Desert Monitor Lizard

The Desert Monitor Lizard (Varanus griseus) is a large reptile in the Squamata order of monitor lizards.

The Desert Monitor Lizard can be a variety of colours from light-brown to yellowish to grey, with spots and 5-8 dark-brown bands. It also has dark-brown bands on its long, tapered tail. It has a large mouth. Its nostrils are close to its small, brown eyes. Its feet have toes with long, sharp claws. 

Desert Monitor Lizard

It grows to about 100 centimetres (39 inches) long. 

It is native to North Africa, Central Asia, and South Asia, in countries such as Turkey, Morocco, Mali, Sudan, Egypt, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. It prefers semi-deserts and clay environments. 

The Desert Monitor Lizard is carnivorous, eating a range of small mammals and invertebrates, such as termites. It also eats lizards, snakes, reptile eggs and bird eggs.

It is a good swimmer, and a strong digger. It builds a burrow about a metre (several feet) long.

The Desert Monitor Lizard hibernates in winter. 

It is oviparous. The female lays 5-12 eggs in soil or in a termite mound, which hatch after 90-140 days. 

Desert Monitor Lizard
Desert Monitor Lizard

[Location of photographs: Dushanbe, Tajikistan]

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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