Monitor Lizard at Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda
This marvellous monitor was draped over some sort of nest high up in an acacia tree.
I suspect it had recently devoured the contents of the nest and was taking a hard-earned
rest. Tragically, I didn't steady my camera well for the 400mm hand-held shots on slow
film, with the massively fuzzy results displayed here. I shoulda known better. (This picture
is cropped to about 1/4 the content of the full frame.)
Based on the ranges of the African monitor lizard species, this must be either Varanus albigularis, the White-throated Monitor, or Varanus niloticus, the Nile monitor. It's hard to estimate the size from such a distance, but I would guess it was between 5 and 6 feet long (including tail). And it was beautifully patterned, which maybe you can slightly tell from this terrible picture. In favor of the Nile monitor: the species is very large and comfortable in trees. In favor of the White-throated monitor: the pattern seems too colorful for an adult Nile monitor, which seem to get pretty plain-colored as they get huge. But I'm not a monitor lizard expert, so I'm waffling.
Please send me mail if you have any further information, reference suggestions, or wild guesses that might help me identify this lizard.
7/8/00 -- After reading up a little more about monitors, I've decided this one is Varanus albigularis, based on (1) very large size with pronounced markings, and (2) not located particularly close to water.
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