Crocodile Monitor

Crocodile Monitor

Papua(n) monitor, Salvadori's monitor, Artellia

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Varanus salvadorii
Population size
Unknown
Life Span
12-20 yrs
WEIGHT
20 kg
LENGTH
1-2.3 m

The Crocodile monitor is a large arboreal lizard native to New Guinea. The most characteristic feature of this monitor is its blunt, bulbous snout, which makes it look different from every other monitor on New Guinea, and suggested the common name "tree crocodile." Its body is dark green with rings of yellow spots. The tail is banded yellow and black and is extremely long, more than twice as long as the snout-to-vent length. Its teeth are long, straight, and sharp and are better adapted than those of most monitors for seizing fast-moving prey.

Di

Diurnal

Ca

Carnivore

Sc

Scavenger

In

Insectivores

Ar

Arboreal

Ap

Apex predator

Bu

Burrowing

Is

Island endemic

Te

Terrestrial

Ov

Oviparous

Pr

Precocial

Am

Ambush predator

Po

Polygynandry

Ge

Generally solitary

So

Solitary

No

Not a migrant

C

starts with

Distribution

Geography

Continents
Regions
Biogeographical realms

Crocodile monitors are found on the island of New Guinea and occur in both the state Papua New Guinea and the Indonesian region of West Papua. They inhabit the high and low canopies of the lowland rainforests and coastal mangrove swamps, sometimes venturing out of these areas during floods in the rainy seasons.

Crocodile Monitor habitat map

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Crocodile monitors are diurnal and generally solitary creatures. They are highly arboreal and agile and can hang onto branches with their rear legs, and occasionally use their tail as a prehensile grip. Although they usually rest and bask in trees, they will also sleep on the ground or submerged in water. Crocodile monitors hunt in a unique fashion. Rather than following their prey to ambush it from behind, they may stalk the prey and anticipate where it will run, meeting it headlong. When Crocodile monitors need to check their surroundings they will rise up on their hind legs and according to native belief, they give a warning call if they see crocodiles.

Group name
Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Crocodile monitors are carnivores and scavengers. They feed on birds, eggs, small mammals, and carrion. It has been also reported that they can take down pigs, deer, and hunting dogs.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
PREGNANCY DURATION
3 to 4 months
INCUBATION PERIOD
5-8 months
BABY CARRYING
4 to 36
BABY NAME
hatchling
BABY CARRYING
4-12 eggs

Reproduction of Crocodile monitors has only been observed in captivity, so nothing is known about their reproduction in the wild. They are known to be polygynandrous (promiscuous) breeders which means that both the males and females mate with multiple partners. Females lay 4 to 12 eggs per clutch, usually around October to January. The incubation period typically lasts about 5-8 months. Hatchlings are about 18 in (46 cm) long and weigh around 56 g (2.0 oz). Like those of many other monitors, young Crocodile monitors are more colorful than adults and feed primarily on insects and small reptiles.

Population

Population threats

Crocodile monitors are threatened by deforestation and poaching. They are hunted and skinned alive by tribesmen to make drums, who consider the monitor as an evil spirit that "climbs trees, walks upright, breathes fire, and kills men".

Population number

According to IUCN, the Crocodile monitor is locally common throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List.

Ecological niche

Crocodile monitors are top predators in their ecosystem and due to their variable diet, they control populations of their prey items.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • The Crocodile monitor is the largest monitor lizard known from New Guinea and is one of the longest lizards in the world.
  • The tail of the Crocodile monitor is exceptionally long and some individuals may even exceed the length of the world's largest lizard, the Komodo dragon.
  • The Crocodile monitor has anatomical features that enable it to breathe more easily when running than other lizards can; it may also have even greater stamina than most other monitor species.
  • Like snakes, monitor lizards have forked tongues, which they use to sense odors.
  • When feeling threatened Crocodile monitors exhibit a warning posture, in which they carry their tails rolled up behind them.
  • According to studies all monitor lizards are partially venomous. In general Crocodile, monitors avoid human contact, but their bite is capable of causing infection.

References

1. Crocodile Monitor on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varanus_salvadorii
2. Crocodile Monitor on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/42485775/42485784

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