Asian Water Monitor

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-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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