Monitor Lizard Facts

Monitor lizards are the ancient reptiles that remind you of the dinosaur age. They are a member of the Varanidae family and genus Varanus. They share this genus with the Komodo Dragons and the crocodile monitor. There are many species of these reptiles. The article below will give you some fascinating monitor lizard facts.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom:

Animalia

Phylum:

Chordata

Class:

Reptilia

Order:

Squamata

Family:

Varanidae

Genus:

Varanus

Habitat and Distribution

They are found living in habitats around river banks and coastal forests. Most of these are terrestrial kill lizards in nature. A few species are arboreal and semi-aquatic. They are found living in Africa, India, Sri Lanka, China, Indonesia, Philippines, New Guinea, Australia, and islands along the Indian Ocean and South China sea.

Physical Appearance

They are large reptiles that can reach a size as small as 12 cm to up to 310 cm. They weigh about 2.2 to 366 lbs. They have really long necks and powerful claws and tails. Their limbs are well-developed and are used to hunt down food and even grab fruits. They are oviparous reptiles and lay about 7 to 37 eggs at a time. Their scaly skin can be either tan, brown, gray, or green in color.

Diet

They are predominantly carnivorous in nature. Their diet includes eggs, fish, birds, small reptiles, and even small mammals. A few species are known to eat the natural fruits and vegetation found in the regions they live in.

Intelligence

They are said to be intelligent creatures. A few scientists have found some species that are able to recognize numbers up to 6! These intelligent creatures are used as a signal to spot any approaching crocodile in the wild. They are even known for their team work in wild. One monitor lizard tends to divert the attention of a female crocodile away from her nest. The other uses this opportunity to forage through her nest and steal her eggs for food. A few captive species are known to recognize their trainers and feeders. Many people who keep these reptiles as pets claim, each individual lizard has a distinct personality.

As Pets

Many people think of getting monitor lizards as pets. But, they do not do enough research regarding their care. They need hiding places, appropriate temperature, and substrate in their enclosures. When these lizards are excited or feel threatened, they tend to lash out with their tales and sharp claws. Nile monitors and water monitors can reach a size of about 7 feet. They are predatory in nature and can be very dangerous. Therefore, these species are not suitable for beginners as pets.

Quick Facts

These reptiles have forked tongues like snakes. This tongue is used to detect prey scents in the air.

Many are known to be expert swimmers.

The largest monitor lizard in Africa is the Nile Monitor.

The Earless monitor lizard is a semi-aquatic lizard known to continuously grow all its life.

The jaws of monitor lizards are so strong, that once they bite into something, it is very difficult to let them go of it.

They cannot grow back their tails like other lizards once they lose it.

They swallow their prey whole in one gulp.

The Nile monitor lays its eggs in the termite nest as it helps give its eggs natural insulation.

The largest monitor lizard of the genus Varanus is the Komodo dragon.

These exotic reptiles are known to carry a weak venom, like the Komodo dragon. Before you bring home these reptiles as pets, make sure you carry out extensive research on their care and requirements. Hope you have found some useful information from the above facts on monitor lizards.