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Goannas Monitors and Earless Monitor: Varanidae

Crocodile Monitor (varanus Salvadorii): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: The crocodile monitor is a long-tailed, yellow-spotted lizard that may grow to 12 feet (nearly 3.7 meters) in length from snout to tail tip, although some claim that the lizards may reach 15 to 19 feet (4.6 to 5.8 meters) long. It is often considered to be the world's longest lizard.

Geographic range: This lizard lives on southern New Guinea.

Habitat: The crocodile monitor frequently climbs into trees of the rainforest.

Diet: They probably eat birds in the wild, but in captivity, they also eat mice and rats.

The crocodile monitor is reported to be the world's longest lizard. They can grow to a length of 12 feet (nearly 3.7 meters). (©Tom McHugh/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

Behavior and reproduction: Crocodile monitors spend much of their time in trees where they look for food. When they feel threatened, they will swing their tails like whips to strike an attacker. During mating season, the males wrestle one another. Females lay eggs, which hatch into large babies that can be 20 inches (0.5 meter) in length.

Crocodile monitors and people: Legends among the native people of New Guinea claim that this lizard is an evil spirit that breathes fire and eats men.

Conservation status: The crocodile monitor is not considered endangered or threatened. ∎



Auffenberg, W. The Behavioral Ecology of the Komodo Monitor. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1981.

—— The Bengal Monitor. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1994.

—— Gray's Monitor Lizard. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1988.

Badger, D. Lizards: A Natural History of Some Uncommon Creatures— Extraordinary Chameleons, Iguanas, Geckos, and More. Stillwater, MN: Voyageur Press, 2002.

Bennett, D. Monitor Lizards. Natural History, Biology and Husbandry. Frankfurt am Main: Edition Chimaira, 1998.

King, D., and B. Green. Goannas: The Biology of Varanid Lizards. University of New South Wales Press, 1999.

Murphy, J. B., C. Ciofi, C. de la Panouse, and T. Walsh, eds. Komodo Dragons: Biology and Conservation. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2002.

Pianka, E. R., and L. J. Vitt. Lizards: Windows to the Evolution of Diversity. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003.


Mealy, Nora Steiner. "Creatures from Komodo." Ranger Rick (August 2001): http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0EPG/is_8_35/ai_76289139 (accessed on October 18, 2004).

Web sites

"Crocodile Monitor." Honolulu Zoo. http://www.honoluluzoo.org/Crocodile_Monitor.htm (accessed on October 18, 2004).

"Komodo Dragon." Enchanted Learning. http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/reptiles/lizard/Komodoprintout.shtml (accessed on October 18, 2004).

"Komodo Dragon." Honolulu Zoo. http://www.honoluluzoo.org/komodo_dragon.htm (accessed on October 18, 2004).

"Komodo Dragon, Varanus komodoensis, 1998." San Diego Zoo. http://library.sandiegozoo.org/Fact%20Sheets/komodo_dragon/Komodo.htm (accessed on October 18, 2004).

"New Guinea Crocodile Monitor." Central Florida Zoo. http://www.centralfloridazoo.org/animals/New_guinea_crocodile_monitor.htm (accessed on October 18, 2004).

"Varanus komodoensis." Animal Diversity Web. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Varanus_komodoensis.html (accessed on October 18, 2004).

"Varanidae." Animal Diversity Web. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Varanida.html (accessed on October 18, 2004).

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