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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.[3][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:

Yala National Park. coastal lowlands. The Yala area is mostly composed of metamorphic rock belonging to the Precambrian era and classified into two series, Vijayan series and Highland series. Reddish brown soil and low humic grey soil are prominent among six soil types. Yala is situated in the lowest peneplain of Sri Lanka, which extends from Trincomalee to Hambantota. Topographically the area is a flat and mildly undulating plain that runs to the coast with elevation is 30 metres (98 ft) close to the coast while rising in the interior to 100–125 metres (328–410 ft). The national park is situated in the dry semi-arid climatic region and rain is received mainly during the northeast monsoon. The mean annual rainfall ranges between 500–775 millimetres (19.7–30.5 in) while the mean temperature ranges between 26.4 °C (79.5 °F) in January to 30 °C (86 °F) in April. It is windier in Yala, during the southwest monsoon compared to the wind during the northeast monsoon with wind speeds from 23 kilometres per hour (14 mph) to 15 kilometres per hour (9.3 mph). Water is abundant after the northeast monsoon, but during the dry season surface water becomes an important factor. The bodies of surface water appear in the forms of streams, tanks, waterholes, rock pools, and lagoons. Waterholes occur in low lying places while rock pools of varying size are capable of containing water year-round, and are hence an important source of water for elephants. For many water birds and water buffaloes natural waterholes are ideal habitats. Such reservoirs are largely concentrated to the Block I followed by Block II. Several tanks are there including, Maha Seelawa, Buthawa, Uraniya, and Pilinnawa tanks. Many rivers and streams flow in a southeasterly direction, originating in the highlands of adjacent Uva and central hills. Kumbukkan Oya in the east and Menik River and its tributaries in the west flow across the park, and provide an important water source in the dry season to wild animals of the park. Normally the streams of the park are dry during the drought season. These rivers and streams exhibit a degree of runoff fluctuations between wet and dry seasons. Kumbukkan Oya discharges seven times as much water in the rainy season than in the dry season. A number of lagoons are situated along the coast line of the park.

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jazz.mann
Spotted by
jazz.mann

Southern Province, Sri Lanka

Spotted on Aug 13, 2017
Submitted on Jun 1, 2021

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