White-Throated Monitor

White-Throated Monitor Varanus albigularis

Type of Animal:

Dry steppe, deserts around rock outcrops, savanna, verdant shrubland, woodlands, rock outcrops, verdant savanna-shrubland-woodland mix w/ rocky outcrops, grassland, scrub

East, S Central, & southern Africa

Gray-brown to dark brown w/ yellowish/white markings, whitish throat, long tail, big head, males larger than females

Insects, insect larvae, mollusks, scorpions, millipedes, lizards (including younger members of own species), snakes (including venomous species & small pythons), frogs, toads, tortoises, eggs, birds, small mammals, carrion, shrimp, crayfish, crabs, fish, worms, young crocodiles

Status in Wild:

Breeding from zoos, wildlife parks, & private breeders


Additional Info:

Young: Hatchling
Group: Solitary

Male: 18-25 lbs
Female: 14 lbs
Young: 4 lbs

3 months 

Life Span:
20 years

Body Length:
Male: 4.5-6 ft
Female: 3 ft
Young: 1 ft

Tail Length:
Male: 3-3.5 ft
Female: 2 ft
Young: 0.5 ft

Main predators of adults are leopards, large pythons, lions, crocodiles, hyenas, large raptors, wild dogs, & ratels/honey badgers. Juveniles/young eaten by adult monitors, smaller raptors, caracals, & servals.
Males often fight to death over territory, slashing & biting at each other.
They can run rather fast.
Females lay clutches of 10-50 eggs.
Similar to snakes, they have forked tongues.
Females often lay eggs in termite mounds.
They swallow food whole or in large pieces.
Active during the day (diurnal).
Sexually mature at 3 years old.
Use forked tongues to sense prey/surroundings.
They’re in same family as komodo dragons (monitor lizards).
They’re not great swimmers & prefer being away from water.
Rather than stalking/ambushing, they practice open pursuit hunting.
Also called Rock Monitor, Cape Monitor, White-Throated Leguaan, & Rock Leguaan.
These lizards are mostly terrestrial, but sometimes climb trees.
Eat more often in wetter periods w/ lizards often fasting & losing 4% of weight in dry periods.
Male territories 7 square miles & female territories 2 square miles.
Less than half of hatchlings survive 1st year.

Fun Fact(s):
Some experiments have shown them to be able to count up to 6.
Can be aggressive when young but often mellow w/ age.
Some monitors can be leash trained & they’re fairly popular pets among reptile owners.
Tail can be an effective weapon.

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