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Monitor Lizards

Biology Of Monitors, Species Of Monitors, Monitors And People

Monitor lizards include 24 living species of large lizards in the genus Varanus, family Varanidae. Monitors inhabit tropical and sub-tropical regions of Africa, Asia, and Australia. Monitors are among the most advanced of the lizards, in terms of achieving an active, predaceous lifestyle.

The largest species of monitor, and the world's largest lizard, is the extremely impressive Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis), which can achieve a length of 9.8 ft (3 m) and a weight of 300 lb (135 kg). The Komodo dragon is an endangered species, occurring only on a few, small Indonesian islands. An even larger monitor lizard, known as Megalania, was about twice as long as the Komodo dragon, and is known from fossils collected in Australia. The smallest species is the short-tailed monitor (Varanus brevicauda) of western Australia, only 7.9 in (20 cm) long and weighing 0.7 oz (20 g).

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