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crocodile monitor, Salvadori monitor, Papuan monitor, tree crocodile
The crocodile monitor is widely recognized as one of the longest lizards in the world. It has a long head and neck, and a sturdy tail that is twice as long as its body. The monitor is mostly black with white, yellow, or green specks or dots. It has strong claws on its feet and folds or flaps of skin around its throat region.
Adults average 2.1-2.7 m (7-9 ft.) from head to tail; larger individuals can be as long as 3.9 m (13 ft.)
Up to 90 kg (200 lbs.)
Carrion, small reptiles, mammals, and bird eggs
Papua New Guinea
Most commonly found in lowland forest canopies and adjacent savannahs, usually near water sources such as swamps or rivers
Monitors are the only reptiles other than snakes to possess forked tongues. Like snakes, this tongue shape allows for better accuracy in locating a prey's scent.
Unlike most monitors, which have curved teeth to hold their prey, crocodile monitors have flat, serrated teeth for slicing and tearing meat. The crocodile monitor's bite is similar to that of a crocodilian, hence its name.
Highly arboreal, crocodile monitors use their sharp teeth to hold their prey in their mouth while climbing up and down trees. Crocodile monitors use their long, sturdy tail for balance while climbing trees, and will forcefully whip their tails for defense.
ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION
Crocodile monitors have long been hunted for their meat and skin by native Papua New Guineans. These reptiles are also being negatively affected by deforestation of their natural habitat and by their role in the pet trade.
Brun, John F.
Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians
. Hong Kong: T.F.H. Publications, 1974.
Lizards of the World
. New York: Facts on File Publications, Inc., 1989.