|Nile monitor range|
The Nile monitor (Varanus niloticus) is a large member of the monitor lizard family (Varanidae) found throughout much of Africa. Other common names include the African small-grain lizard, water leguaan or river leguaan (leguan, leguaan, and likkewaan mean monitor lizard in South African English, and can be used interchangeably). Until 1997, the Nile monitor included the ornate monitor (V. ornatus) as a subspecies.
Nile monitors can grow to about 120 to 180 cm (3 ft 11 in to 5 ft 11 in) in length, with the largest specimens attaining 244 cm (8 ft 0 in). In an average-sized specimen, the snout-to-vent length will be around 50 cm (1 ft 8 in). In body mass, adults have been reported to vary widely, one study claiming only 0.8 to 1.7 kg (1.8 to 3.7 lb), others state weights ranging from 5.9 to 15 kg (13 to 33 lb) in big monitors. Variations may be due to age or environmental conditions. Exceptionally large specimens may scale as much as 20 kg (44 lb), but this species weighs somewhat less on average than the bulkier Varanus albigularis. They have muscular bodies, strong legs, and powerful jaws. Their teeth are sharp and pointed in juvenile animals and become blunt and peg-like in adults. They also possess sharp claws used for climbing, digging, defense, or tearing at their prey. Like all monitors, they have forked tongues, with highly developed olfactory properties. The Nile monitor has quite striking, but variable, skin patterns, as they are greyish-brown above with greenish-yellow barring on the tail and large, greenish-yellow rosette-like spots on their backs with a blackish tiny spot in the middle. Their throats and undersides are an ochre-yellow to a creamy-yellow, often with faint barring.
Their nostrils are placed high on their snouts, indicating these animals are highly aquatic. They are also excellent climbers and quick runners on land. Nile monitors feed on fish, snails, frogs, crocodile eggs and young, snakes, birds, small mammals, insects, and carrion.
Nile monitors are native to Africa and the species is distributed throughout the entire central and southern regions of the continent, including Sudan and a portion of central Egypt along the Nile river. They are not found in any of the desert regions of Africa, however, as they thrive around rivers.
In Florida, established breeding populations of Nile monitors have been known to exist in different parts of the state since at least 1990. The vast majority of the established breeding population of the species is in Lee County, Florida, particularly in the Cape Coral and surrounding regions, including the nearby barrier islands (Sanibel, Captiva, and North Captiva), Pine Island, Fort Myers, and Punta Rassa. Established populations also exist in adjacent Charlotte County, especially on Gasparilla Island. Areas with a sizeable number of Nile monitor sightings in Florida include Palm Beach County just southwest of West Palm Beach along State Road 80. In July 2008, a Nile monitor was spotted in Homestead, a small city southwest of Miami. Other sightings have been reported near Hollywood, Naranja, and as far south as Key Largo in the Florida Keys. The potential for the established population of Nile monitors in Lee, Charlotte, and other counties in Florida, to negatively impact indigenous crocodilians (American alligator, Alligator mississippiensis, and American crocodile, Crocodylus acutus) is enormous, given that they normally raid crocodile nests, eat eggs, and prey on small crocodiles in Africa. Anecdotal evidence indicates a high rate of disappearance of domestic pets and feral cats in Cape Coral.
Nile monitors require experienced care as pets and are not recommended for beginners; nevertheless they are often found in the pet trade. Albino (amelanistic) specimens have been found and propagated in captivity.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Varanus niloticus.|
|Wikispecies has information related to: Varanus niloticus|
- IUCN Red List and search for Varanus niloticus
- "Synonyms of Nile Monitor (Veranus nioloticus)". Encyclopedia of Life. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
- Varanus niloticus, The Reptile Database
- "leguan - definiton". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
- Böhme, W., & Ziegler, T. (1997). A taxonomic review of the Varanus (Polydaedalus) niloticus (Linnaeus, 1766) species complex. The Herpetological Journal 7: 155-162.
- Nile Monitor Care Sheet
- Enge, K. M., Krysko, K. L., Hankins, K. R., Campbell, T. S., & King, F. W. (2004). Status of the Nile monitor (Varanus niloticus) in southwestern Florida. Southeastern Naturalist, 3(4), 571-582.
- "Varanus niloticus". Monitor Lizards – Captive Husbandry. Monitor-Lizards.net. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
- Condon, K. (1987). A kinematic analysis of mesokinesis in the Nile monitor (Varanus niloticus). Experimental biology, 47(2), 73.
- Hirth & Latif 1979
- "ANIMALS - Varanus niloticus". Dr. Giuseppe Mazza's Photomazza. Retrieved 2013-06-06.
- "Nile Monitors". L. Campbell's Herp Page. Retrieved 2013-06-06.
- (Schleich et al., 1996; Spawls et al., 2002).
- Reptile Specialists (Nile monitor)
- "NAS - Invasive Species FactSheet: Varanus niloticus (Nile monitor)". Nonindenous Aquatic Species. Gainesville, FL: United States Geological Survey. Archived from the original on 2009-05-09.
- (Campbell, 2003; Enge et al. 2004).
- Everglades CISMA
- Hofmeyer, Erik (10 June 2008). "Homestead ARB home to diverse array of wildlife". Homestead Air Reserve Base News (Homestead Air Reserve Base). Retrieved 15 December 2013.