Sandspruit News

Nile Monitor Lizard spotted on the Sandspruit


24 November 2016

Nile Monitor Lizard

During a river clean-up on 17 November, some of the participants spotted what they thought was crocodile on the Sandspruit near Luderitz.

One of the "Friends of Sandspruit", Emmarentia Geldenhuys, went over to take pictures, but the reptile had slithered off and wasn't seen again. She did manage to take pictures of the tracks left behind and had these confirmed as belonging to a Nile Monitor Lizard (Varanus niloticus) also known as a Leguaan or Likkewaan by expert Kailen Padayachee of the KaiNav Conservation Foundation.

Nile Monitor footprints
Nile Monitor footprints

It is great news that these creatures are able to lve within this urban environment and hopefully we will see a lot more of him in the future. From the description this was a large specimen of 1.5 metres in length. At this size they are capable of inflicting serious injuries if they are cornered or feel under threat so please don't get too near it if you do spot him.

Nile Monitor Lizard

If you do spot one, please share the news on our Facebook page, we'd love to hear about it.

Nile Monitor Lizard

Nile Monitor facts

  • Nile monitors grow to about 120 to 220cm in length, with the largest specimens attaining 244 cm.
  • Adults can weigh anywhere from 5.9 to 15kg, although some exceptional specimens have been recorded at 20kg.
  • Their teeth are sharp and pointed in juvenile animals and become blunt and peg-like in adults.
  • They also possess sharp claws used for climbing, digging, defense, or tearing at their prey.
  • The Nile monitor has quite striking, but variable, skin patterns, as they are greyish-brown above with greenish-yellow barring on the tail and large, greenish-yellow rosette-like spots on their backs with a blackish tiny spot in the middle.
  • Nile monitors feed on fish, snails, frogs, crocodile eggs and young, snakes, birds, small mammals, insects, and carrion.
  • Nile monitors are native to Africa and the species is distributed throughout the entire central and southern regions of the continent, including Sudan and a portion of central Egypt along the Nile river.
  • Other common names include the African Small-grain Lizard, Water Leguaan or River Leguaan.

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