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4- Nile Monitor :
The Nile monitor (Varanus niloticus) is a large member of the monitor lizard family (Varanidae) found throughout much of Africa but absent from the west where it is replaced by Varanus stellatus. Other common names include the African small-grain lizard, water leguaan or river leguaan (leguan, leguaan, and likkewaan mean monitor lizard in South African English, and can be used interchangeably).
Lake Baringo, Kenya
Binomial name :
Nile monitors can grow to about 120 to 220 cm (3 ft 11 in to 7 ft 3 in) in length, with the largest specimens attaining 244 cm (8 ft). In an average-sized specimen, the snout-to-vent length will be around 50 cm (1 ft 8 in). In body mass, adults have been reported to vary widely, one study claiming only 0.8 to 1.7 kg (1.8 to 3.7 lb), others state weights ranging from 5.9 to 15 kg (13 to 33 lb) in big monitors. Variations may be due to age or environmental conditions. Exceptionally large specimens may scale as much as 20 kg (44 lb), but this species weighs somewhat less on average than the bulkier rock monitor. They have muscular bodies, strong legs, and powerful jaws. Their 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, defense, or tearing at their prey. Like all monitors, they have forked tongues, with highly developed olfactory properties. The Nile monitor has quite striking, but variable, skin patterns, as they are greyish-brown above with greenish-yellow barring on the tail and large, greenish-yellow rosette-like spots on their backs with a blackish tiny spot in the middle. Their throats and undersides are an ochre-yellow to a creamy-yellow, often with faint barring.
Nile monitor's native range
Lacerta monitor Linnaeus, 1758
Lacertus tupinambis Lacépède 1788
Lacerta capensis Sparrman 1783
Lacerta nilotica Linnaeus, 1766
Tupinambis elegans Daudin 1802
Tupinambus ornatus Daudin 1803
Monitor niloticus Lichtenstein 1818
Monitor pulcher Leach 1819
Stellio saurus Laurenti 1768
Varanus niloticus Mertens 1942
Varanus (Polydaedalus) niloticus ornatus Mertens 1942
Varanus (Polydaedalus) ornatus BÖHME & ZIEGLER, 1997
Their nostrils are placed high on their snouts, indicating these animals are highly aquatic. They are also excellent climbers and quick runners on land. Nile monitors feed on fish, snails, frogs, crocodile eggs and young, snakes, birds, small mammals, insects, and carrion.They are also the second largest reptile in the Nile river.
Nile monitors are native to Africa and the species is distributed throughout the entire central and southern regions of the continent, including Sudan and a portion of central Egypt along the Nile river. They are not found in any of the desert regions of Africa, however, as they thrive around rivers. They were also introduced to California, where they aren't invasive and have no known negative impact. 1
Invasive species :
In Florida, established breeding populations of Nile monitors have been known to exist in different parts of the state since at least 1990.The vast majority of the established breeding population of the species is in Lee County, Florida, particularly in the Cape Coral and surrounding regions, including the nearby barrier islands (Sanibel, Captiva, and North Captiva), Pine Island, Fort Myers, and Punta Rassa. Established populations also exist in adjacent Charlotte County, especially on Gasparilla Island. Areas with a sizeable number of Nile monitor sightings in Florida include Palm Beach County just southwest of West Palm Beach along State Road 80. In July 2008, a Nile monitor was spotted in Homestead, a small city southwest of Miami. Other sightings have been reported near Hollywood, Naranja, and as far south as Key Largo in the Florida Keys. The potential for the established population of Nile monitors in Lee, Charlotte, and other counties in Florida, to negatively impact indigenous crocodilians (American alligator, Alligator mississippiensis, and American crocodile, Crocodylus acutus) is enormous, given that they normally raid crocodile nests, eat eggs, and prey on small crocodiles in Africa. Anecdotal evidence indicates a high rate of disappearance of domestic pets and feral cats in Cape Coral.
In captivity :
Nile monitors are not for beginners; they are often found in the pet trade despite a highly aggressive demeanor and resistance to taming. Juvenile monitors will tail whip as a defensive measure, and as adults they are capable of inflicting moderate to serious wounds from biting and scratching. Nile monitors require a large cage as juveniles quickly grow when fed a varied diet, and large adults often require custom-built quarters. Soil, sand, or bark chippings can be used as substrate and should be deep enough that the monitor can replicate natural digging and foraging behavior. The enclosure should contain things to make a suitable habitat such as rocks, driftwood, plastic plants or hollow logs. A water dish large enough for the lizard to completely submerge should be provided. Nile monitors have a tendency to defecate in the water dish, which requires frequent cleaning. A healthy diet will be varied and contain insects, fish, birds, eggs, and rodents. An insect-heavy diet should be supplemented with calcium powder.
Nile monitors should have a daytime temperature gradient of about 27–32 °C (81–90 °F) and a night time temperature of about 26–27 °C (79–81 °F). A basking spot of approximately 50 °C (122 °F) should be provided at least 12 hours a day. A thermometer can be used to verify the temperature. UVB lighting is required to prevent metabolic bone disease, a common ailment in captive lizards. The humidity should be moderate.
This species is very hardy in captivity when properly maintained. Wild caught animals should be checked for internal parasites.
Albino (amelanistic) specimens have been found in the wild, but there is no evidence that they have ever been propagated in captivity.
For the external links , refrences click here to read the full wikipedia article
Tame Nile monitor, Buddy feeding options +more in description
Care Articles :
1- NILE MONITOR
courtesy to : www.reptilesmagazine.com/Lizard-Species/Nile-Monitor/
Adult Size: Nile monitors range between 4 to 5 feet in total length, though some specimens may approach or exceed 7½ feet in length.
Range: Throughout sub-Saharan, eastern and northern Africa.
Habitat: Within its natural range, this semi-aquatic monitor is rarely found far from water.
Captive Lifespan: 12 to 20 Years
Care Level: Advanced
The adult Nile monitor has a reputation for being aggressive and ill-tempered. Captive Nile monitors need large, spacious cages with water containers large enough to allow swimming and soaking. Because Nile monitors are also arboreal, their cages should be furnished with branches or elevated shelves for basking.
In captivity, young Nile monitors will thrive on various insects, small fish and newborn rodents, while adults will live on shellfish, mollusks, fish, chicks and mice (heavily furred mammals should be avoided).
Nile monitors require temperatures ranging between 82 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, with a warmer basking spot (up to about 95 or 97 degrees Fahrenheit). Nighttime temperatures can be lowered to around 70 or 75 degrees Fahrenheit. A thermal gradient is recommended.
2- Nile Monitor Lizard (Varanus niloticus) Species Profile: Diet, Housing, and Care
courtesy to : www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=17+1796&aid=1644
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith
Quick Stats: Nile Monitor
Origin: Most of Africa, excluding the northwestern portion
Size: To 7 feet (2.1 m) in the wild; to 4.5 - 5.5 feet (1.5 to 1.9 m) in captivity
Diet: Juveniles: enriched insects and canned foods; adults: rodents and an occasional cooked egg
Water: Keep it clean and fresh
Terrarium: 20 gallon aquarium for juvenile lizards; custom housing for larger specimens
Substrate: Aspen, lizard litters, and aquarium gravel and water combinations
Decoration: Live or artificial plants; provide rocks and driftwood for climbing
Lighting: full spectrum lighting with UVB
Temperatures: 80°F - 90°F, during the day and 78-80° F at night
Compatibility: Best kept alone; can be very aggressive towards others
Sexing: Difficult; males tend to be larger
Cautions: Niles can inflict serious wounds to an inexperienced handler
There are two variations of Nile Monitors in the wild. They are the V. niloticus (Nile Monitor), and V. niloticus ornatus (Ornate Nile Monitor). The Nile Monitor has seven torso bands, while the Ornate Nile has five. The Ornate Monitor tends to have a brighter coloration, and be smaller than the Nile Monitor. The Ornate Nile Monitor is restricted to the southernmost sections of its wild distribution. In captive specimens, an albino form has been developed, although these are rare and costly. Captive and wild specimens have an approximate life span of 15 years.
The Nile Monitor resembles and has similar habits as the Water Monitor (V. salvator) from Asia, and the Mangrove Monitor (V. indicus) from the mangrove swamps in India and other eastern coastal Mangrove swamps. Nile Monitors are not for beginner herp owners. They normally have an aggressive temperament that does not tame down. Although each animal is different, most will carry a nasty disposition all of their life. Niles can inflict serious wounds to an inexperienced handler. Niles grow excessively large and have specialized requirements. They should be left to the experienced hobbyist that can provide proper care and handling. They will require very secure, large enclosures, and it is recommended large monitors should not be handled alone. Some localities may require special permits to keep a nile monitor.
Small Niles can be kept in a small terrarium, although adults and sub-adults will need custom housing that provides a water area large enough for swimming and deep enough for full submersion of the animal. These enclosures should be very secure so the nile monitor does not escape. Small animals can be kept on aspen, lizard litters, and aquarium gravel and water combinations. They will dig though. Make sure that the substrate, regardless of its type, can be changed easily and that in between changes, feces can be removed.
Young animals can accept insects enriched with vitamins, and prepared canned foods. As the animals grow, rodents, and an occasional cooked egg can be introduced. Care should be taken not to feed "local" finds from the woods or yard as you do not know what the insects/rodents have been eating, and some native reptiles, especially toads, can kill your Nile Monitor.
Care should be exercised, as with any animal, that there are no dangers associated with housing decorations. Hazards include sharp edges on rocks, climbing areas that allow the animal to access heating and lighting sources, and so forth.
3- Nile Monitors
4- Nile Monitors
courtesy to : panoptesv.com/HBD/nile.html
Nile monitors are occasionally seen in the pet trade but are not recommended as pets due to their large size and agility. Regardless of what kind of a pet they make though, Nile monitors are popular with the large lizard lovers because of their swimming and tree climbing abilities and sheer beauty.
Name: Nile Monitor, Water Leguaan, River Leguaan, Veranus niloticus
Size: Up to nine feet in length, more commonly about six feet
Lifespan: 10-20 years
Temperament of Nile Monitors
Nile monitors can thrive in captivity but aren't always the friendliest. If raised from a very young age and handled regularly you may be able to trust your monitor a little bit but more often than not they aren't very tame. These reptiles are strong, can be aggressive, and are large. From the "Little Book of Monitor Lizards" in 1995,
"There are few of these lizards less suited to life in captivity than the Nile monitor. Buffrenil (1992) considered that, when fighting for its life, a Nile Monitor was a more dangerous adversary than a crocodile of a similar size. Their care presents particular problems on account of the lizards' enormous size and lively dispositions. Very few of the people who buy brightly-coloured baby Nile Monitors can be aware that, within a couple of years, their purchase will have turned into an enormous, ferocious carnivore, quite capable of breaking the family cat's neck with a single snap and swallowing it whole."
-Bennett, D. 1995. Little Book of Monitor Lizards, Viper Press, Aberdeen, UK
Feeding Nile Monitors
Nile monitors have voracious appetites. In the wild they feed on a variety of prey items including fish, eggs, insects, rodents, birds, and even other reptiles such as snakes. As pets, Nile monitors are usually fed insects (like crickets) when they are young and pre-killed rodents like mice and rats as they get larger . Wild Nile monitors eat live prey items but it is not recommended to feed live mice or rats to a pet Nile monitor due to the risk of the prey biting your lizard.
Gut loading crickets and dusting them with calcium powder before feeding your monitor is vital for a growing reptile but if you are feeding whole mice or rats it is not necessary to add anything to them.
Juveniles should be fed daily and adults should be offered food a few times a week. Obesity can be an issue in adults who don't get enough exercise therefore be careful you are not overfeeding your monitor. When considering how much an adult monitor eats a week (several large rats) you can see how expensive owning a Nile monitor will get.
Housing for Nile Monitors
Of course bigger is always better when it comes to reptile housing and this is especially true for a monitor that likes to climb, swim, run, and can grow to be nine feet long. At the bare minimum, your enclosure should be twice as long as your full grown lizard. This means your six foot monitor has an enclosure that is 12 feet long. It also needs to be secure enough to prevent them from escaping by burrowing under a fence or climbing out. A large water source, preferably one that your monitor can actually swim around in, is required along with something to climb on and hide in.
An entire bedroom in a house is often used or secure, custom made, outdoor enclosures are great seasonally to provide natural sunlight.
Heating and Lighting for Nile Monitors
Nile monitors are native to Africa (although an invasive population is thriving in Florida) where the weather is hot. A basking spot temperature should reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit with a temperature gradient down to the 80's during the day and not dropping below 80 at night.
A Nile monitor also requires UVB lighting. This light should be on a 12 hour cycle and the bulb should be replaced every 6 months, even if it doesn't burn out (unless the manufacturer guarantees it to last longer). The invisible UVB rays eventually run out and you are left with nothing more than a fluorescent bulb emitting white light.
A Nile monitor is a beautiful, large, strong, and aggressive reptile. They do not make good pets but are hardy nonetheless. If you are considering getting a pet Nile monitor please make sure you have a large and safe enclosure. You should also make sure you have the regular funding to pay for all the food it will eat over the next 20 years, check to see if it is legal to own a Nile monitor where you live, and if a vet near you is willing and knowledgeable to treat such a pet.
Nile Monitor walking on grass outside. Getty Images/Vicki Jauron/Babylon and Beyond Photography
Nile monitors are one of Africa's largest reptiles; a lizard of potentially massive proportions that lives along riverbanks, streams, lakes, and ponds. They are found anywhere in Africa where there is water, from the Nile river delta in the north, crossing the Sahara along the course of the Nile river, and from there extending as far south as the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. They are adaptable, and do well in distrubed areas and will even enter towns to scavenge among the refuse heaps.
In appearace, the Nile monitor is slender but muscular. They have a robust triangular head with a bowed lower jaw. The neck is long with a distendable throat pouch; when not distended, the skin of the throat pouch hangs in folds about the neck and throat. The robust, powerful limbs have long digits tipped with large talons. The tail is long, longer than the rest of the body from nose to hips, thick and muscular near the base, tapering to a whiplash at the end, and keeled along most of its length. Their base color is typically grey or black with yellow or white spots. Some say they have a yellow-greenish cast to them, although I have never seen the green in them myself. The limbs are marked with spots; hash marks extending across the upper and lower jaws obscure the opening of the mouth; a dark stripe goes through the eye and merges with a series of chevrons marching down the neck, which subsequently break up into spots crossing the back in distinct bands, which then merge into solid rings encricling the tail. The throat and sides are marked with distinct reticulations, and narrow dark lines cross a light colored belly. The tongue is long, narrow, forked, and dark blue or purple-blue in color. The adult size of this animal can range from a little less than a meter to up to two and a half meters. Exceptionally large Nile monitors can mass as much as 20 kilograms.
This Nile monitor is distending its throat pouch as part of a threat display. This shows it is nervous and wants to be left alone. Nile monitors, like all other monitors, also use their throat pouch to help them breathe. By pumping their pouch, they force air into their lungs, overcoming their lack of a diaphram. This lets them stay active for long periods of time without becoming tired.
In this image, the throat pouch is retracted, showing the folds of skin around the neck.
In motion, the Nile monitor holds its body well above the ground with its legs. The neck is parallel to the ground, the mid parts and end of the tail drag upon the ground. At a leasurly pace, the body swings in a sinuous arc as the limbs are lifted well clear of the ground on each swing to be plopped back down for the propulsive stroke. The tongue flickers in and out of the mouth, testing the ground and air for scents. When in a hurry, the body is held stiffer as the lizard scampers for safety or towards a tasty morsel. In the water, the Nile monitor swims with a graceful serpentine motion, with most of the power coming from its long strongly keeled tail. The Nile monitor can climb well, its talons serving as hooks to catch branches and cracks in bark or rocks. With its impressive strength, it can even friction climb by clamping a smooth surface between its limbs and shimmying upwards, much as a person might climb a rope. Nile monitors are agile and good jumpers, and can leap for low lying ledges or branches. They are also powerful diggers, with their claws and strong forelimbs allowing them to rip through even hard packed and sun baked dirt or the concrete-like outer walls of termite mounds.
This series of images shows a Nile monitor walking.
Nile monitors have acute eyesight, and are quite capable of distinguishing between people by vision alone. They can spot potential enemies, prey, rivals, or mates from a long way away. Like most reptiles, Nile monitors have color vision, and can even see more colors than we can. However, their most remarkable sense is that of smell. Their probing tongue picks up scent particles from the air, the ground, or another surface, and presses these against a special organ on the roof of their mouths that analyzes the odors collected. Because the tongue is forked, the two tines can pick up scent gradients, and allow the monitor to know which direction the scent is strongest. They use their remarkable sense of smell to find prey, track mates, keep tabs on their neighbors, and warn them of approaching predators. A monitor's sense of hearing is not nearly so acute as that of most people, however. While they are quite sensative to low to mid frequencies, their rage of hearing is nowhere near so broad of that of mammals. They react to sounds in a very different way than mammals - loud sounds that would startle a mammal may be completely ignored by a monitor even though they can hear the sound quite clearly. If they learn to associate a sound with food, however, they will pay close attention when they hear it.
Here, a Nile monitor is shown in mid tongue-flick, displaying this remarkable sensory organ of the monitor lizards.
Nile monitors are opportunistic predators and scavengers. They eat nearly anything they can catch and stuff into their maws, from birds, lizards, snakes, and small mammals to fish, insects, and worms. Their powerful jaws can crush the shells of clams, snails, crayfish and crabs to get at the meat inside. In this, they share an adaptation in comon with most of the other African monitors but not found in monitors elsewhere in the world - the teeth become blunted and peg-like in the back of the jaws with age, to better handle the stresses involved with their crushing bites. The teeth in the front of the jaws, however, tend to remain sharp but conical, for holding struggling prey. Nile monitors are notorious egg theives, and while their depredations of chicken coops are unwelcome, their remarkable apetite for the eggs of the maneating Nile crocodile must win them friends in their native lands - one study showed that 95% of all crocodile nests lost had been plundered by Nile monitors. This is no small feat, since mother crocodiles guard their nests fiercely, and a quarter to half ton crocodile is more than a match for a 2 to 10 kilogram monitor lizard. They will also consume carrion, even really rank, maggoty carrion or dried up, mummified carcases. If the carcass is too big to swallow whole, the monitor will rip it into smaller pieces with claws and teeth.
A female Nile monitor can lay up to 60 eggs in a clutch, and if like most other species of monitors, can lay several clutches a year. These eggs are often deposited in termite mounds, but may also be layed in burrows dug in sun-warmed banks or other places with suitable temperatures, humidity, and soil composition. The youngsters hatch in 6 to 9 months and dig their way out. Without parental guidance from the get-go, the hatchlings may hang out in groups while they grow.
With their prolific breeding and adaptable habits, Nile monitors are in no danger of extinction. This is fortunate, since they are heavily exploited for the leather and pet trade. Indeed, the hatchlings are a staple of pet shops in the U.S., and can be found in large numbers at most reptile trade shows, with dozens of hatchlings stuffed into a glass terrarium prominently displayed on the tables of the larger and more undiscriminating vendors; as the baby monitors claw at the sides and climb over their cage-mates seeking shelter or escape.
This exploitation for the pet trade may actually be beneficial to the wildlife and people back in Africa, since it provides income to the needy farmers and thus incentive to preserve habitat that can support the monitors. However, Nile monitors are unfortunately quite unsuitable as pets. There are all the problems involved in caring for a very large, powerful, and active lizard that you get with any other monitor; but on top of that Nile monitors are usually exceedingly untrusting and defensive. They rarely come to accept the presence of their human owners, typically running to hide as soon as they see you. If approached, they will whip you with their tails, leaving welts and bruises on unprotected skin. If grabbed, they defend themselves with claws and teeth, and show no hesitation about emptying the contents of their bowels all over you.
This picture shows a typical full threat display, with the throat pouch distended, the neck arched, and the tail coiled away from the monitor's antagonist. In this fashion, the tail is ready to lash out and strike any who venture too close, to try to get percieved attackers to keep their distance. Nile monitors have been known to lash their keepers across the eyes, a painful experience to say the least. This animal is a sub-adult, it will get a lot larger as it matures.
On the rare occasion that you get a Nile that comes to trust you, you can have a truely wonderful pet, but such a large animal needs a lot of work to give it the right home with the right heat and environment, and to keep that home (and especially the water dish) clean. Take this advice from a veteren monitor keeper, and do not let your Nile monitor have the run of your home. They are among the most reclusive of all the monitors, with a penchant for squeezing into tight, solid, and completely inaccessable places and refusing to come out. They can also be very destructive. They can dig right through drywall. They will climb your curtains and blinds, destroying them. They will climb your house plants, breaking off the stems and branches, knocking them over, and even digging out the soil. They will climb your shelves, knocking down books, collectables, or priceless china. They will wedge themselves behind shelves and push, causing the shelf to sway and once again knocking down books, collectables, and priceless china. They leave stinking, steaming piles of poop on your floor. A large and sturdy cage or a monitor-proofed room is a must.
The care of Nile monitors is practically identical to that of the argus monitors. The main difference is that Niles are semi-aquatic, and will spend more time swimming in their water dish. They are also better equipped for dealing with hard shelled prey, such as snails and crayfish. Niles don't dig quite so enthusiastically as arguses, although they do like to dig their own burrow and a deep dirt substrate that holds a burrow is still the best choice.
The difficulty of caring for a Nile monitor, the space they require, and their usually unfriendly attitude, combined with the low price and ready availability of the hatchlings, makes this lizard one of the most abused and neglected animals in the pet trade. Of that cage full of squirming youngsters at the trade shows, chances are that in a year not a single one will still be alive. Those that survive to adulthood are commonly offered to zoos, other reptile keepers, or given up for adoption to local humane societies or herp clubs. If you are thinking of keeping a Nile monitor, consider rescuing one of these adult unfortunates instead of propagating the importation of live hatchlings by the unscrupulous or misinformed pet stores and importers by giving your money to those who sell these animals for profit. The exception are those few who are attempting to pioneer the captive propagation of this species. These breeders cannot hope to make money at their hobby when importers can sell their wares at $10 a hatchling, so they operate at a significant loss for the love of the animals they keep. A true captive bred monitor is a better pet in every way - healthier and better adjusted to a captive life. Beware, however, for almost everyone who sells imported Nile monitors will claim their wares are captive bred. If you are looking for a captive bred juvenile, cut out the middle man and buy directly from the breeder. These days, this is possible with the internet, but be careful who you buy from, for con men and hucksters are all to willing to take your money and run. Demand proof in the form of photos of the eggs hatching, the parents depositing their eggs, or other such evidence, or do some research and find those breeders who are well known and respected. Unfortunately, there are very few breeders of Nile monitors, and it might be that no one trustworthy has any hatchlings at the time you are looking.
Nile monitors start out like this, cute little babies that can be obtained for low prices.
However, they soon grow into a large and powerful lizard that is usually very fearful of humans and willing to back up their distrust with teeth and claws. Even the few tame ones can be a real handful. The Nile monitor pictured is a mid sized individual, about a meter and a half long, some get much larger.
I have kept many Nile monitors, but only one was ever the slightest bit trusting. This was Cleo, a wonderful animal who captured my heart. I have her story online, click here to read it.
In case you are wondering, at this time I do not personally breed Nile monitors. I would love to try to work with this species to selectively breed a more docile, tractable animal better suited as a pet. However, given limited space and resources, I had to make a choice, and I decided to concentrate on the argus monitors.
Nile monitors are often confused with ornate monitors. For a long time they were considered to be two different subspecies of Varanus niloticus, and the ornates were typically refered to as the ornate Nile monitor (a term still occasionally used today). It is apparent to anyone who has worked with both varieties, however, that they are very different animals. That is recognized today, as the ornates have been recognized as a separate species altogether, Varanus ornatus. Even today, however, Nile monitors are sometimes referred to as "common" Nile monitors, to distinguish them from the ornate "Niles". To avoid confusion, I have assembled a web page explaining the difference between the ornate and Nile monitors, click here to read it.
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