Eating a sand monitor lizard (Goanna)

In the former blog I described seeing a majestic sand monitor lizard very close by on my drive from Menzies to Sandstone on a side road. Driving further on I was surprised to see many more Goannas left and right of the track. This was the densest Goanna population I ever saw before. Presumably, the local rancher thinned out the Dingo population heavily and Goannas thrived.

Road killed Goanna

Driving further on, a dead Sand monitor lizard was laying sideward on the track. Still very freshly killed and most likely run over by the truck I met before. Goannas are a protected species in Western Australia and only indigenous people are allowed to hunt them for food. But this one was already dead, still good to eat, and I decided for myself, that under such circumstances it was ethically ok to try it once in a lifetime and for educational purposes to cook this specimen. I therefore took it, looked for a place in the bush for safely lighting a fire, and rolled up my sleeping bag for an overnight stay.

Baking Goanna in the ashes

Gutting and skinning the Goanna was easy and done like for any other four-legged animal. I scraped and salted the skin incl. claws (had enough salt with me), rolled it up and put it into a newspaper. Both hind legs and the tail came first for baking into the ashes. Followed by the rest of the carcass. Just the guts and the head were not eaten but dug into a hole and covered properly.

Taste of Goanna meat

About smell, taste and texture of hind legs and other carcass parts is not much to comment on. Good BBQ smell, taste like ? I don’t know – but anyway good. And the texture was like normal long-grained meat at the legs and otherwise indistinctive.

Interesting was the tail meat. It consisted of two completely different parts. The two inner strings along the spine were whitish-yellowish fat. And the surrounding meat layer was distinctive red, oily meat in long muscle strings. Smell after roasting again was Gourmet BBQ, taste of inner and outer meat string was like oily snake meat and the texture was long-grained.

All-in-all, the only setback was, that it was a bit too much for one person to eat. It’s very filling. That’s really a family meal for the evening. But otherwise, it was very good meat and at the end I was happy not having let this animal spoil alongside the road.

Nevertheless, the educational purpose was fulfilled, and it was the first and last time that I ate a Goanna – even if it was road-killed. Just on principal conservational reasons and in order not to violate the law.

Lessons learned by eating a Goanna

  • All meaty parts of a Goanna are excellent to eat, except the head.
  • Head should be discarded due to the venomous glands in each jaw.
  • Meat has to be properly roasted with a minimum temperature of over 70 degree C even within the bones