Water Leguaan, Nile monitor, Water Monitor…

Don’t ask me what the difference is, I don’t know. I grew up knowing these as Leguaan.

The Nile Monitor (Varanus niloticus), also called Water Leguaan, or River Leguaan, is a large member of the monitor lizard family (Varanidae).

In South Africa they are commonly referred to as leguaan, from the Dutch for iguana.

Monitors can grow to about 9 ft. (2.7 m) in length. They have muscular bodies, strong legs and powerful jaws. The 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, defence, or tearing at their prey. Like all monitors they have a forked tongue, with highly developed olfactory properties.

Their nostrils are placed high on the snout, indicating that these animals are highly aquatic, but are also excellent climbers and quick runners on land.  Monitors feed on fish, snails, frogs, crocodile eggs and young, snakes, birds, small mammals, large insects, and carrion.

Which ever member of the Varanidae family this is, I don’t know, what I do know it’s a leguaan…

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A little one… sunning it’s self…

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And this is one verrrrry.. big one… see the size compared to the Impala….

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And at some stage he has had a fight.. look at the teeth marks on his tail..

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60 thoughts on “Water Leguaan, Nile monitor, Water Monitor…

  1. Greetings Bulldog, good fun to follow the responses to your great leguaan pics – read Gerald Durrell’s books for anecdotes regarding their capture – very entertaining (suggest The Bafut Beagles)…

  2. This is why I enjoy pools so much more than natural bodies of water…:| I just could get comfortable on my floating lounge chair knowing critters like these were cruising around me.

  3. Very interesting read and photos amazing – I bet that the tail can break legs .. if too close.
    Could be a cousin to the Komodo dragon … they are scary. Nearly 3 mtr .. is half a Komodo. Amazing shots .. you got here.

  4. Sempre fantastiche le tue foto. Scusami tanto se seguo poco in questo periodo, ma ho pochissimo tempo libero e alla sera non ho molta voglia di mettermi al pc. Un caro saluto, Pat

  5. They look very similar to our goanna in Australia. They say these creatures are short sighted and if you frighten one in the bush they’ll ‘run up’ you because they think you’re a tree – but I’m pretty sure this is just an old wives tale 😉

    • That sounds to me like an old wives tale, otherwise there would be a lot of stories of people with these things sitting on their heads… yes the Goanna is just one more portion of the family… these monitors are so similar it is difficult telling some from the other…

    • I have seen a couple doing battle over a female and although they normally look like they are wrestling.. I have never seen one bite the other on the tail… but would not rule it out as the loser runs for it and the winner chases… maybe this one got a reminder as to who is the boss…

  6. Hahahaha!!! Bulldog playing Crocodile Dundee, attacking the Leguaan with his teeth. You always put such interesting visuals in my head :). They are awesome creatures, but they make Zipper the gecko look like a newborn LOL!

    • You picturing me as Crocodile Dundee has now given me a good laugh… specially as I bite instead of using a long knife, like the Aussie… Now I’m picturing myself dashing around the reserves on foot chasing down the large leguaans so I can battle with them… thank you that has started my day off with a good laugh… Yes Zipper will have to take a back seat to this guy…

    • The chances of that are slim at the least… he’ll hear you or feel your vibrations and be off long before you surprise him,,, although he could give you a fright if he suddenly dashed away from near you… they have a deep hissing, almost throat clearing sound that might even frighten me if I was unaware of his presence..

    • Got hungry and tasted its tail… lol… they often fight each other over a female… I can only think that tooth mark is from a like size lizard that gave him a “nasty” during a fight…

    • These guys give an air of danger but actually are so timid… my son managed to grab one once.. I don’t think he realised how powerful they are… it let him have it with its tail and the contorting body made it difficult to avoid those claws… all he wanted to do was give it a love…

    • NO never killed humans, have a nasty tail swing when they feel threatened, but normally run from any contact with humans… this one I crept up on with the vehicle, to manage to get so close without him realising I was in the car… otherwise he would have been in the water and gone…

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