the central florida zoological park


New Guinea Crocodile Monitor

Varanus salvadorii

Status in Wild: Protected under CITES

Range: Papua New Guinea

Habitat: Generally arboreal, or tree dwelling. Crocodile monitors inhabit rainforests and adjacent savannas.

Description: The crocodile monitor is reported to be the longest lizard in the world. Juveniles measure eight to 11 inches upon hatching. As adults, they can reach lengths of 13 feet (the Komodo monitor is the most massive lizard, weighing up to 200 pounds, but only reaching 12 feet in length).

Round or oval shaped light yellow spots and flecks cover the body in transverse rows across the back. The head is long and flat and the lateral view displays a strongly vaulted muzzle. Monitors have long, pointed teeth and there are many flaps or folds of skin around the throat region. The tails is long and whip-like and is generally twice as long as the head and body. It is well adapted for tree dwelling with its long claws, elongated body and long tail.

Diet: Little information has been collected on the native diet, however it is speculated that crocodile monitors feed on bird eggs and naked-tail rats.

Conservation Status: The crocodile monitor is currently protected under the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) agreement, but is not listed in the Endangered Species Act. Population estimates are not available at this time and little is known about this species of lizard. The Central Florida Zoo is one of 17 zoological parks currently maintaining crocodile monitors. The total U.S. captive population totals 52 individuals.

Threats to Species: Deforestation, human consumption for meat and hides, and collection for the pet trade are all dangers to the monitor.