Reptiliana: Ultimate Reptile Resource

Kimberley Rock Monitor – Varanus glauerti
March 1, 2008, 11:57 pm
Filed under: Monitors, Reptiles | Tags: , ,

We’ve wanted these small monitors for some time and finally have them. Without a doubt, these are the most elegant small monitor around. There outgoing attitude makes them irrestible to anyone that has had the pleasure of handling one. They often run up your arm and sit on your shoulder when you open their cage door.

Yet another Australial gem. Kimberley’s are known to inhabit the extreme north of Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Their grace and beauty make them one of the most sought after varanids in the hobby. The color and pattern are rarely captured in photographs and need to be seen to be appreciate to the fullest.

This stunning monitor reaches 60-70 cm TL.

An insect and rodent based diet serves them well in captivity. Although sometimes a challenging feeder, kimberleys are worth the effort.

Our male and female are both very mellow and a joy to keep. When it comes to beauty, Kimberleys are second to none.

Their slender build and extreme contrast in pattern are sure to catch your eye and pique your interest.

Still very rare in private collections, this monitor is for the discerning keeper who wants to add rarity to their collection that will set them apart from the crowd..

Bosc’s monitor lizard – Varanus exanthematicus
March 1, 2008, 11:55 pm
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The Savannah Monitor (Varanus exanthematicus) gets its Latin name from the large, flat oval scales on the back of the neck which could be said to erupt, and its common name from the impression that it lives on the African savannah in the wild. The term savannah monitor is also used in reference to several other species of savannah-dwelling monitors. In the U.K. the species is often known as “Bosc’s Monitor Lizard.” It is a robust creature, with powerful limbs for digging, powerful jaws and blunt, peglike teeth. Maximum size is rarely more than 100cm. Its diet is much more restricted than that of other African monitor lizards, consisting mainly of snails, milipedes, orthopterans, beetles and other invertebrates. The only vertebrates regularly consumed are amphibians.

Its range extends from Senegal as far as Eritrea and northern Zaire. Varanus exanthematicus is primarily a ground dwelling species that shelters in burrows, although they are sometimes found in bushes or low trees. In the coastal plain of Ghana juvenile Varanus exanthematicus are often associated with the burrows of the giant cricket Brachytrupes.

This species is readily available in the pet trade. Juvenile animals are collected from several countries in West Africa (mainly Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria) and exported worldwide. Animals sold as captive bred, captive farmed or ranched are the offspring of gravid females collected during the breeding season whose eggs are incubated by exporters. Adult specimens frequently become unwanted pets and are reported as being the most common monitor lizards by animal rescue agencies. However the vast majority die within a year of capture and captive breeding is very rare. The skins of the species are important in the international leather trade and originate mainly from Chad, Mali and Sudan.

Bosc’s Monitor is often confused with the Whitethroat Monitor (Varanus albigularis) which can grow to lengths of 5-6 feet. While similar in overall appearance, this species possesses significant morphological and ecological differences and is recognized as a very distinct species.

The salivary glands of many, if not all, species of monitor lizards produce venom in very low concentrations with vestigal function (Fry et al., 2006). The effect of these proteins on humans is negligible and the animals are not considered venomous. Complications arising from lizard bites are almost aways the result of infections.

Dumeril’s Monitor – Varanus dumerilii
March 1, 2008, 11:52 pm
Filed under: Monitors, Reptiles | Tags: ,

Dumeril’s Monitor is a large, elusive lizard native to Southeastern Asia. Until several years ago, there was a large pet trade in Dumeril’s Monitor. They are very difficult to find in the wild and rather hard to breed in captivity, and so it is now often hard to find a Dumeril’s Monitor for sale.

Compared to other Monitors the Dumeril’s Monitor is relatively non-aggressive. But they are relatively aggressive when compared to other lizards in general. Aggression levels will vary between individuals, and like other lizards, an individual’s temperament often reflects factors such as the amount of handling they receive and length of time in captivity; but like all monitors they are predators and their behavior does reflect this. Because Dumeril’s Monitors are very secretive animals, it is unknown whether the animal is common or rare. In fact, very little about the Dumeril’s Monitor is known. They usually make their homes in wooded areas near swamps or other bodies of water. They feed primarily on crabs, although if crabs are not available they may also eat insects. It is believed that Dumeril’s Monitor is specially adapted to eat crabs: they puncture the shells with sharp, scant teeth and swallow the meat whole. Some researchers have said that wild Dumeril’s Monitors eat birds, green turtle eggs, and ants. These claims cannot be proven or disproved. There has been no observation of Dumeril’s Monitor hatchlings in the wild. Hatchlings born in captivity resemble King Cobra hatchlings, which may be an attempt to mimic an unappetizing animal. Captive hatchlings often bury themselves or spend much of their time on the branches of trees. Excellent swimmers, Dumeril’s Monitors are also adept at climbing. They spend large portions of their day asleep in tree hollows and crevices between rocks. They may be habitual animals, returning to the same place daily to sleep and eat. Dumeril’s Monitors, mostly the males, will fight by standing on their hind limbs with their front limbs on the other’s shoulders, trying to push each other over.

Dumeril’s Monitors are relatively large lizards, often reaching five feet in length. As hatchlings, they are very colorful with bright orange heads and yellow patterns traversing their black bodies. The hatchlings also have a vertical mouth band. As they mature, the colors fade to shades of olive, and the black changes to olive-brown.

A French herpetologist who lived between 1774 and 1860 was the first person to describe Dumeril’s Monitor. This man, A.M.C. Dumeril, lent his name to the species. They live in Southeastern Asia, including Burma, Thailand, Malaya, Vietnam, Borneo and Laos. Because they are difficult to breed in captivity, Dumeril’s Monitor is often difficult to acquire as a pet, however, the Buffalo Zoo has a pair that they have successfully bred several times.

Evolution of Reptiles
February 17, 2008, 8:29 am
Filed under: Reptiles | Tags: , ,

Hylomonus (above) is the oldest-known reptile, and was about 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm) long. Westlothiana has been suggested as the oldest reptile, but is for the moment considered to be more related to amphibians than amniotes. Petrolacosaurus and Mesosaurus are other examples. The earliest reptiles were found in the swamp forests of the Carboniferous, but were largely overshadowed by bigger labyrinthodont amphibians such as Proterogynrius. It was only after the small ice age at the end of the Carboniferous that the reptiles grew to big sizes, producing species such as Edaphosaurus and Dimetrodon.

The first true “reptiles” (Sauropsids) are categorized as Anapsids, having a solid skull with holes only for nose, eyes, spinal cord, etc. Turtles are believed by some to be surviving Anapsids, as they also share this skull structure; but this point has become contentious lately, with some arguing that turtles reverted to this primitive state in order to improve their armor. Both sides have strong evidence, and the conflict has yet to be resolved.

Shortly after the first reptiles, two branches split off, one leading to the Anapsids, which did not develop holes in their skulls. The other group, Diapsida, possessed a pair of holes in their skulls behind the eyes, along with a second pair located higher on the skull. The Diapsida split yet again into two lineages, the lepidosaurs (which contain modern snakes, lizards and tuataras, as well as, debatably, the extinct sea reptiles of the Mesozoic) and the archosaurs (today represented by only crocodilians and birds, but also containing pterosaurs and dinosaurs).

The earliest, solid-skulled amniotes also gave rise to a separate line, the Synapsida. Synapsids developed a pair of holes in their skulls behind the eyes (similar to the diapsids), which were used to both lighten the skull and increase the space for jaw muscles. The synapsids eventually evolved into mammals, and are often referred to as mammal-like reptiles, though they are not true members of Sauropsida. (A preferable term is “stem-mammals”.)


Reptiles: General Information
February 17, 2008, 8:25 am
Filed under: Reptiles | Tags: , , , , ,

Scientific Classification:

Animalia > Chordata > Vertebrata > Sauropsida.

There are different categories of reptiles. Here they are written out in human terms:


Most reptiles are oviparous, meaning egg laying, but some are capable of live birth.