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

Varanus bengalensis


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.


Mahamevnāwa Gardens (Mahāmēgha, Pali: Mahāmeghavana) is an ancient park in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. It was created by King Mutasiva (367 - 307 BC) whose name is in the history as the first king who structured a park. He who was the son of King Pandukabhaya and the father of King Devanampiya Tissa. King Pandukabhaya is the founder of the city of Anuradhapura. King Mutasiva, after succeeding his father, formed two royal gardens which was located to the south and outside the ancient capital city of Anuradhapura. The garden called Nandana (Jōtivana) was situated immediately after the south gate and then was the Mahāmēgha. At the auspicious time the park was being started, there was an unusual fall of very heavy rain so the garden was named "maha (=heavy) megha (=shower)". According to Mahavamsa, the garden had been full of various kind of treas so with fruits and flowers

1 Species ID Suggestions

i_munasinghe 3 months ago
Bengal monitor
Varanus bengalensis Bengal monitor - Wikipedia

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jazz.mann 3 months ago

thanks I_minisinghe!

jazz.mann 3 months ago

Thanks so much. I am wondering if you looked at the other lizards in my collection that I couldn't quite ID. I think most or all of them look the same as this one and are Bengal Monitors. Would you agree?

jazz.mann 3 months ago

I'm thinking either Asian Water Monitor (Varanus salvator) or Bengal Monitor / Common Indian Monitor (Varanus bengalensis)? My guide called it a Land Monitor, but I find no wiki reference to that.

Spotted by

Anuradhapura, North Central Province, Sri Lanka

Spotted on Jul 15, 2016
Submitted on May 30, 2021

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