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A scaly character

A scaly character
Photo Information
Copyright: Gerhard Theron (gerhardt) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1936 W: 244 N: 4106] (11620)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2004-09-19
Categories: Reptiles
Camera: Minolta Dimage Z1
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Lizards - Lagartos - Lézards, Reptiles - Monitors, monsters, & dragons 1 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2004-09-23 4:49
Viewed: 7128
Points: 30
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Rock Monitor (Varanus albigularus)

Also known as: White-throated monitor, Rock leguaan, Tree leguaan.

The white-throated monitor is a big, sturdy lizard found in much of central and southern Africa. This monitor is found in a variety of dry habitats including steppes, prairies and savannahs but are absent from desert interiors, rainforests and thick scrub forests.

Lengths of up to 213cm have been claimed for the white-throated, but specimens of 190cm must be rare. The tail is only slightly longer than the head and body length in adults. In many areas they rarely exceed 100-150cm. Males may become longer and heavier than females. The largest male recorded in Orange Free State, South Africa was 126cm TL (61cm Body) and the largest female was 106cm TL (49,8cm Body).

White-throated monitors seem equally at home on the ground or in trees. Their diets consist largely of invertebrates (especially snails together with beetles, millipedes and scorpions) but they occasionally take larger prey such as other lizards, snakes (including puff adders and spitting cobra), frogs, toads, tortoise, birds, eggs, mammals (including hedgehogs) and carrion. It is considered by bird watchers to be more addicted to birds and their eggs than any other Asian or African species. Its diet indicates that this is an active forager which eats any suitably-sized animal it encounters. It is said that the lizards will hide in a tree next to a bush and ambush birds by stunning them with a blow from the tail.

This bulky monitor shelters in burrows, rock crevices, abandoned termite mounds or trees. They may be inactive throughout the winter months or during the driest parts of the year and thus build up large fat reserves over the spring and summer. Torpid white-throated monitors have been found sheltering in rock crevices and shallow burrows under rocks during the winter. Like other African species the clutch size is large. In temperate areas eggs are usually laid in the spring and may over winter and hatch the following spring. Most eggs appear to be deposited in burrows (such as in abandoned nests of ground squirrels) but there are records of them ovipositing in abandoned termite mounds and suggestions that they nest in tree hollows. Up to 50 eggs may be laid per year but in the wild less than half of the eggs are likely to develop and hatch successfully.

I have a couple of experiences with this critter in the wild. It jumped in front of me while riding an off-road bike on the farm. I jerked the handles and fell; the monitor turned around and looked at me as if to say… suites you right! These creatures are very strong. I caught one about 70cm in length and the claws have a grip on the rocks that you wouldn’t believe. I are beautiful creatures and it’s true the tail packs a punch. I tried to get a photo with the tongue out, because they use it similar to a snake for smelling, but it is just to fast.

deud, kb10, RAP, marhowie, TAZ, extramundi, Oldtree, ellis49, Signal-Womb, AndyB, touristdidi, roconnell has marked this note useful
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To Oldtree: Fastgerhardt 1 09-23 16:31
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • deud Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 438 W: 11 N: 534] (2540)
  • [2004-09-23 5:38]

I like the quality of image. Excelent details on skin, eye. Super!

  • Great 
  • kb10 Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 15 W: 0 N: 29] (155)
  • [2004-09-23 5:44]

I think you used your zoom at his maximum.
His this species is like komodo : lot of bactery in his mouth?? Very dangerous when you are beat.

Je reste complètement ébahis par de telles photos. Tu as visité "Jurassique Parc"? Au début je pensais apercevoir un dinosaure. Que veux-tu ajouter à cette capture... rien c'est parfait!!! Ah si ... continue. Merci. Rudy.

  • Great 
  • RAP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2524 W: 345 N: 2373] (7405)
  • [2004-09-23 9:15]

Wow... en una primera mirada, pensé que se trataba de un juvenil de Dragon de Comodo.
El parecido entre ambos es impresionante.
Excelente imagen Gerhard, bonita composicion, con atinado encuadre, muy buena iluminacion y colorido.
Interesante nota tambien.
Gran disparo.

Wow... in one first glance, I thought that one was a youthful one of Dragoon of Comodo.
The similarity between both is impressive.
Excellent image Gerhard, pretty composition, with accurate frame, very good ilumination and colorful.
Interesting note also.
Great shot.

  • Great 
  • japie Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1814 W: 100 N: 1904] (5187)
  • [2004-09-23 10:08]

I will not let this one close to the kids or dogs. The sharpness is stunning and the lighting very good. I think this is a female and she's got that eye on your Freestate backside. Groetnis

Gerhard, When I see your posts, I always know it's time to settle in & READ for a bit! Especially liked your last paragraph telling of your first hand experiences with this "monster". Great pose & details in your image. Thanx!

  • Great 
  • TAZ Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2241 W: 47 N: 3167] (10926)
  • [2004-09-23 10:50]

Belle photo qui m'a fait penser à un dinosaure ;-) Et quel regard impressionnant ! Compliments pour la capture de qualité et pour la note !
Very well done !

  • Great 
  • PDP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 2821 W: 344 N: 3779] (11769)
  • [2004-09-23 13:17]

Whoaaa, fantastic! That's all! Great note as usual. Thanks for posting.

The photo is very good. The African light is a present, I hope we also had here.
The note perfect. Thanks Gerhard.

Thanks for your note Gerhard. Thats a great shot. This eyes is darting at you. Are they as quick as I believe they are? (they can easily outrun a man, is that right?). Wonderful composition with this special light. Perhaps one day I will visit africa. I have the feeling that I will like it there.

Very good Gerhard
Nice colours, good composition and good sharpness.
Great note.
Very well done.

Do I read scaly character or scary Character. This is like a scene from Jurassic Park. I love its colour, markings and texture. Super photo Gerhard and note of equal.

  • Great 
  • AndyB Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1366 W: 32 N: 1351] (3982)
  • [2004-09-24 2:42]

A great shot.
Excellent composition and DoF.
Very nice lighting and texture.
A great note too,very well done.

What a face, scares me! great photo!!!!

Specular closeup of this lizard. The detail in the skin, and especially the eye, is wonderful. This monitor lizard could be fetured on the next dinosaur movie poster.

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