A close-up of two monitor lizards

Monitor Lizards

Monitor lizards have forked tongues, which they use (as a snake does) to detect scents in the air. Many of them are good swimmers and this family includes the largest lizard on Earth, the Komodo dragon.

Scientific name: Varanus

Rank: Genus

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Map showing the distribution of the Monitor Lizards taxa

The shading illustrates the diversity of this group - the darker the colour the greater the number of species. Data provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

BBC News about Monitor Lizards