Lizards > Monitors

Monitors (Varanidae; likkewane)

This small family of about 40 living species contains the world's largest lizards. The Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) of Java reaches 3 m total length and is the largest extant lizard. Larger fossil forms, approaching 6 m, have been discovered in Southern Asia and Australia. All monitors are very similar in appearance and can be identified by their long necks, well-developed limbs with strong claws, a long, latterally compressed tail that cannot be shed or regenerated, and a long, retractile tongue, similar to a snake's. Small species eat insects while larger species eat anything they can overcome. They are all oviparous laying large soft-shelled eggs in holes or termite nests. Only two species occur in South Africa, none of which is found in the Greater Cederberg Biodiversity Corridor.

 

 

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