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Nile Monitor

Nile Monitor
Photo Information
Copyright: Anna Eksteen (Miss_Piggy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2285 W: 5 N: 5300] (18714)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2014-04-30
Categories: Reptiles
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC HX1, Sony G lens 20x Optical zoom, Digital ISO 125
Exposure: f/5.0, 1/800 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2014-07-06 0:10
Viewed: 4598
Points: 26
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Nile Monitor / Varanus niloticus

We were fortunate to take a short vacation in the Kruger National Park at the end of April, this year and although we did not see as much as we are used to see in the Kruger, I got to take two images on my wish list, being a leguaan or any type of lizard showing its blue tongue.

I never thought I'd enjoy taking a photograph of a leguaan or even a crocodile, as I am an insect, small flower or a birdie type of camera freak and I enjoy nothing more than to try and capture these creatures.

This image was taken from quite a distance as we were in the vehicle on one of the bridges and the two monitors were down at the water edge, and I had to really stretch and almost hang out of the window to get some shots. I was pleased with the outcome, and would like to share this reptile with you.

The Nile monitor (Varanus niloticus) is not only Africa's largest lizard but also one of the continent's most voracious predators. Stout-bodied and powerful, this formidable reptile has an elongated snake-like head, sharp claws, and a long, compressed tail which it uses to great effect when under threat. The tough, beady skin of the adult is greyish-brown with regular yellow spots arranged in distinctive bands down the head, body and tail. The colour patterning of juveniles is more vibrant, with dark black skin covered in bright yellow spots and blotches. It reaches a length of 2 meters.

With an almost insatiable appetite, the Nile monitor is renowned for eating just about anything it can overpower or find as carrion. Consequently, its diet includes everything from arthropods, amphibians and fish, to birds, small mammals and other reptiles. Hunting strategies vary, but it is rare for the Nile monitor to shy away from a challenge, and it will even team up with other individuals to steal eggs from larger predators such as Nile crocodiles. While one monitor provokes a female crocodile away from a nesting site, another will dig up the unguarded eggs.

Propelled by its powerful tail, the Nile monitor is an excellent swimmer and can reportedly spend up to one hour submerged. Although largely aquatic, the mornings are often spent basking in the sun on rocky outcrops or sandy banks. On land, it walks with a sinuous swagger and will sometimes climb trees to bask, feed or sleep. However, this species is more vulnerable on land and if threatened will normally do its best to avoid injury and will flee to the safety of deep water. When escape is not an easy option, it will boldly defend itself, using its hefty tail, sharp teeth and powerful claws to injure or frighten away the aggressor.

Following mating, this takes place at the end of the rainy season, the female lays up to 60 eggs (the largest clutch size of any lizard) in termite mounds or burrows. Under fairly constant temperature and humidity, the unattended eggs are incubated over a period of six to nine months before hatching. The brightly coloured hatchlings survive on a diet comprised of insects, spiders, snails and other small animals, and reach maturity after three to four years

Given its colossal range, it is no surprise that the Nile monitor occurs in a wide variety of habitats, wherever there are permanent bodies of water. Although this excludes deserts, this species has been found in most other habitats including grassland, scrub, forests, mangroves, swamps, lakes and rivers.
Although the Nile monitor is exploited for its meat and skin, and to a lesser extent in the pet trade, it remains widespread and common. Source

I hope you enjoy looking at this photo as much as I took pleasure in taking it.

josediogo1958, kinglove, Hotelcalifornia, Ishi, KOMSIS, Alex99 has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hello Anna
Congrats for this wonderful capture of this species looking at You.A very crisp shot with wonderful colors,sharpness and clarity.Thank You.
Have good sunny Sunday!
Kind regards

Hello Anna
照的清晰 很漂亮的蜥蜴
顏色鮮豔華麗 真是很大的一隻 很新奇
光線亮麗 構圖美麗 背景深遂

Hello Anna-Beautiful picture of this Nile Monitar.Very attractive colour and details.Even claws are well visible.I have seen this species in Tshokwane,but was very far.Like details on rocks and the colour of green-yellow path on stone.Nice timing.Nice work.Kruger is my favourite place due to its Bio-diversity.Thanks for sharing such attractive picture.Regards and have a nice time-Srikumar

hallo Anna
great sharpness picture of this reptile
good details nice composition and beautiful naturel colours
great shot Anna
gr lou

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2014-07-06 11:10]

Hello Anna,
Remarkable animal this Monitor Lizard. Nice to see it in eye contact. Good sharpness with the smallest details and beautiful natural colours.

Ciao Ahna, great capture of fantastic creature, wonderful natural colors, fine details and splendid sharpness, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2014-07-06 18:02]

Hello Anna,
So nice to see you finally captured one of these awesome looking lizards with it's blue tongue sticking out. Hopefully it wasn't directed at you as you were taking it's picture:)
It sounds like it could be the terror of the area in which it lives. I'm sure not many animals would like to tangle with such a ferocious creature.
Nicely photographed and showing good detail and beautiful colors. Hard to believe you took this at such a long distance as it looks fantastic.

Super cool capture Anna! Nile monitors are amongst my favorites in the reptile kingdom. You snapped a wonderful portrait that shows the beautiful markings on this giant of the Nile. :)

  • Great 
  • Ishi Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 298 W: 21 N: 1943] (13387)
  • [2014-07-06 22:50]

Shalom Anna,

Excellent picture and most interesting note. Thank you for acquainting us with this amazing lizard!

All the best,


  • Great 
  • iti Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 577 W: 0 N: 650] (7939)
  • [2014-07-07 10:49]

Hi Anna,
Fantastic shot of this beautiful lizard. Amazing colors with nice sharpness details. Very good the eye's contact.
Regards Jiri.

Hello Anna,
An excellent capture,remarkable details and perfectly exposed.
Thanks for sharing,
Best regards....Joy

  • Great 
  • KOMSIS Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 820 W: 0 N: 2419] (10674)
  • [2014-07-10 3:51]

Hallo Anna,
As a small crocodile ..
Great capture of this Varanus. Very good composition and good sharpness.
Best wishes,

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2014-07-20 9:20]

Hi Anna.
I am amazed with eye-contact with so beautiful animal. Its pose and glance are amazing as well as pictorial surroundings, wonderful vivid colours of the scene and ultimate details of all subject. Great job. Warm regards and TFS.

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