lizard inflicts a powerful bite with its long,
strong and sharp teeth|
Photo Credit: Daniel Bennett (www.mampam.com)
The Yellow Monitor has a snout-vent length 500-515 mm, tail 575-600 mm.
dorsum reddish brown, body and tail barred with alternating dark-edged
reddish brown and dirty yellow bars, ventrum light yellow.
varanid appear to be most active during the wetter part of the year and
least active in the dry winter (November - February). They shelter in
burrows, crevices in river banks or termite mounds (Khan 1988,
Auffenberg et al 1989). They may seal their burrow entrances with a plug
of earth (Auffenberg, pers. comm.). They have very short toes and are
not efficient climbers. During the wet season, when their habitats are
flooded, yellow monitors spend much of their time in water, building up
large fat reserves to sustain them through the winter. Their diet
consists largely of frogs, toads, turtle eggs and lizard eggs. They also
eat frogspawn, mammals, birds and their eggs and a range of
invertebrates, especially beetles and earthworms (Sarker 1987; Losos
& Greene 1988; Auffenberg et al 1989). According to Auffenberg et al
they do not eat molluscs, although these are available in many areas.
However Sarker (1987) records predation on crabs. Like many monitor
lizards, the yellow monitor likes to bask at very high temperatures
(45oC). In captivity the yellow monitor is a relatively inactive
species. In captivity they can live for over ten years.
activity is observed from April to June; 15-30 eggs are laid in burrows.
There is no evidence that they lay eggs in termite mounds. Theobald
(1868 in Riley et al 1985) must be referring to the Bengal monitor when
he claims that monitor lizards oviposit in termitaria in Burma. Eggs are
probably deposited in burrows in elevated areas to avoid the possibility
of nest flooding (Das, pers. comm.). In India hatchlings appear in
March. Equal numbers of males and females have been reported, but males
appear to be more active during the mating season.
yellow monitor is a poorly known species and is considered to be one of
the most endangered monitor lizards. It is found only in Bangladesh,
Nepal, India and Pakistan (Minton 1966; Smith 1932; Swan & Leviton
1962; Auffenberg et al 1989; Sarker 1987).
is a lizard of seasonally flooded forests, and marshy areas in flood
plains of the
and its tributaries. It extends into tilled fields along water courses
with mesic habitat, and usually burrows in the roots of trees and other
has a restricted distribution range. It has been reported from
and District Sialkot in northern Punjab
, and the Sindh Delta in
. It is known to extend to the western
the protected status of this lizard, trade in their skins during the
1980s was reported at almost half a million per year, most of which were
exported to Japan. The lizards' period of greatest activity coincides
with a seasonal drop in employment in agricultural areas, and as a
result many people collect their skins and sell them on to dealers (Chakraborty
& Chakraborty 1987; Luxmoore & Groombridge 1990). The yellow
monitor has probably disappeared from most of its previous range and,
with the exception of the Komodo dragon, is considered the most
endangered of the monitor lizards.