The crocodile monitors you see today aren't the ones from back in ancient times. They're much larger and mostly have yellow spots & stripes along with black-green bodies. Some can weigh as much as 44 pounds!

Physical Description

Crocodile monitors are large, arboreal (or tree-dwelling) lizards from southeastern Asia. They have blackish-green bodies with varying patterns of bright yellow spots and stripes. Their coloration adds diversity to their ecosystem and can help them blend in. Monitor lizards are unique among crocodiles because they have large, long-wrapped tails and sharp teeth. They use these features for hunting and defense separately.

The physical differences between monitor computers can be difficult to see without studying them more carefully. Males tend to have wider, flatter heads while females have finer ridges on their heads. They also have smaller scales than males and a reduced hemipenal bulge that is difficult to see without studying them more carefully.

Scientists have identified some hormones in the blood of male crocodile monitors to test their bone health. Scientists found that their testosterone level is ten times more than females, which can be attributed to these creatures being more aggressive and less submissive towards humans.



A python can weigh up to 44 pounds (20 kilograms) and grow up to 8 feet in total length (2.4 meters). The tail of the snake can account for two-thirds of this length.

Native Habitat

Crocodile monitors inhabit tropical and subtropical forests between sea level and 740 meters (2,427 feet). They live in very fragmented populations but there's a high population density in parts of New Guinea, Papua & West Papua.

These animals only live in forests where humans don't disturb them and often near bodies of water. Because they're arboreal, they'll scurry up trees when scared. Explore these forest habitats - try to find them on the ground near a body of water or tucked away safely in the treetops!

Food/Eating Habits


Crocodile monitors are hard to study. While scientists still don't know much about their diets in the wild, we can safely say that they eat birds, mammals, and fish - primarily small ones like frogs & snakes. They also eat eggs, carrion, and reptiles like lizards & gobies.

The crocodile monitor at the National Zoo - in addition to catching and eating dangerous animals- also eats chicks, quail, mice, and small rats.

Social Structure

Male and female croc monitors have different temperaments. Male crocs are solitary animals, but some of those in human care have formed pairs.

Reproduction and Development


Crocodile monitors are very elusive, so not much is known about their reproduction. Scientists are not even sure where the female monitor makes her nest. All current reproductive information comes from monitors in human care. Females of different species are known to incubate their eggs for different lengths of time. In general, the breeding process may take four to six weeks after mating.

Females also have been found to lay clutches of eggs that have been incubated, but the number of eggs in a clutch is unknown. Female crocodiles typically lay 4-12 eggs in their nests. The temperature inside the nest can reach up to 95 degrees Fahrenheit, and females may be able to detect when an egg is about to die by sensing or smelling it. They will then remove the sickly egg until the others are ready. Hatching takes about 45 days and may begin with as few as two eggs, but typically three or four will hatch.

Hatchlings typically do not emerge at the same time, and there can be as many as four weeks between the emergence of the first and last hatchling. The average length for a crocodile monitor hatchling is about 35.5 cm (14 inches). Hatchlings also grow 2 inches (.5 centimeters) over their lifetime.


Today, crocodile monitors are typically kept in zoos as pets because their lifespan is unknown.

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