Water Monitor

(Varanus salvator)

Reptiles Alive Name: “Splash”Hissstory: Splash was either an abandoned or escaped pet. He was found hiding in a drain pipe in the city of Alexandria, VA. An animal control officer was able to capture him and then called us. We received him in July 2006 and he has been just a ton of fun ever since!

RA Diet: We feed Splash a varied diet including: roaches, crickets, super worms, cooked chicken eggs, and his favorite: dead mice.

Natural Diet: Monitors eat carrion, fish, shellfish, small reptiles (including baby crocodiles!) and mammals, eggs of all kinds, and insects. Pretty much, they will eat anything except their vegetables!Range: Water monitors are found in southern Asia, from Bengal in the west to the Philippines and the Indo-Australian islands.

Habitat: Water monitors like to live anywhere near water, including swamps, woodlands, and riverbanks.

Size: Water monitors are one of the biggest species of lizards on Earth. They can grow almost 10 feet long and weigh up to 75 pounds. Whew – that is BIG!

Lifespan: Monitor lizards can live for over 20 years.

Reproduction: Water monitors will take advantage of termite mounds as well as rotting logs or stumps to lay their eggs. Females lay 20-50 eggs which take about 6 months to hatch.

Conservation: Water monitors are listed as CITES Appendix II, meaning they are becoming endangered. Their biggest threats come from habitat loss, the skin trade, and the pet trade.

Cool Facts: The largest living lizard in the world is a monitor lizard commonly known as the “Komodo dragon.” Water monitors are very closely related to the the Komodo dragon, and just like the dragon, the water monitor is very intelligent. Some scientists believe monitor lizards may be the most intelligent groups of lizards. After working with monitors, I would say I agree. They are fast learners and they are VERY curious. There really is something going on behind those dragon eyes!

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