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Nile Monitor / Water Monitor

Afrikaans name: Waterlikkewaan

A Nile Monitor heading towards the camera - check out the claws and tongue

Photo © Steven Herbert

Varanus niloticus

There are a number of different names for the Nile Monitor including Water Monitor, Water Leguaan and River Leguaan.

This is a large lizard that can grow to nearly 2 metres in length.

It is a member of the family of monitor lizards.

Nile Monitors have strong jaws. They are carnivorous and eat fish, insects, other aquatic animals and even small mammals. They are well-known for raiding Nile Crocodile nests and pinching the eggs or young. This is a risky job as the female Nile Crocodile keeps an eye on her nest and will defend it aggressively.

Over a short distance they can reportedly outrun a human! Their tail can be used as a powerful weapon.

The Nile Monitor is normally associated with water and can stay underwater for an hour.

Nile Monitor

Photo © Steven Herbert

Nile Monitors have a rather long forked tongue! They walk along flicking it out regularly to try and pick up the scent of food.

Nile Monitor

Photo © Steven Herbert

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