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Mangrove Monitor

Varanus indicus

Range

  • Northern Australia, New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, the Marshall Islands, the Caroline Islands, and the Mariana Islands

Habitat

  • Mangrove swamps

Diet

  • Eggs of reptiles and birds
  • Mollusks
  • Rodents
  • Insects
  • Crabs
  • Smaller lizards
  • Fish
  • Carrion

Being an opportunistic carnivore, this monitor uses its Jacobson’s organ to detect prey by analyzing the air particles brought into its mouth by its tongue.

As its name suggests, the mangrove monitor spends most of its time in, or around, water and trees. It can even hunt and catch fish in deep water with the help of salt-excreting nasal glands. To swallow larger prey, it can increase the size of its mouth by expanding its throat and lower jaw.

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