Water monitor - Leguaan - varanus niloticus

Water monitor - Leguaan - varanus niloticus

Water Monitors can grow to about 9 ft (2.7 m) in length, they are the largest of our local species. Most of this is tail , which is strong and tapering and has a dorsal crest to aid swimming. They have muscular bodies, strong legs and powerful jaws. The teeth are sharp and pointed in juvenile animals and become blunt and peg-like in adults. They also possess sharp claws used for climbing, digging, defense, or tearing at their prey. Like all monitors they have a forked tongue.

As its name implies, it is dependent on water. Much of the day is spent foraging along river banks, searching beneath stones for food.

Their nostrils are placed high on the snout, indicating that these animals are highly aquatic, but are also excellent climbers and quick runners on land. Water Monitors feed on fish, crabs, snails, frogs, eggs and young, snakes, birds, small mammals and large insects.

In South Africa they are commonly referred to as "leguaan," from the Dutch for iguana.
Males grow larger than females, maturity is reached after 4-6 years.

Water monitor - Leguaan - varanus niloticus


More info at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nile_monitor

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