Monitor (Nile) / Varanus niloticus

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The Nile monitor is the largest lizard found in Africa.

The egg of a large female Nile monitor can weigh 45-52g.

The weight of a clutch of eggs from a large female can approach 3,000g.

The Nile monitor is one of Africa’s most voracious predators. It is a stout-bodied , powerful lizard, with an elongated snake-like head, sharp claws, and a long, compressed tail. The tail can be used to great effect for swimming and in self-defence. They are strong swimmers and often take to water to pursue their prey. They have been reported swimming far out at sea.

Monitors hunt by actively pursuing their prey The forked tongue is used to help them locate the prey by scent in the same way as a snake. The food is swallowed whole or if large torn in to pieces before swallowing whole. The Nile monitor will eat just about anything it can overpower or find as carrion. Its diet therefore t includes everything from arthropods, amphibians and fish, to birds, small mammals and other reptiles and their eggs

Mating takes place at the end of the rainy season, following which a female can lay up to 60 eggs (the largest clutch size of any lizard) in termite mounds or burrows . The unattended eggs are left to incubate for six to nine months before hatching The brightly coloured hatchlings, which weigh about 28 g feed on a diet comprised of insects, spiders, snails and other small animals Nile monitors reach maturity at about three to four years of age.