Archive for varan

Monitor Lizard

Posted in Animals, Latest of Asienreisender with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2013 by Thim Kwai

There are 73 different kinds of monitors respectively varans existing on earth. Originally monitors live in in a wide range of habitats, from deserts and savannas to the rain forests and mangrove forests of tropical countries. In Southeast Asia the most widespread kind is the water monitor (varanus salvator). This lizards can be seen quite often, particularly in urban sites in Malaysia, where they are pretty well adapted to canalization systems, living from human food remains (rubbish), other animals and scavenging. They also appear in great numbers in Bangkok’s Lumpini park with it’s bigger ponds and artificial waterways there. The big reptiles make a remarkable contrast to the surrounding recreation facilities there. A water monitor, caught by local people around Krabi, south Thailand. Either they sell him to a dealer, or they will eat him and sell the skin only. The valuable skin alone makes the lizards pursued by animal hunters for reasons of trade, but being hunted for food is another main reason. Image by Asienreisender, 2010. Since the water monitor is the second biggest kind of lizard on earth, sometimes they are confound with aligators. On the first glance, from a distance or when swimming, they indeed look similar. An average water monitor gains a size of 150cm. The biggest lizard on earh, the Komodo dragon, who lives on a group of islands in Indonesia, reaches a size of up to three meters. But there are also recorded cases of the very common water monitor reaching a size of three meters and more, though that’s very exceptional. Then they gain a weight of up to 50kg, while the more massive Komodo dragon makes it up to 70kg. Remarkable is their long tongue which looks like a snake’s one. The tongues are of the double length of their head and split up at the end. It’s their most important sense organ; they mostly orientate in their surroundings by smelling. East of the Wallace Line in the Malay Archipelago exist most of the smaller species of the generic group of monitors. That’s because in Wallacea are few carnivore living, who would be a natural enemy for the lizards. The monitors there occupy themselves the niche the absense of smaller mammal carnivores left. West of the Wallace Line are living most of the bigger monitors, particularly the water monitor, who is to find in most of Southeast Asia. A varans orientation depends very much on his tongue, with which he is collecting information about it’s surrounding. Therefore they are almost deaf. Image by Asienreisender, Penang, Malaysia, 2010 Their circulation area is around the equator, in the tropes and subtropes of Asia, Africa and Australia, but not the Americas. Being day-active, they spend nighttime in self built holes, hollow trees or similar places. Their activities are seasonal – rainy season is their “good time”, because they find plenty of food. While dry season they spend most of their time in hidden places, waiting for wet weather conditions. Monitor lizards are solitairs and usually avoid meeting each other. If it comes to the presence of two or more individuals at a place, for example due to a food resource there, it might cause a comment fighting, a ritualized fight. They don’t bite each other and usually none of the rivals will be harmed.


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