Nile Monitor

Raptor is our ambassador Nile Monitor. He is still a baby and still scared of people. He has not been to an event yet but as he grows larger and becomes more comfortable with handling, he will start to make an appearance in the educational trailer.
Common Name:  Nile Monitor
Scientific Name: Varanus niloticus
Type: Varanid
Diet: Carnivore
Average Life Span: 15 years
Size: Up to 8 feet in length
IUCN Red List Status: Unknown
Current Population Trend: Unkown

About the Nile Monitor

The Nile monitor is a large member of the monitor family found throughout most of Sub-Saharan Africa and along the Nile. It can be confused with the Ornate monitor and West African Nile Monitor who are both subspecies. Nile monitors can grow to about 3 ft to 7 ft in length, with the largest specimens attaining 8 ft. In body mass, adults have been reported to vary widely, one study claiming only 2 to 4 lb, others state weights ranging from 13 to 33 lb in big monitors. Variations may be due to age or environmental conditions.

They have muscular bodies, strong legs, and powerful jaws. Their teeth are sharp and pointed in juvenile animals and become blunt and peg-like in adults. They also possess sharp claws used for climbing, digging, defense, or tearing at their prey. Like all monitors, they have forked tongues, with highly developed olfactory properties. Their nostrils are placed high on their snouts, indicating these animals are highly aquatic. They are also excellent climbers and quick runners on land.

Nile monitors feed on fish, snails, frogs, crocodile eggs and young snakes, birds, small mammals, insects, and carrion. They are also the second largest reptile in the Nile river.

Invasive Species
In Florida, United States, established breeding populations of Nile monitors have been known to exist in different parts of the state since at least 1990. Genetic studies have shown that these introduced animals are part of the subpopulation that originates from West Africa and now often is recognized as its own species, the West African Nile monitor. 

Captivity Issues
Nile monitors are often found in the pet trade despite a highly aggressive demeanor and resistance to taming. Juvenile monitors will tail whip as a defensive measure, and as adults they are capable of inflicting moderate to serious wounds from biting and scratching. Nile monitors require a large cage as juveniles quickly grow when fed a varied diet, and large adults often require custom-built quarters.

Source: Wikipedia