The peacock monitor (Varanus auffenbergi), also known as Auffenberg's monitor, is a species of small monitor lizard native to the island of Rote Island, Indonesia. It belongs to the subgenus Odatria.
The generic name Varanus is derived from the Arabic word waral ورل, (alternative spelling waran= "lizard"). The name comes from a common semitic root ouran, waran, or waral, meaning "lizard". The occasional habit of varanids to stand on their two hind legs and to appear to "monitor" their surroundings may have led to this name, as it was Latinized into Varanus. Its specific name auffenbergi honors US herpetologist Walter Auffenberg.
The peacock monitor is one of the smaller monitor lizards, usually reaching a length of 60 cm (23.5 in). It is similar to the Timor monitor (V. timorensis), with some differentiation in the underside coloring and patterns. The coloring patterns fade as these lizards reach adulthood. They have blue-grey ocelli, whereas the Timor monitor has cream-colored ocelli.
In the wild, peacock monitors have been seen climbing the trunks of palms and then basking on their crowns. They are calm and shy compared to other monitor lizards. Peacock monitors remain shy even in captivity.
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- Behavior video on YouTube