Gould’s Monitor
Common Name: Gould’s Monitor
Scientific Name: Varanus gouldii gouldii
Family: Varanidae (Monitors)
Genus: Varanus
Status: Secure – Category 5
Size: TL 1200 – 1600mm

If you are purchasing reptiles in Western Australia, you must hold the required Category license for the animals you are purchasing.

Moderate to large variably patterned monitor with long laterally compressed tail. Three major forms occur, varying in size and colouration. These tend to intergrade in several areas. Two poorly diagnosed subspecies recognised. TL to 1.65 m. V. g. gouldii: (Gray, 1838) Ground colour dark brown to almost black, densely to sparsely flecked or spotted with reddish brown, yellow to white. Larger pale spots, ocelli or clusters of dots form transverse rows (leaving variable amounts of ground colour) between neck and base of tail. Head ground colour, lacking pattern above and variably spotted with yellow to white on sides. Prominent pale-edged dark stripe extends from eye onto neck. Limbs ground colour bearing large (often dark- edged) pale spots. Tail marked with narrow pale bands.

Terrestrial. Excavates sloping burrow, with expanded terminal cavity, at base of low vegetation. Several burrows may provide shelter for one individual. Widespread throughout sub-humid to arid areas of all mainland States. Occurs in virtually all open habitat types, favouring sandy soils. Northern form occurs in tropical woodlands of far north. V. g. flavirufus occupies arid interior to north-west coast. V. g. gouldii occupies remainder of range.

Terrarium: there are several terrariums of different sizes available, the required size will vary based on number of and age/size of the Gould’s Monitor. Terrariums should be large enough to maintain a correct thermal gradient in ambient air temperatures, this means that the Monitor can regulate its body temperature throughout the enclosure. For a single average size mature Gould’s Monitor, we wouldn’t recommend anything smaller than 120x60x60cm (WxDxH), and for a pair of adult Gould’s Monitors an escape proof outdoor enclosure would be suitable, as these can be very large lizards, its important to provide enough room for each individual monitor.


Lighting & heating: Gould’s Monitors are a ‘Day Active’ lizard, meaning they are Diurnal and therefore require high spectrum UVB lighting as well as an intense basking heat source. There are a number of ways to provide UVB, fluorescent 10.0 spectrum tubes or bulbs will provide UVB, a ‘daylight basking’ heat globe will have to be used in conjunction. A mercury vapour globe will provide intense UVA & UVB light, mercury vapour globes are in our opinion superior to fluorescents as it is a longer lasting globe with more intense UVB output, however they cannot be used with a thermostat so work better with a larger enclosure that will easier maintain a thermal gradient. During the day, you want to achieve a basking ‘Hot Spot’ of 38°C and an air temperature ranging from 38°C in the hot end, and down to 25°C in the cool end.  A heat rock or heat tile should be provided as tummy heat to help with digestion, this can also be used as a night time heat source. To monitor the temperatures inside the enclosure a thermometer should always be used.


Furnishings: an elevated basking area can be provided using logs, vines or hammocks. Artificial foliage throughout the enclosure will allow the Monitor plenty of hiding spots and coverage, a water bowl placed in the cool end, and red sand kept at the correct moister is our recommended substrate.


Food in captivity: Gould’s Monitors will eat a variety of insects, including crickets, roaches and silk worms. Mice and raw mince should also be included into their diet. Food items will need to be dusted with calcium and vitamin supplements.


The essentials:

  • Terrarium of appropriate size
  • High spectrum UVB lighting
  • Daytime Basking globe
  • Thermometer
  • Ground heat
  • Water bowl
  • Substrate
  • Branches/Vines
  • Foliage for shelter
  • Calcium and vitamin supplements