Reptiliana: Ultimate Reptile Resource

Ornate Nile Monitor (Varanus ornatus)
March 23, 2008, 6:58 pm
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Range: Western and central Africa

Habitat: Lakes and swamps in rainforest and other forest borders

Lifespan: About 15 years

Gestation: Eggs are incubated 4 to 6 months

Offspring: 15 to 30 eggs are laid

Size: Up to 6 feet in length, slightly shorter than common Nile monitors.

Diet: Small animals, such as snails, crabs, fish, small snakes, insects, frogs, turtles, tortoises, small crocodiles, small lizards and the eggs of birds and reptiles.

Characteristics: Ornate Nile monitors generally have a dark olive to black skin, with cream-colored or yellow contrasting stripes on their jaws and head region. These stripes break into a row of chevrons running down the animal’s neck. They also have light-colored tail bands. Colors fade as the animal matures, but they are still prominent. Ornate Nile monitors also have a light-colored to pinkish tongue, whereas common Nile monitors have a bluish-black tongue.

Threats: Major threats to this animal include habitat destruction and hunting for the skin trade. Their skin is used for food and traditional medicines while live animals are exported for the pet trade. The first known captive hatching of this animal occurred at the Bronx Zoo in September 1998.


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.

White’s Dwarf Monitor (Varanus baritji)
March 1, 2008, 11:47 pm
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This Australian dwarf species looks very similar to V.acanthurus. Even experts have been wrong in the past. The biggest difference between these two species are their markings and pattern. The easiest way to tell the difference is by close comparison. V.baritji lacks the light and dark dorsal neck stripes and the ocellated markings on the back in comparison to V.acanthurus.

White Throated Monitor – Varanus albigularis
March 1, 2008, 11:41 pm
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Scientific name: Varanus albigularis albigularis
Family: Varanidae
Order: Sauria
Class: Reptilia


The White-throated Monitor has a large and muscular body, an elongated head with a dome-shaped snout, short sturdy limbs, and a strong, thick tail. The length of the tail slightly exceeds the sum of the animals head and body lengths. Furthermore, the tail functions as a prehensile organ, a rudder, and as a weapon. The front legs are surmounted with long, sharp claws that enable this lizard to dig and climb. White-throated Monitors are adept climbers. As common to all Varanidae, they have long, forked tongues. The tongue is not only used for drinking but also in a sensory capacity. It is a common myth told to tourists that the White-throated Monitor lizards suck milk from cattle udders. The adult White-throated Monitor can attain lengths up to 120 to 150 cm (4 6 ft.) from the tip of its snout to the end of its tail. The average weight of the adult male is 8 kg (17.5 lbs). The adult female has an average mass of 6.5kg (14 lbs.) In captivity, both sexes tend to become obese, weighing up to 20 kg (44 lbs). An ivory-colored throat is the distinguishing characteristic of this monitor. Its body is covered with 110 to 140 small, beadlike scales that form reticulated and banded patterns of gray, brown, and black, intermingled with conspicuous yellow and/or white patterning.


The White-throated Monitor is found throughout Central and Southern Africa. The White-throated Monitor is both terrestrial and arboreal. It inhabits the savanna, steppe, open bush, and woodland regions. However, it is not generally found near water sources. This monitor has a large home range relative to its body size. The home ranges of males average 18.3 square kilometers (approx. 7 sq. miles), whereas the home ranges of females average 6.1 square kilometers (approx. 2.5 sq. miles). Researchers have shown that the home ranges of both sexes do indeed overlap.


The White-throated Monitors are essentially solitary individuals. They generally ignore each other until the mating season. These monitors are diurnal. Reproductive males and females will fully utilize their home range foraging during the wet season. Only the males roam their home ranges during mating season, whereas the females remain in one particular location of their home range. Throughout the remainder of the year when prey populations are low to nonexistent, both sexes limit their daily movements and remain basically sedentary so as to conserve energy. It should be noted that the White-throated Monitor will not attack humans unless provoked. When threatened, the White-throated Monitor will assume an intimidating posture by arching its neck, puffing out its throat, and hissing loudly. It will then lash out with its tail and bite violently at anything within its reach. This monitor is a formidable opponent. As a last effort, it will allow itself to be attacked. When its foe leaves it for dead, this monitor is able to survive because it is able to rapidly recuperate. White-throated Monitors have been noted to fight to the death. The main competitor of the White-throated Monitor is the black-backed jackal, as both have similar diets. Predators of this monitor are ratels, birds of prey, and most large carnivores.


The White-throated Monitor is a voracious feeder between the months of January to February, also known as the wet season. It will travel long distances in search of prey. During the dry season from July to December, it fasts losing approximately 4% of its body weight per month. Research has shown that this monitor has an adaptive relationship between its feeding habits and digestive responses similar to sit-and-wait foraging snakes. This adaptation serves to conserve energy during the long interval between meals. Its diet in the wild ranges from invertebrates, small reptiles, birds and eggs to occasionally small mammals and carrion. Land snails are the favorite prey. Studies have shown that it uses visual and chemical cues in distinguishing its prey. This monitor is a selective feeder. It seeks to obtain the highest caloric intake at the least energy expense of handling time despite the availability of other prey choices. The White-throated Monitor does not chew its food, but instead swallows small prey or large pieces of prey whole by increasing the size of its mouth. This is accomplished by spreading the hyoid apparatus and dropping the lower jaw.


White-throated Monitors are oviparous. In the wild, females will produce one clutch of up to 50 eggs. However in captivity, females will lay multiple clutches per year. During the cool, dry season from May to August, the male will go on a tour of his home range six weeks prior to mating. He will visit the locations of reproductive females. The male exhibits the same behavior patterns as when foraging. During this period, the females remain relatively stationary, preferring to remain upon elevated sites, such as trees and rocks. During this period of touring, it appears that feeding or mating does not occur. The male seems to remember the locations of the fertile females and will return to mate with them at their optimum time. During the courtship, the male will wipe his mouth on elevated objects immediately adjacent to the female and display vent dragging. He will make exaggerated, spasmodic movements as he approaches the female. The response of the female is to flatten her body and press her head down to the ground. Before actual contact, the males will flick his tongue around the females mouth, hind legs, and the base of her tail. The female remains passive during courtship and mating; therefore, there is no aggression between the sexes. White-throated Monitors prefer to copulate in trees. Intruding males will be chased away by the resident male. Researchers did not observe any ritualistic combat between males. Both sexes will mate with multiple partners. The female lays her eggs in a nest in an abandoned ground squirrel burrow. The eggs are covered and left to hatch. Egg laying usually occurs two months prior to a significant rainfall. The eggs are turgid and possess a high water content. The hatchlings emerge throughout the rainy season and feed primarily upon invertebrates. During the next three months, they will triple their mass and double in body length. In the wild, less than half of the hatchlings will survive. White-throated Monitors are reproductive at 3 – 5 years of age. Their life expectancy is about 15 years.


This species of monitor is classified as threatened by CITES under Appendix II. The greatest threat to White-throated Monitor populations is habitat destruction and fragmentation. The native inhabitants hunt the White-throated Monitor for its alleged medicinal properties. This animal is also hunted for its hide and as a food source. This species, as well as all monitors, are sold worldwide as part of the exotic pet trade. One of the unfortunate consequences of the illegal export/import of monitors is the spread of parasites. Three species of African ticks parasitize the White-throated Monitor: Aponomma exornatum, Aponomma flavomaculatum , and Aponomma latum. These ticks are vectors of the deadly heartwater disease, which is a serious threat to domesticated animals. Recently, this disease afflicted sheep, cattle, and deer in Florida. Monitor ticks are also vectors of Coxiella burnetti, a Rickettsiales agent responsible for Q fever in humans. Q fever is characterized by fever and pneumonia-like symptoms. It is rarely fatal.

All of Varanus Species
March 1, 2008, 11:37 pm
Filed under: varanus | Tags: ,
Latin name: Dutch name: English name: German name:
Varanus acanthurus Stekelstaart varaan Spiny-Tailed goanna / Ridge Tail monitor Stachelschwanzwaran
Varanus albigularis Witkeelvaraan White-throated monitor Kapwaran
Varanus auffenbergi   Peacock monitor / blue Timor monitor  
Varanus baritji   WHITE’s dwarf goanna  
Varanus beccarii Zwarte boomvaraan Black tree monitor Schwarzer baumwaran
Varanus bengalensis Bengaalse varaan Bengal monitor Bengalwaran
Varanus boehmei Goudgevlekte boomvaraan Golden Speckled Tree monitor Goldgefleckter Baumwaran
Varanus bogerti Bogert’s varaan Bogert’s monitor Bogertwaran
Varanus brevicauda   Short-tailed goanna  
Varanus bushi      
Varanus caeruliverens Turkoois varaan Turquoise / Blue pinspot monitor  
Varanus caudolineatus Streepstaartvaraan Stripe-tailed goanna  
Varanus cerambonensis   Ambon monitor  
Varanus doreanus Blauwstaartvaraan Blue-tailed monitor  
Varanus dumerilii Dumerili varaan Dumeril’s monitor Dumrilwaran
Varanus dwyeri      
Varanus eremius   Pygmy desert goanna  
Varanus exanthematicus   Bosc’s monitor lizard Steppenwaran
Varanus finschi   Finschi’s monitor  
Varanus flavescens   Yellow monitor / Short-toed monitor Gelbwaran
Varanus giganteus   Perentie Perentie
Varanus gilleni   Gillen’s goanna / Mulga monitor  
Varanus glauerti Glauert’s varaan Glauert’s goanna  
Varanus glebopalma   Twilight goanna / Long tailed rock monitor  
Varanus gouldii Gouldsvaraan Gould’s goanna Gouldswaran
Varanus griseus   Grey / Caspian / Indian desert – monitor Wstenwaran
Varanus indicus Mangrove varaan Mangrove monitor Pazifikwaran
Varanus jobiensis   Sepik monitor / Peach-throated monitor  
Varanus juxtindicus   Rennell island monitor  
Varanus keithhornei Blauwneusvaraan Blue-nosed goanna / Canopy monitor Queensland-baumwaran
Varanus kingorum   King’s goanna  
Varanus komodoensis Komodovaraan Komodo Dragon Komodowaran
Varanus kordensis      
Varanus mabitang   Panay monitor  
Varanus macraei   Blue tree / Mac Rae’s monitor  
Varanus melinus Gele boomvaraan Quince / Yellow monitor lizard Quittenwaran
Varanus mertensi Mertens watervaraan Mertens’ goanna Wasserwaran
Varanus mitchelli   Mitchell’s goanna  
Varanus niloticus Nijlvaraan Nile monitor Nilwaran
Varanus olivaceus   Gray’s monitor Olivwaran
Varanus ornatus Nijlvaraan Ornate monitor Nilwaran
Varanus panoptes   Argus monitor Arguswaran
Varanus pilbarensis   Pilbara goanna  
Varanus prasinus Smaragd varaan Green tree monitor, Emerald monitor Smaragdwaran
Varanus primordius   Blunt-nosed goanna  
Varanus reisingeri Gele boomvaraan Yellow tree monitor  
Varanus rosenbergi   Rosenberg’s goanna Schwarzer Sandwaran
Varanus rudicollis   Rough-necked monitor Rauhnackenwaran
Varanus salvadorii   Salvadori’s monitor / Crocodile monitor Papuawaran
Varanus salvator Watervaraan Water monitor Bindenwaran
Varanus scalaris Gebandeerde boomvaraan Banded tree goanna  
Varanus semiremex   Rusty goanna  
Varanus similis   Spotted tree goanna  
Varanus spenceri   Spencer’s goanna Spencerwaran
Varanus spinulosus   Keeled Monitor Lizard  
Varanus storri   Storr’s goanna  
Varanus telenesetes   Rossel island monitor  
Varanus timorensis Timorvaraan Timor monitor Timorwaran
Varanus tristis   freckled / mournful / black-headed -goanna Trauerwaran
Varanus varius   Lace monitor Buntwaran
Varanus yemenensis   Yemen monitor  
Varanus yuwonoi   Tricolored monitor  
Varanus zugorum      

Black Tree Monitor (Varanus Beccarii)
February 22, 2008, 4:34 am
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Adult Back tree monitors are completely black in color, while young offspring tend to exhibit lighter shades of green. Like other monitors, Black tree monitors have long, sharp claws and strong jaws. Their teeth are longer than the other monitor species, which enables them to hold on to prey they catch high up in the canopy. They are often sold as pets and do well in captivity with a heat lamp, as long as temperatures maintain 85 degrees Fahrenheit, with a basking temperature of 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit.


Black Tree Monitors are carnivorous(meat eaters). In the wild, Black tree monitors eat snails, grasshoppers, beetles, scorpions, birds eggs, fish, other lizards, snakes, nestling birds, and shrews. In captivity the Black tree monitor eats crickets, roaches, mealworms, ground turkey and cat food.

Social Structure: When threatened monitors inflate their neck and hiss at an intruder. Their ribs may spread out a bit as the monitor takes in air to inflate its body. This makes the monitor appear larger to its enemy. Unlike other monitors, the Black tree monitor does not use its tail to lash at intruders. The black tree monitor is very quick and agile and can often escape its enemies by rapidly climbing trees. They may resort to biting and clawing, as a means of defense if their escape is not successful. Monitors are daytime lizards and spend most of their days living in treetops or swamps in search for food.

Senses: Black tree monitors, like all reptiles, are ectothermic (cold-blooded animals.) They have leathery, dry skin and are unable to produce their own body heat, so they must rely on basking in the sun for warmth. Monitors have excellent eye-sight and can sense movement from as far as 250 meters away. They also have a tongue like a snake. This fork-like tongue provides them with the superior sense of smell by bringing sent particles into their mouth, so they are able to taste what other animals can only smell. This special sense allows monitors to locate food, a mate, or an enemy.

This black monitor is one of the few monitor species with the ability to use its tail as a fifth limb. Closely related species are V.prasinus, V.boehmei, V.bogerti, V.keithhornei, V.macraei, V.telenesetes and V.reisingeri.