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Asian Water Monitor

Varanus salvator


  • South and Southeast Asia


  • Wetlands
  • Riverbanks
  • Swamps


  • Fish
  • Frogs
  • Rodents
  • Crabs

These semi-aquatic reptiles are the second largest species of lizard. Despite their size, they are very fast and prefer to chase their prey instead of sitting-and-waiting.

Built for swimming, these lizards use their tail to steer, like a rudder on a boat. When threatened, they have been known to climb into trees above water, then escape by splashing in. As opportunistic carnivores, Asian water monitors consume a wide variety of prey, including carrion. Wide jaws and the ability to enlarge their throat allow them to swallow small prey whole. Gulp! 

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