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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Mangrove Monitor Varanus indicus

Similar in shape to the water monitor, this lizard has a comparable lifestyle, although it rarely swims far from the shore. Like all monitors, it has a long, supple neck and powerful clawed feet. Its tail is flattened laterally and is double the length of its body. Mangrove monitors are very good swimmers and excellent climbers, hunting on the ground, in shallow water, and in trees. Fish make up a large part of their diet, although they eat a wide range of other food, including crabs, birds, other lizards, and even scavenged fishing bait. The water monitor has had human help in expanding its range. In the past, it was introduced by humans throughout the western Pacific as a source of food, and more recently, the species has been introduced into some Pacific islands as a way of controlling rats. Water monitors lay up to a dozen eggs each time they breed and, like most lizards, their young hatch and develop without parental protection.

Mangrove Monitorzoom image
  • Order Squamata
  • Length Up to 4 ft (1.2 m)
  • Weight Up to 22 lb (10 kg)
  • Habitat Mangrove swamps, coastal forests, estuaries, rivers
  • Distribution Western Pacific, from Micronesia to northern Australia
Mangrove Monitor habitat mapzoom image