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Mangrove Monitor

Varanus indicus

Mangrove Monitors, also known as the Common or Black-spotted Monitor, is a species of lizard that belongs to the family Varanidae. They can grow to be quite large, with adult individuals reaching up to 2 meters (6.5 feet) in total length, although most individuals are typically between 1-1.5 meters (3-5 feet) long. 

They have a relatively stout body and a long tail, which is used for balance and as a weapon. They have powerful legs and sharp claws, which they use to climb trees and burrow into the ground. They also possess salt-excreting nasal glands that equip them to survive saltwater conditions.

Their scales are rough and spiky, and their coloration is typically a dark brown or black with scattered yellow or white spots.

Mangrove Monitors are found in a variety of habitats, but they are most commonly associated with mangrove forests. They are also found in tropical rainforests, coastal forests, and swamps. 

They are typically found in coastal areas, although they can also be found in nearby inland areas. They are native to the coasts of Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the northern coast of Australia.

Mangrove Monitors are opportunistic feeders and will eat a wide variety of food items. Their diet is typically made up of insects, crustaceans, mollusks, fish, frogs, small mammals, and birds. They will also eat other reptiles, including smaller monitor lizards.

Their salt-excreting nasal glands allow them to eat marine prey as well.

Mangrove Monitors are semi-aquatic animals and are quite agile swimmers. They can swim long distances and hold their breath for extended periods of time, making them well-suited to life in the mangroves. 

They are also good climbers and will often be found basking in trees. Mangrove Monitors are ectothermic, which means that they rely on external sources of heat to regulate their body temperature. 

They will often be found basking in the sun or on warm rocks to raise their body temperature. They will also retreat to shaded areas or water to cool down. 

They are solitary animals and will defend their territory against other males. These lizards will hibernate during the winter months to conserve energy. They burrow into the ground and enter a state of torpor, where their metabolism slows down and they become less active.

Mangrove Monitors belong to the family Varanidae, which is also known as the monitor lizard family. Other well-known members of this family include the Komodo Dragon and the Nile Monitor. The scientific name for the Mangrove Monitor is Varanus indicus.

Mangrove Monitors are not considered endangered by the IUCN red list, but the population of them are decreasing due to destruction of their natural habitat, hunting and collection for the pet trade. Efforts are being made to conserve this species and its habitat, but more work is needed to ensure its long-term survival.

Mangrove Monitor Graphic
By Σ64 - Own work, CC BY 4.0,
Mangrove Monitor Clickable
Photo by David Clode on Unsplash
Mangrove Monitor gallery photo
By Σ64 - Own work, CC BY 4.0,
Mangrove Monitor Varanus indicus gallery photo
"Mangrove Monitor Varanus indicus" by Scott Eipper is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit