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Goannas Monitors and Earless Monitor: Varanidae

Monitors, Goannas, Earless Monitor, And People

These lizards are usually shy animals that hide when people approach. For this reason, people usually do not see them. The footprints they leave behind, however, usually provide enough clues to tell which species recently passed by. Monitor lizards are often mentioned in ancient tales and are likely the basis for legends of dragons. Some humans now hunt them for their skin, which is highly prized as leather.


The Komodo dragon is the heaviest lizard on Earth today, but it is only half as long and weighs just one-quarter of the amount of its ancient relative, known as Megalania prisca. This enormous lizard tipped the scales at more than 1,320 pounds (600 kilograms), compared to the Komodo's 330 pounds (150 kilograms). While a Komodo can grow to an impressive 10 feet long (3 meters), Megalania prisca grew to at least 20 feet (6.1 meters) from snout to tail tip. Some people believe it may have even reached 30 feet (9.1 meters) or more. Now extinct, the lizard lived until at least 19,000 years ago.

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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