African Savannah Monitor

Scientific Name Varanus exanthematicus albigularis

Native To Western and Central Africa

Habitat Savannahs and arid regions (rocky deserts, open forests and woodlands). The typically reside in burrows and hollow trees

Diet arthropods, ground dwelling birds, small mammals, reptiles, eggs and carion,

Size and Age 85-100 cm (but can reach up to 130 cm)

Natural History

  • Thick, stocky lizard with a wide head, short neck and tail.
  • The tail tapers and is marked by brown/yellow rings
  • Typically grey to light yellow
  • Head has often light yellow markings
  • Symmetrical rows of circular, dark edged yellow spots across the animal's back
  • The belly and the inside of the limbs is yellowish-grey or gray to brown in color.
  • The tongue is forked and blue

Conservation Status

There is insufficient data to accurately gauge the conservation status of this animal.

Interesting Facts

  1. Savannah monitors have evolved to be able to eat poisonous millipedes. The lizard rubs its chin against the millipede, causing it to extreme its poison and making it safe for the monitor to eat
  2. They sometimes claim abandoned burrows originally dug by mammals, will also live in hollowed out trees and have occasionally been found in termite mounds
  3. Females typically lay 10-50 eggs. These eggs will hatch in 5-6 months and generally in March
  4. These monitors eat during Wet season (up to 1/8th of their body weight in 1 day) and fast during the dry season (living off their fat reserves)