Monday, 27 October 2008

Asian Water Monitor (Varanus salvator)

Adult Asian Water Monitor (subspecies V. s. macromaculatus) at Malacca, Malaysia - July 2016

OTHER NAMES: Water Monitor, Malayan Water Monitor, Rice Lizard
Local Name (Malay): Biawak Air ("Water Lizard")
Featured Subspecies: Varanus salvator macromaculatus
Weight: 19.5kg
Length: 150-200cm
NO UK STATUS IUCN Red List: Least Concern

The Water Monitor is a huge species of lizard - the second largest of the entire family after the Komodo Dragon, and with a far bigger range spreading across all of Southern Asia from India to Indonesia.  They are powerful opportunistic predators which will feed on eggs and live small food.  As the name suggests, they are also powerful swimmers and spend much of their time in water - using their powerful tail to propell them.  I only saw them in Malacca, a single large adult on the first evening on a short walk, followed by a number of young ones on an early morning walk along the same route the next morning - basking on the rocks mere feet away from humans.

Related Species:
Order: Squamata
Family: Varanidae
Genus: Varanus
SUBSPECIES: V. s. salvator, V. s. andamanensis, V. s. bivittatus, V. s. komaini, V. s. macromaculatus, V. s.ziegleri

 - Sighting Locations -
MALAYSIA - A locally common resident.
 - MALAYSIA/SINGAPORE 2016 TRIP: Several near the river mouth in Malacca

Further Notes: RSPB, Wikipedia, BirdGuides, BirdForum Opus, Arkive, IUCN Red List

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