Rock Monitor

Rock Monitor

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Varanus albigularis
Population size
Unknown
Life Span
12-20 yrs
WEIGHT
3-8 kg
LENGTH
0.8-2 m

The Rock monitor is a large heavy-bodied lizard native to Africa. Its head and neck are the same length and are distinct from each other. The bulbous, convex snout gives an angular, box-like appearance. The forked tongue is pink or bluish, and the body scales are usually a mottled gray-brown with yellowish or white markings.

Di

Diurnal

Ca

Carnivore

Sc

Scavenger

Te

Terrestrial

Ar

Arboreal

Pr

Predator

Bu

Burrowing

Ov

Oviparous

Pr

Precocial

So

Solitary

No

Not a migrant

R

starts with

Distribution

Geography

Rock monitors are found in Central Africa, Southern Africa, the African Great Lakes, and the Horn of Africa. They live in a variety of dry habitats, including steppes, prairies, and savannahs, but are absent from desert interiors, rainforests, and thick scrub forests.

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Rock monitors lead a solitary life and live in tunnels which they dig themselves or in burrows abandoned by other animals. They may also take shelter in tree holes or rock crevices. Rock monitors feed by day on a broad variety of prey and are not averse to occasionally scavenge the corpses of vertebrates, even those as large as vervet monkeys; these are sometimes torn to pieces by "death rolling" prior to consumption.

Group name
Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Rock monitors are carnivores and scavengers. They eat primarily invertebrates, especially millipedes, beetles, mollusks, and orthopterans. Tortoises also make up a significant part of their diet and are swallowed whole due to the hard shell.

Mating Habits

REPRODUCTION SEASON
October-November
BABY NAME
hatchling
BABY CARRYING
8-50 eggs

Rock monitors breed between October and November and females lay 8-50 eggs in a hole they dig in moist soil or in a hollow tree.

Population

Population threats

These large lizards suffer from habitat destruction and from hunting for their skin, meat and are frequently used in traditional medicines by local people.

Population number

Presently, the Rock monitor is not included in the IUCN Red List and its conservation status has not been evaluated.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • The Rock monitor is the heaviest-bodied lizard in Africa. It is also the second longest African lizard after the Nile monitor.
  • The scientific name of this lizard is roughly translated as a monitor with a white throat.
  • The Rock monitor is locally called leguaan or likkewaan.
  • Rock monitors are quite intelligent lizards. They have demonstrated the ability to count as high as six in an experiment conducted by Dr. John Philips at the San Diego Zoo in 1999. Philips offered varying numbers of snails, and the monitors were able to distinguish numbers whenever one was missing.
  • It is suggested that the English name, monitor, may have been appeared due to the occasional habit of these lizards to stand on their two hind legs and to appear to "monitor", or perhaps from their supposed habit of "warning persons of the approach of venomous animals".

References

1. Rock Monitor on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_monitor

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