Waltja Tjutangku Palyapayi

'Doing Good Work with Families'

Sand goannas are tough survivors around the central desert region. They are active predators and can even catch and eat scorpions! Their constant tongue flicking during hunting allows them to detect the scent of hidden or buried prey. The females often lay their eggs in termite mounds where they are incubated.

Women light fires in mature spinifex grass to clear the ground and make it easier to find occupied burrows. The women use long digging sticks to find the goannas and dig and pull them out. The goannas are cooked in the coals. The sand goannas are much prized by the women as a food source across the desert communities and usually people are keen to find 4 or 5 each as they share this meat with many others.

There are many local paintings with goannas and stories about them.