This African monitor lizard is semi-aquatic but also a good runner, digger and climber. The species is threatened by habitat loss, hunting for food by local people and collection for the pet trade.

Behaviour: They are predators and scavengers, and eat any food that is vaguely meat-like, from rats and snakes to crabs, insects, and clams. The head of the ornate monitor is among the most powerful and robust of any monitor species. They use their jaws like nutcrackers to break open snails, clams, and crabs for the meat inside.


Their primary diet is crustaceans, birds, eggs and carrion


Tropical moist forests, often with rocky outcrops or cliffs, in central and West Africa

Fun Fact

Sometimes two monitors will team up to make a meal. One distracts a mother crocodile or bird from its nest, while the other steals the eggs


Enjoys a lifespan of to 15 years in captivity

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