Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Varanidae

Genus/species: Varanus salvator (melanistic color form)

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Color is usually dark brown or blackish.  The neck is  long with an elongated snout and the nostrils close to the end of the nose. The tail is laterally compressed and has a dorsal keel. Scales on the top of the head are relatively large, while those on the back are smaller in size and are keeled. Length to 2 meters (6.6 ft), but most adults are 1.5 meters (4.9 ft) long. Average weight is 19.5 kg (43 lb). As of 2014 the Academy Water Monitor is aprox. 7 years old and 4 feet long (California Academy of Sciences, Eric Hupperts, Biologist)

Water Monitor


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Found throughout much of southern Asia, from India in the west to the Philippines and the Indo-Australian islands in the east. They are semi-aquatic and has a wide range of habitats. Also found on flat land, a typical burrow is in a river bank. The entrance starts on a downward slope but then increases forming a shallow pool of water.

DIET IN THE WILD: The lizard is very fast and is an ‘open pursuit’ hunter, rather than stalking and ambushing. V. salvator is an extreme carnivore: birds, eggs, mammals, fishes, other reptiles and carrion.
Academy diet: Rodents.

REPRODUCTION: Males are normally larger than the females, usually twice as large in mass.. Eggs are usually deposited along rotting logs or stumps.

LIFESPAN: 10.6 years in captivity.

Water Monitor

CONSERVATION: IUCN Redlist: Least Concern. CITES: appendix II. It is abundant in parts of its range, despite large levels of harvesting.

REMARKS:They are excellent swimmers known to cross large stretches of water, explaining its wide distribution. Known to dig up corpses of human and devour them.

Skins of  V. salvator are used for dietary protein, ceremonies, medicine, and leather goods. Annual trade in these skins may reach more than 1 million whole skins a year, mostly in Indonesia for the leather trade. Medium-sized individual are preferred because the skin of large animals is too tough and thick to shape.


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