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Monitor Lizards

Monitors And People

Monitors are hunted in many places for their meat, skin, and eggs. A preparation of the fat of monitors is used in traditional Chinese medicine, and monitors may be hunted for this trade anywhere that they occur. Monitors are also threatened by losses of their natural habitat in many places. Some populations of the Indian monitor (V. indicus) have been decimated by poisoning when they attempt to eat the cane toad (Bufo marinus). The cane toad excretes a highly toxic chemical from large glands on the sides of its neck, which poisons native predators that attempt to eat the toad. The cane toad has been widely introduced in the tropics in misguided attempts to achieve a measure of biological control over some types of insects that are agricultural pests. Some species of predatory birds have also been decimated by the cane toad, and so likely have other species of monitors in addition to the Indian monitor.



Carroll, R.L. Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution. New York: Freeman, 1988.

Grzimek, H.C. Bernard, ed. Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1993.

Bill Freedman

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