The Bengal monitor (Varanus bengalensis) is a common, medium sized monitor lizard found in the Indian Subcontinent. It is rated as " Least Concern" by the IUCN but its population is decreasing due to habitat fragmentation and hunting.
|Brightly colored juvenile|
Distribution and Habitat
The bengal monitor is the most common monitor in the Indian Subcontinent. They are also found in Iran, Malysia, Java and Sumatra. They are absent in the Andaman Islands. They can be found in rainforests, swamps and arid regions. They are often found in agricultural and cultivated land. They can be found in burrows, tree hollows and termite mounds.
They eat insects, small mammals, amphibians and other lizards. It basically eats anything it can overpower. They may even scale trees to stalk bats. Juveniles are almost completely insectivorous. It is a common sight to see them stealing eggs from nests, be it a bird's or crocodile's. It senses its prey by both smell and sight.
Habits and Behavior
Bengal monitors are diurnal creatures. They often dwell in trees or burrows. Just like snakes, they flick their tongues out to "taste the air". They can run at high speeds and are very able climbers. They are also good swimmers. They are generally very docile creatures. When alarmed or threatened, it tries lies still to remain unseen or escape notice. When cornered, it may even stand on forelegs and lash its tail repeatedly on the ground. Bites from these monitors are quite painful and once the jaw is embedded into the flesh, it is difficult to remove due to its curved teeth. They lead a solitary life and have a keen eyesight.
Life Cycle and Breeding
|Bengal monitor in Bannerghatta National Park, Karnataka, India.|
The bengal monitor is rated as "Least Concern" by the IUCN. It is the most widespread monitor in the Indian subcontinent, which consists of most of its range. Its population is decreasing in certain parts of its range due to hunting for skin. Illegal pet trade is also a contributing factor. It is now a protected species by many governments.
Source of pic 2