1 minute read

Goannas Monitors and Earless Monitor: Varanidae


Most members of this family are meat-eaters. The smaller species typically dine on insects, centipedes, worms, and other invertebrates (pronounced in-VER-teh-brehts), which are animals without backbones. Medium-sized species eat lizards, lizard and turtle eggs, and young mammals and birds, while the very large monitors will capture, kill, and eat deer, monkeys, adult birds, wild pigs, buffalo, and other big animals. Monitors also eat carrion (KARE-ree-un), which is the flesh of an already-dead animal. They are not picky eaters, and many will even eat young of their own species. A few species eat fruit.

Members of this family spend a good part of the day looking for food, with some traveling 0.6 mile (1 kilometer) or more between sunup and sunset. They flick their tongues to pick up the scent of a prey animal and then rely on their eyesight and their ears to help hunt down the animal when they get close. Some species, including the sand monitor, swing their heads back and forth while flicking their tongues so they can pick up scents from a wider area and then track animals, especially small lizards, to their underground burrows. They use their long claws to dig up the lizards. Other species, such as the Komodo dragon, sometimes hunt by ambush, which means that they sit very still so they are not obvious and wait for a prey animal to wander by. The Komodo dragon then rushes from its hiding spot and grabs the animal.

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