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3 Cool Facts about Savannah Monitor

Learn three cool facts about the Savannah monitor from reptile and amphibian expert Jungle Bob in this Howcast video.


A huge family of lizards are the monitor lizards from the grand daddy of them all, the Komodo dragon. They come in all shapes and sizes. They're predominantly Asian creatures, Australian, but we do see them all the way to the continent of Africa.

And one of the bigger ones in Africa is the Savannah monitor. It's native to desert areas. It's a predator for sure, but it's also an opportunistic feeder. It'll come across carrion, something dead, it will munch on that. The small ones will eat insects, maybe a bit of greens here and there. Anything it can get its mouth on it pretty much eats.

They grow to tremendous sizes, most of the monitors are dominated by their size, from the Komodo down. Savannah monitors can max out at 4 or 5 feet and become really heavy-bodied. We have here two babies that were hatched here right out of the egg. They're about four weeks old so they're still on an insect type of diet. But their parents were 4 to 4 1/2 feet each and about 20, 25 pounds. So, this is a large-bodied animal, a meat-eater, if you will. The Savannah monitors, all monitor lizards, are characterized by their forked tongue, which usually is reserved for snakes in nature.

But monitor lizards also have that forked tongue that gives them a kind of menacing, dinosaur type of look that makes them extremely popular from nature films right down to captive husbandry and owning them as pets. Savannah monitors of this age have beautiful markings. Those markings do change as they get older. They get a little drabber, spots sometimes fade away into a solid color but they always maintain that really robust, heavy-bodied look and they move around kind of like they're in charge of the territory they're in.

They spend most of their nights underground in burrows and go out hunting for anything they can during the day. The Savannah monitor, a member of the Varanidae family.

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