Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Monitor Lizards: Cleaner of the Mangroves

Naked Facts:
  • Monitor lizards are the “cleaners” of the mangrove habitat as they eat anything that they can swallow therefore helping to make sure there is no too much of any living things in the mangrove.
  • Their long list of 'diet' consists of (here goes): tiny insects, crabs, molluscs, snakes, eggs (of birds and crocodiles), fishes (including eels up to 1m long), rodents, small mouse deer, other monitor lizards and even human faeces. But they are particularly fond of dead bodies.
  • They have known to eat prey almost as big as themselves: a 1.2m long monitor lizard ate a snake 1.3m long.
  • Corny Joke: As long you try not to look ‘delicious’, they are not known to consume humans.
  • Message behind joke: Observe but not disturb them.
  • The Water Monitor's main hunting technique is to run after prey that it has spotted, rather than stalking and ambushing.
  • Like snakes, they have a forked tongue that they stick in and out regularly to "smell" their prey and other tasty titbits.
  • Water Monitor Lizards are highly mobile. They can swim, run faster than most of us can run and even climb trees.
  • Monitors can survive in habitats (such as the mangrove forests) that wouldn't be able to support other large carnivores as they are cold blooded (If you need to drag time, you might want to explain the difference between warm and cold blooded).
Did you know?
  • Komodo Dragons are a member of the monitor lizard family, Varanidae.
Too Much Information:
  • They have been seen swimming far out at sea and can remain underwater for up to half an hour.
  • They climb to search for food as well as to escape predators. The young usually stay in trees for safety. If cornered up a tree, they will jump into the safety of a stream or river.
  • As scavengers, Water Monitors keep the habitat neat and tidy, and also control populations of their prey. They in turn provide food for larger carnivores such as crocodiles and birds of prey. Small young Water Monitors are particularly vulnerable even to large birds such as herons.
More about the Monitor Lizard.

R(A) link (Watch how two monitor lizards mate):

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