African Savannah Monitor
Scientific NameVaranus exanthematicus albigularis
Native To Western and central Africa
Habitat Savannas and arid regions
Diet Carnivore: arthropods, ground dwelling birds, small mammals, reptiles, eggs and carrion (the decaying flesh of dead animals)
Size and Age Average length of 76-107 cm (2.5-3.5 ft), maximum length of 155 cm (5 ft); lifespan up to 13 years (in captivity)
Savannah monitors are thick, stocky lizards with wide heads, short necks and tails. They are rather territorial, and encounters between two males are followed by threats made to each other in a bid to intimidate the other. Sometimes they get into duels and start wrestling, during which their bodies become intertwined and their bites can cause severe damage to each other. Their feeding style is based on a feast or fast system. The wet season brings an abundance of food, and savannah monitors take full advantage. During the dry season they survive off the fat reserves accumulated during the wet season.