Water monitors (Varanus salvator) range throughout Southeast Asia. As their name implies, they are often found in and around water. They can stay submerged for up to 30 minutes and have been known to swim great distances. This ability probably contributes to their extensive range.
Among lizards, they are second in size only to the Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis.) Reportedly, they can get up to 10 feet long, however they more commonly grow to 5-6 feet in length.
They are powerful hunters and their diet consists of just about anything they can catch and eat- birds, small mammals, fish, eggs, crustaceans, lizards, snakes, frogs, small crocodiles, turtles, carrion, etc. They are good climbers and may take to the trees to escape danger but will more readily escape into the water.
Our water monitor is the newest resident on the Borneo level of the rainforest exhibit. She came to us from a zoo in New Jeresy and has been settling in well. As she is very new to the exhibit, she does spend a fair amount of time hiding but can typically be seen basking in the late morning and early afternoon. Her diet here at the academy consists of mice, chicks and fish.
While most water monitors are greenish black with yellow to cream colored markings, she is completely black and patternless. It is a naturally occuring color pattern for this species, but not one that is commonly seen.