The Savannah Monitor, varanus exanthematicus, is a lizard which habitat extends from Senegal as far as Eritrea and northern Zaire. The majority of lizard skin used in the leather trade is derived from this species.
This is a robust creature, with powerful limbs used for digging. It grows to lengths in excess of 4 to 5 feet and in some instances can cause deep lacerations with its claws and tail, although these are usually unintentional traits. Its diet is wide-ranging, including giant crickets, millipedes, centipedes, snails, scorpions, worms, insect larvae, small to medium birds, small reptiles, rodents and similar animals.
Savannah Monitors, as with other Varanids, are venomous. Venom pools around the lizard’s teeth and enters the bloodstream when the prey animal is bitten. The monitor releases the animal and waits for it to die. They use their amazing sense of smell to track the dying animal.