ANIMAL: Asian Water Monitor Varanus salvator Type of Animal: Monitor Habitat: Riverbanks, swamps, rivers, streams, mangroves, scrubland, beaches, forested areas near water Location(s): Sri Lanka, India, Indochina, Malay Peninsula, Indonesia, S.E. China, New Guinea Appearance: Muscular body w/ long, powerful tail, male longer/larger than female, 3rd largest lizard, juveniles have yellow markings, adults bluish-grayish-blackish, long neck Food/Diet: Rabbits, hares, carrion, refuse, rodents, fish, frogs, crabs/other crustaceans, birds, mollusks, turtles, eggs, crocodilian hatchlings, snakes including venomous species, insects, other lizards including young monitors, mouse deer, muntjac, monkeys, piglets Status in Wild: Stable Conservation: Breeding from zoos & private breeders Lifestyle: Solitary Additional Info: Called: Male Female Young-Hatchling Group-Solitary Weight: Male-75 lbs Female-50 lbs Young-3.52 oz Gestation: 2.5-10 months Body Length: Male-7-9 ft Female-5 ft Young-1 ft Life Span: 15-20 years in wild, up to 30 years in captivity Tail Length: Male-4.5 ft Female-2.5 ft Young-1 ft Main predators of adults are crocodiles, tigers, large raptors, & large pythons. Herons, smaller raptors, hornbills, & adult monitors prey on hatchlings. Fights over territory very fierce sometimes resulting in death. They use their tail to steer while swimming. Like snakes, they have a forked tongue. Possibly declining in some areas due to hunting for meat/skin/sport/medicine trade, pet trade, water pollution, persecution as poultry killer, & habitat destruction. However, they’re still doing well & are common in the wild. In some areas, they're even increasing. Sexually mature at 2 years old. Females usually lay about 15 eggs per clutch. Fun Fact(s): Many scientists believe these lizards possess a type of venom. The name “monitor” originated from belief that they warned of presence of crocodiles due to penchant for crocodile eggs. This species is often relatively tame. They can remain underwater for up to 30 minutes. In Thailand, the local word (hia) for them is meant to signify bad & evil things. They’re also called Tua kin kai (chicken eater). They swallow their food whole. Despite large size, they’re very fast.
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