating many pest species like insects and mice. Goanna diet also includes other small reptiles and birds’ eggs.
Young goannas such as this are very wary around their burrows, and will sit at the entrance looking for danger before emerging. The slightest movement nearby can make them dash back inside for protection! If you catch them away from a burrow, they will rush away at great speed, which is why they acquired the nickname ‘Racehorse Goanna’.
I managed to snap this first photo of our fella from inside our lounge room, which allows you to get quite close without him seeing. Later in the afternoon I saw him in the garden bed a few metres from his burrow, and snuck slowly through the rocks with my big lens to grab a nice close head shot.
How cool is it to be sharing your space with such a beautiful reptile!