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Back to Education IndexThe Bosc’s Monitor (Varanus exanthematicus) sometimes also called the Savannah Monitor is a medium sized species of monitor lizard native to Africa. The species is known as Bosc's monitor in Europe, since French scientist Louis Bosc first described the species. It belongs to the subgenus Polydaedalus, along with the Nile, the ornate and other monitors.
Their range extends throughout sub-Saharan Africa from Senegal east to Sudan and south almost to the Congo River and Rift Valley
Bosc's or Savannah Monitors are stoutly built, with relatively short limbs and toes, and skulls and dentition adapted to feed on hard-shelled prey. They usually reach a maximum size of 5 feet [155 cm] in length with females being considerably smaller. The pattern of coloration of the skin varies according to the local habitat substrate. The body scales are large, usually less than 100 scales around midbody, a partly laterally compressed tail with a double dorsal ridge and nostrils equidistant from the eyes and the tip of the snout.
Information about the diet of savannah monitors in the wild has been recorded in Senegal and Ghana. They feed almost exclusively on arthropods and molluscs Lulus millipedes, small crickets, scorpions and amphibians were the most common prey.
Male V. exanthematicus are very territorial and will defend their territory very aggressively. If two males come across each other they will try to intimidate each other by making threats. If this does not work, they will wrestle and their bodies will become intertwined as they bite each other. They can inflict severe injuries upon one another. When cornered, V. exanthematicus can be very aggressive. It will hiss loudly, thrash its tail and get ready to strike. If all this does not scare off a predator, some have been known to play dead.
Savannah monitors are most active during the day. They often seek shelter in burrows during the hotter parts of the day. Varanus exanthematicus use their tongue to sense their environment when they are out during the day. They flick their tongue an average of 20 to 40 times every two minutes. After they have attacked and bitten prey the tongue flicking rises to as many as 160 flicks every two minutes. This helps the animal to find the injured and escaping prey.
This page is about the Wonderful Bosc's Monitor (Varanus Exanthematicus)
Click HERE for a Bosc Monitor care sheet.