Common water monitor

Common water monitor

Varanus salvator

Common name:

Common water monitor

Scientific name:

Varanus salvator

Alternative common names:


Thewater monitor is a large lizard native to South and Southeast Asia. They are carnivores, and have a wide range of foods. They are known to eatfish,frogs,rodents,birds,crabs, and snakes.They have also been known to eat turtles, as well as young crocodiles and crocodile eggs.

Additional Information

Where does this species come from?

South and Southeast Asia

What is its invasive status in South Africa?

NEMBA Category 3

Where in South Africa is it a problem?

Kruger National Park (Mpumalanga and Limpopo Province).

How does it spread?

There is small trade in common water monitors as they are not suitable pets for a majority of the owners. They‘re mainly hunted, as the skin of this species is used in the leather trade, its meat is eaten, and its fat is used in traditional medicine.

Why is it a problem?

The Water Monitor is an extreme carnivore. This means that the lizard will eat about any animal that it believes it can consume. It has been known to dig up corpses of humans and devour them as well.

What does it look like?

Description: The Water monitor is a large species of monitor lizard. Breeding maturity is attained for males when they are a relatively modest 40 cm long and weigh 1 kg, and for females at 50 cm. However, they grow much larger throughout life, with males being larger than females. The maximum weight of the species is over 50 kg.

Habitat: This species is semi-aquatic and opportunistic and inhabits a variety of natural habitats, such as primary forests and mangrove swamps.

Breeding: The breeding season begins around the beginning of the wet season. Water Monitor Lizards breed rapidly. Larger females produce a larger clutch than smaller ones, up to 40 eggs a year in 2 or more clutches. Mating involves a lot of biting and scratching. Females lay their eggs 4 to 6 weeks after breeding. 3 to 25 white, soft-shelled eggs are laid, with an average of 15 per clutch. Eggs are laid in termite mounds (both active and abandoned mounds), along rotting logs or hollow stumps or in burrows. Eggs take 2.5-10 months or more to incubate.

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