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Monitor this lizard! The wild Nile!

Here at Critter Squad Wildlife Defenders, we are definitely big reptile fans, so we’ve got another awesome monitor lizard as our Animal of the Week! This one is the Nile Monitor, found across Africa, although in the western regions there is a different subspecies – the West African Nile Monitor. These monitor lizards gain their name from their habitat of choice – they love to live around rivers and are often found along the Nile river, hence the name, Nile Monitor! They are medium to large sized lizards, and have a few other common names such as water leguaan, river leguaan, and African small-grain lizard.

Are Nile Monitor Lizards dangerous?

These monitor lizards do look pretty vicious, and looks aren’t deceiving in this case – Nile Monitors tend to have a fairly aggressive demeanor, and can often be territorial. The bite from a Nile Monitor would be extremely painful, these lizards have the power to crush human bones when they attack. Monitor Lizards are definitely not a beginner reptile or pet to have and can resist domestication, so it’s recommended to love these creatures in the wild and from a distance unless you are an expert in a safe situation.

How big is a Nile Monitor?

Nile Monitors are not the biggest of the monitor lizard family, however they are definitely not in the small reptile group like a crested gecko or bearded dragon. Typically these lizards will reach over 5 feet long, with a range from roughly 3 ft to 7 ft depending on the individual. Males tend to weigh more and are a bit more active than females because they eat more.

What does a Nile Monitor eat?

Most monitor lizards are pure carnivores – so hunting prey is a big priority, and the Nile Monitor isn’t much different. In the wild their diet can include anything from reptiles and amphibians, to mammals and birds, and even any eggs they might find. However these awesome lizards will really try and eat anything they can overpower, so nothing smaller than them is safe when a Nile Monitor is hungry. They hunt in a variety of ways, and Nile Monitors will even team up to take down bigger prey, or distract Nile Crocodiles while one monitor steals their eggs.

How long does a Nile Monitor live?

Bigger animals tend to have longer lifespans, and while this still rings true for the Nile Monitor, their lifespan truly isn’t much longer than the average cat or dog. In general 6 – 10 years is a good average when in the wild, and like most animals they gain a few years to their lifespan in captivity. Nile Monitors in captivity have been known to live past 15 years on occasion.

Are Nile Monitors endangered?

The Nile Monitor species is not distinctly listed by the IUCN endangered list, and no special measures have been taken for their conservation. This leads us to believe their population numbers are stable, and threats to their habitat or food sources are not strong enough to truly threaten the species. However, because of the boom for monitor lizards in the pet trade and their fairly aggressive demeanor, it is a legal offense to trade or sell Nile Monitors without a permit.

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