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Goannas Monitors and Earless Monitor: Varanidae

Physical Characteristics

The monitors, goannas, and earless monitor all have a similar overall appearance, although some are rather small and others are very large. The smallest species is the Australian pygmy monitor that only reaches about 6.7 to 7.9 inches (17 to 20 centimeters) in length from snout to tail tip and weighs just 0.28 to 0.71 ounces (8 to 20 grams). The family contains the largest lizards in the world. The heaviest is the Indonesian Komodo dragon. This immense animal can grow to be at least 9.9 feet (3 meters) long and 330 pounds (150 kilograms). Many people consider the crocodile monitor to be the world's longest lizard. They may grow to 12 feet (nearly 3.7 meters) long from snout to tail tip, or as some reports claim, the lizards can reach a whopping 15 to 19 feet (4.6 to 5.8 meters) in length.

The monitors, goannas, and earless monitor have heavy bodies and long necks. Their tongues are long and forked, and they have noticeable, sometimes large, eyes. Many have somewhat saggy skin that hangs in small folds on their sides and necks. Most of the members of this family have teeth with edges like saw blades, which help them tear through the skin and flesh of their prey.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceDinosaurs, Snakes, and Other ReptilesGoannas Monitors and Earless Monitor: Varanidae - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Monitors, Goannas, Earless Monitor, And People - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT