Rock Monitor

Varanus albigularis

The Rock Monitor, also known as the White-throated Monitor, at a total length of up to two meters, with males weighing as much as 17kg (average is about half that, and males are much bigger than females), is one of our biggest lizards (just slightly shorter, but heavier, than the closely related Water Monitor). They occur all over South Africa, with the exception of the southwestern Cape and very arid western parts of the Northern Cape, inhabiting arid scrublands, grasslands and savanna. It also occurs widely through the rest of southern, central and east Africa as far north as Ethiopia.

Rock Monitors are diurnal predators, feeding on anything small enough to overpower (mainly invertebrates and smaller reptiles) and carrion. At night they hole up in burrows, under or between rocks, or in large holes in trees. They also hibernate in these places during cold winters. Rock Monitors mate in early spring, wit the female laying clutches of up to 50 eggs in termite mounds or holes dug in soft soil. While incubation periods of about 4 months have been recorded in captivity, the eggs normally take much longer to hatch in the wild, with many clutches also being lost entirely to opportunistic predators like the Banded Mongoose.

When threatened, Rock Monitors will defend themselves with powerful lashes from their tails, failing which it will sham death in the hope that the attacker will lose interest and move on.

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27 thoughts on “Rock Monitor

  1. perdebytjie

    Ek het eendag gesien hoe ‘n nuuskierige leeuwelpie met daardie stert geslaan word toe hy aan die likkewaan ruik.Die groot leeus in die trop het die likkewaan geïgnoreer, beslis uit ervaring! Daardie nuuskierige een het omtrent ‘n agteroor bollemakiesie gemaak van skrik. Ons het so gelag. Jou foto’s is weereens pragtig, Dries!

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  2. petrujviljoen

    Na die muishond nou die aand begin ek aandag gee aan spore. Mongoose beteken blykbaar ‘tracker’. Kan dalk so agterkom of die likkewaan hierbo in die omtrek is of nie. My pa en ek het een keer ‘n likkewaan weggelei, of probeer weglei, van die plaashuis en omliggende werkershuise af. Daar’s blykbaar ‘n bygeloof oor hulle maar kan nie nou onthou wat dit is nie.

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Ek kan dink dat likkewane nogal aangetrek sal word deur opstalle op plase – met die dat daar gewoonlik baie pluimvee en ander kleiner prooi beskikbaar is.
      Ek het egter niks raakgelees oor bygelowe wat likkewane raak of bedreig nie. Hulle word wel van tyd tot tyd gesmokkel as eksotiese troeteldiere.

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            1. de Wets Wild Post author

              Jammer, Petru. Mens onthou hom altyd asof dit net gister was en asof hy enige tyd weer deur die deur gaan kom. My eie Pa al amper 13 jaar gelede oorlede en elke nou-en-dan vang ek myself nogsteeds dat ek dink ek moet onthou om hom dit-of-dat te vertel wanneer ek hom sien.

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