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The Monitor Lizard

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					The Monitor Lizard
Corey Walz

Taxonomy
Class: Reptilia Order: Squamata Sub-order: Sauria Family: Varanidae Genus and Species: Varanus

Monitor Lizard Characteristics
Small reptiles often less than a foot long but may grow to over ten and weigh 350lbs. They are very active reptiles and may be very hostile. They are all tropical. They have long sharp claws and lash out with their tails at the slightest provocation. Long forked tongue they use much like a snake uses their tongue.

Monitor Tongue

Range
Most of Africa, and the Malay archipelago of Australia. Those found in Micronesia are believed to have been introduced as a food source for the natives that settled there. They live in a variety of habitats from tropical rainforests to deserts, near rivers or in trees.

Monitor Lizard Diet
They eat animal eggs, other lizards, squirrels, crabs, fish, beetles, and nestling birds. They tend to swallow their food whole. Some can unhinge their jaws and swallow even larger animals.

Monitor Lizard Diet

Monitor Lizard Behavior
Many hold their heads erect to appear alert. They intimidate predators by lashing out with their tails, inflating their throats, hissing loudly, and compressing their bodies.

Behavior Continued.
Most are terrestrial and are able climbers and fairly good swimmers. Monitors intimidate by opening its mouth, inflating its neck and hissing. The ribs may spread, flattening the top of the body, making the Monitor look larger than it is It often raises up on its hind legs just before attacking. Its tail delivers a well aimed blow.

Behavior

Reproduction and Growth

Reproduction and Growth
Combat between males is frequent in some species during mating season. Monitors can lay from 7 to 35 soft-shelled eggs. Often lay eggs in holes in river banks or in trees along water courses. Nile Monitors lay their eggs in termite nests Oviparous Life span of about 15 years.

Adaptation
Versatility is the key to their success, they are very unspecialized Most species can burrow, swim, climb, and run. Snake-like body supported by strong legs and 5 well developed claws which aid in burrowing, climbing and defense. A protective bony sheath encases the brain which enables the monitor to swallow large pray without damage to the brain.

Status
Man is their main enemy. Their eggs and flesh are prized foods in many cultures. Not yet endangered……I think

Sources
http://www.chaffeezoo.org/animals/monitor s.html http://www.honoluluzoo.org/monitor_lizard s.htm


				
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