Desert Monitor

Varanus griseus griseus

There are three subspecies of Varanus griseus: caspius (eastern desert monitor), griseus (western desert monitor, our photo), and koniecznyi (Thar desert monitor). They live in the Middle East, north Africa, and the deserts of central Asia, as far east as northern India. They have their nostrils close to their eyes, rather than at the tip of their snout, which helps them in breathing when they burrow in the sand. They eat pretty much everything that moves and is of suitable size, including cobras, scorpions, and other lizards, and even things that do not move, such as eggs and dead animals.

The above picture was taken in St. Louis zoo, in May 2002.

Subgenus Psammosaurus
Genus Varanus
Family Varanidae
Infraorder Platynota
Suborder Sauria
Order Squamata
Class Reptilia
Subphylum Vertebrata
Phylum Chordata
Kingdom Animalia
Life on Earth