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Bengal Monitor Lizard, Sri Lankan Land Monitor lizard, common Indian monitor

Varanus bengalensis

Description:

The Bengal monitor (Varanus bengalensis) or common Indian monitor, is a monitor lizard found widely distributed over the Indian Subcontinent, as well as parts of Southeast Asia and West Asia. This large lizard is mainly terrestrial, and its length can range from about 61 to 175 cm from the tip of the snout to the end of the tail. Young monitors may be more arboreal, but adults mainly hunt on the ground, preying mainly on arthropods, but also taking small terrestrial vertebrates, ground birds, eggs and fish. Although large monitors have few predators apart from humans who hunt them for meat, younger individuals are hunted by many predators. The Bengal monitor can reach 175 cm with a snout-to-vent length (SVL) of 75 cm and a tail of 100 cm. Males are generally larger than females. Heavy individuals may weigh nearly 7.2 kg.[2] The populations of monitors in India and Sri Lanka differ in the scalation from those of Myanmar; these were once considered subspecies of the Bengal monitor, but now considered two species within the V. bengalensis species complex. verification needed] What was once the nominate subspecies, V. bengalensis, is found west of Myanmar, while V. nebulosus is found to the east. V. nebulosus can be differentiated by the presence of a series of enlarged scales in the supraocular region. The number of ventral scales varies, decreasing from 108 in the west to 75 in the east (Java). Young monitor lizards are more colourful than adults. Young have a series of dark crossbars on the neck, throat and back. The belly is white, banded with dark crossbars and are spotted with grey or yellow (particularly in the eastern part of the range). On the dorsal surface of young monitors, there are a series of yellow spots with dark transverse bars connecting them. As they mature, the ground colour becomes light brown or grey, and dark spots give them a speckled appearance. Hatchlings of V. nebulosus by comparison tend to have a series of backward-pointing, V-shaped bands on their necks.

Habitat:

Udawalawe National Park. The national park was created to provide a sanctuary for wild animals displaced by the construction of the Udawalawe Reservoir on the Walawe River, as well as to protect the catchment of the reservoir. The reserve covers 30,821 hectares (119.00 sq mi) of land area and was established on 30 June 1972. Udawalawe is an important habitat for water birds and Sri Lankan elephants. Udawalawe lies on the boundary of Sri Lanka's wet and dry zones. Plains dominate the topography, though there are also some mountainous areas. The Kalthota Range and Diyawini Falls are in the north of the park and the outcrops of Bambaragala and Reminikotha lie within it. The park has an annual rainfall of 1,500 millimetres (59 in), most of which falls during the months of October to January and March to May. The average annual temperature is about 27–28 °C (81–82 °F), while relative humidity varies from 70% to 83%. Well-drained reddish-brown soil is the predominant soil type, with poorly drained low humic grey soils found in the valley bottoms. Mainly alluvial soils form the beds of water courses. The habitat surrounding at the reservoir includes marshes, the Walawe river and its tributaries, forests and grasslands. Dead trees standing in the reservoir are visual reminders of the extent of forest cover before the construction of the Udawalawe Dam. Areas of open grassland are abundant as a result of former chena farming practices.

Notes:

addional shots included to show the environmental context/habitat

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jazz.mann
Spotted by
jazz.mann

Uva Province, Sri Lanka

Spotted on Jul 14, 2018
Submitted on Jun 1, 2021

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