Crocodile Monitor

Crocodile Monitor Varanus salvadorii

Type of Animal:

Tropical/subtropical forest, lowland forest, floodplain forest, swamps, riparian areas, savanna adjacent to lowland forest near swamps/rivers

New Guinea

Very large long lizard, dark green w/ yellow spots, long banded yellow/black tail, blunt bulbous snout, males larger than females w/ larger broader heads, 2nd longest lizard in world, hatchlings more colorful than adults

Birds up to size of smaller juvenile cassowaries, mammals up to size of deer & dogs, carrion, eggs, reptiles including smaller members of own species, fish, frogs, insects

Status in Wild:

Breeding in zoos, herpetoculture, wildlife centers, & aquariums


Additional Info:

Young: Hatchling
Group: Solitary

Male: 44-75 lbs
Female: 22-40 lbs
Young: 3.5 oz

8 months

Life Span:
12-20 years

Body Length:
Male: 7-10 ft
Female: 6-7.5 ft
Young: 2 ft

Tail Length:
Male: 4.67-6.67 ft
Female: 4-5 ft
Young: 1.3 ft

Main predators are crocodiles, Papuan eagles, & large dogs (the latter 2 sometimes being eaten by monitors in fights to the death).

Fights between these lizards sometimes result in death. 

These lizards can be difficult to breed due to unpredictability. Occasionally, males will eat small females.

These lizards primarily arboreal (tree-dwelling).

These lizards are excellent climbers & swimmers.

These lizards use tail for balance when climbing as well as for defense.

While stable, these lizards are negatively affected by hunting for meat/skin, persecution due to superstition/livestock predation, deforestation, & pet trade.

Sexually mature at 2 years old.

These lizards meet their prey head-on.

Clutches range from 4-12 eggs.

Fun Fact(s):
Many natives believe these large lizards are evil spirits that “climb trees, walk upright, breathe fire, & kill men.” This results in these lizards sometimes being killed on sight.

Gets name due to serrated flat teeth & head shape as well as belief that these lizards warn if crocs are nearby. In fact, these lizards sometimes called tree crocodiles.

Besides tree crocodile, also called Salvadori’s monitor & Papuan monitor.

Since these monitors have flat serrated teeth rather than curved teeth, there’s likely to be more bleeding on victim compared to other monitor species.

While some individuals (especially males) tame down, these lizards are highly unpredictable & dangerous. These lizards defend themselves by biting & whipping w/ tail.

While these large lizards do sometimes appear in the pet trade, they don’t make good pets.

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