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Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 15:14 EDT

Nile Monitor

The Nile Monitor, Varanus niloticus, is a large member of the lizard family Varanidae. They are native to Africa and commonly found along the Nile River, from where it gets its name.

Nile Monitors grow to about 6 feet in length. They have muscular bodies, strong legs and powerful jaws full of sharp teeth. They have sharp claws used for climbing, digging, defense, and tearing apart prey. Like all monitors they have a forked tongue, which facilitates their sense of smell.

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. Nile monitors feed on fish, frogs, eggs, birds, small mammals, large insects, and carrion.

Nile Monitor