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Crocodile Monitor

Varanus salvadorii

Lengthy Lizard

The crocodile monitor is one of the longest lizard species in the world, with a tail twice as long as it's body! They are close in length to their relative, the Komodo dragon, although not nearly as heavy.

About the Species

The crocodile monitor is the largest monitor found on the island of Papua New Guinea.

Crocodile monitors have blunt snouts. They are darkly colored with yellow spots, which allows for great camouflage in the swampy mangrove forests they prefer to inhabit. These monitors are mostly tree dwelling, with sharp claws to grasp onto branches and a long tail for balance in the trees. Crocodile monitors are unique among monitor lizards in that their teeth are flat and serrated. Other monitor lizards have curved teeth, allowing for them to grasp and hold onto their prey. The crocodile monitor's teeth allows it to slice and tear its prey. This type of bite is similar to a crocodile's, hence their name.

Words From the Experts


Considered to be one of the longest species of lizard in the world, this species is only found on the island nation of New Guinea. Most of the crocodile monitor's natural history remains a mystery because of how intelligent and shy these arboreal creatures are. Entire expeditions who have targeted seeing this species often times leave without spotting a single one.



Did You Know?

Monitor lizards are the only reptiles besides snakes to have forked tongues. This allows them to use their sense of smell and taste to "see" what's going on around them.


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Papua New Guinea

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7–9 feet | 200 pounds

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Birds, small mammals, eggs, carrion

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Humans hunt them for their meat and skin

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Natural Defenses

Sharp teeth, long tail, camouflage

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In captivity, 4–12 eggs per clutch

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Least Concern

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Life Expectancy

12–20 years

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