Fun Water Monitor Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Water Monitor Facts For Kids

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The water monitor (Varanus salvator), also commonly known as the Asian water monitor because of its presence in the Asian continent, is a fascinating animal. Not only is it the second largest species of lizards in the world, but also one of the fastest lizards on earth. Asian water monitors have rippling muscles visible across their elongated body and a thick, strong tail. Asian water monitor's body is covered in scales. The scale pattern is referred to as 'keeled' since the scales on the back are observed to be smaller than the ones on its head. Common water monitor lizards are black or brown and have a spotted pattern in the yellow color on their belly, which fades with age.  

There are various subspecies of Asian water monitor population that are found in the wild including Malaysian water monitor, Sumatran water monitor,  Nile water monitor, Chinese water monitor, albino water monitor, Malayan water monitor, common water monitor and several others. All in all, though they are harmless to mankind unless provoked, this reptile is still a carnivore and is vicious when it comes to devouring its prey.

Carry on with us to find out more about Asian water monitors! After reading these Asian water monitor facts for kids, do check out other articles on alligator and Komodo dragon as well.

Fun Water Monitor Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Birds, eggs, rats, fish and smaller lizards

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

6-18 eggs

How much do they weigh?

40-43 lb (18-19 kg)

How long are they?

48-96 in (4-8 ft)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Dark brown to black color

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Habitat Loss And Hunting

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them?

Lowland Freshwaters Or Wetlands


South And South-east Asian









Water Monitor Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a water monitor?

The water monitor (Varanus salvator) is a lizard belonging to the family varanidae. Asian water monitors are mostly solitary creatures and prefer living alone. The two banded monitor looks quite muscular and has a thick tail to define themselves. The Asian water monitor lizard species are sometimes named after their habitat as well as color, some examples being black water monitor or the pool water monitor.

What class of animal does a water monitor belong to?

Water monitors (Varanus salvator) belong to the class of reptiles, as is evident by the scales on its body. It is, however, a semi-aquatic species of reptiles.

How many water monitors are there in the world?

Even though a specific number is not available regarding the population of the giant Asian water monitor (Varanus salvator), it is worth noting that the population of these reptiles is quite steady in the Asia continent, specifically in Southeast Asia. In some countries, water monitors are classified as a protected species since Asian water monitors are losing their natural habitat quickly. As of now, IUCN classifies them to be a species of Least Concern regarding their conservation status.

Where does a water monitor live?

Malayan water monitor is a semi-aquatic reptile. Therefore, Varanus salvator usually lives in freshwater lowlands and wetlands where they have access to both land as well as water. They lay their eggs in tree stumps, termite mounds, and rotting logs.

What is a water monitor's habitat?

A Malayan water monitor (Varanus salvator) is a fairly versatile creature when it comes to their habitat. Even though traditionally they are found in places where there is easy access to both land and water, such as freshwater lowlands and wetlands, the water monitor has been known to live in forests, mangrove swamps, and canals constructed by humans for agricultural and irrigation purposes. The water monitor does, however, need vegetation in its habitat.

Who do water monitors live with?

Usually, water monitors are creatures that live by themselves. However, like every other species, in times of need or locations of scarce resources, monitor lizards have been found to group up.

How long does a water monitor live?

Water monitors lifespan ranges from 11 to 20 years of age. Generally, owing to environmental factors and predators, the two banded monitor may not have a long lifespan in the wild. In captivity, or as a pet animal, this large and powerful lizard species can live for up to 30 years.

How do they reproduce?

Once monitor lizards reach a length of roughly 39 in (3.3 ft), they are matured enough to be able to procreate with a female. However, the average size that is considered to be mature enough for procreation in females is almost half the size of a male at maturity. When in heat, which is usually around the months of April to October, the male’s testes will be at their largest, and the female will be fertile. In general, females lay a group of eggs, known as a clutch, which could have as many as 18 eggs or as little as six eggs. The females use rotting logs as well as termite mounds to lay the eggs.

What is their conservation status?

It is worth noting that the population of water monitor (two banded monitor) is quite steady in Southeast Asia including countries like China and Sri Lanka. In some countries, they are classified as a protected animal since large and powerful lizard species are losing their natural habitat fast, but they do not face any other significant threats. In some regions, their skin is used in illegal trade, leading to an increase in hunting. However, the IUCN classifies water monitor (two banded monitor) to be a species of Least Concern regarding their conservation status.

Water Monitor Fun Facts

What do water monitors look like?

Water monitors have rippling muscles that are visible across their elongated body, powerful legs and a thick, strong tail. These large reptiles are usually dark brown or blackish in color with yellow spots or yellow markings on the underparts. Their body is covered in scales. The scale pattern is referred to as keeled since the scales on the back are observed to be smaller than the ones on its head. The appearance of most specimen of this large and powerful lizard species are dark brown or blackish with yellow spots and yellow markings on their belly, which fade with age. Monitor lizards, like the Komodo dragon, have long necks with an elongated snout. This powerful large reptile species usually has streaks that start at the corner and extend back from each eye towards the back of their skull. Their forked tongue helps them locate the prey with more accuracy.

How cute are they?

Water monitors are creatures that are far from cute. The black temporal band edged with yellow that extends back from each eye, forked tongue, and the neck with an elongated snout give them a mean appearance. Even though they like water and can swim like a crocodile, they are not nearly as slow as crocodiles. Monitor lizards can be violent when threatened or provoked, and in order to defend themself, they will use their claws and sharp teeth. They are strong enough to be able to break your skin right down to your tendons. Moreover, even though they are not particularly scared of humans, they make hissing noises to indicate that other animals must keep away.

How do they communicate?

The water monitor generally communicates with hissing noises and gestures of its neck.

How big is a water monitor?

Asian water monitor, in their full grown size, can grow to 120 in (10 ft). However, the average size of most water monitors is about 48-96 in (4-8 ft). Its average weight is about 43 lb (19 kg).  

How fast can a water monitor move?

The water monitor is an adept swimmer and can achieve speeds higher than 25 mph (40 kmph) in water, thanks to their powerful legs.

How much does a water monitor weigh?

A water monitor, on average, weighs about 43 lb (19 kg). However, different studies have often found that this water monitor’s weight often varies based on demographic and sex.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names assigned to the adult males and females of this species. The males are referred to as a male water monitor while the females are referred to as a female water monitor.

What would you call a baby water monitor?

No specific terminology has been assigned to a baby water monitor; therefore, it is usually referred to as baby Asian water monitors.

What do they eat?

Asian water monitors are known to be extreme carnivores in terms of their diet. What this means is that this large animal will essentially eat anything it can get its hands on, as long as it is meat. Not only does this large and powerful lizard species feast on birds, eggs, rats, fish, smaller lizards, snakes, baby crocodiles, tortoises, frogs, and small mammals, its diet is also known include corpses of other animals and human beings.

Are they dangerous?

Owing to their sheer size, strength, and the fact that they are venomous and strong reptiles who will not shy away from protecting themselves from any threat, the Asian water monitor can be dangerous.  As a result, having water monitor pets at home is not advisable. The Asian water monitor bite has been described as extremely painful and dangerous by experts.

Would they make a good pet?

Having an Asian water monitor pet would not be a good idea because they are wild reptiles that need space to roam and wilderness to hunt for prey. Moreover, a pet water monitor can be dangerous for human beings since they are strong enough to bite human flesh right down to the tendons with their sharp teeth. An adult water monitor, if kept as a pet, would require a dedicated water monitor enclosure and adequate knowledge of Asian water monitor care.

Did you know...

The largest recorded Asian water monitor size ever is 120 in (10 ft). These water monitors exhibit the capability to submerge completely in water for as long as 30 minutes. When you compare water monitor vs Komodo dragon, there is actually no difference between them as a Komodo dragon is a type of water monitor lizard.

How long can a water monitor hold its breath?

A water monitor can hold its breath for up to 20 and 30 minutes under water and has a unidirectional breathing ability, which means that it consumes oxygen both while inhaling as well as exhaling.

What is the function of water monitors' claws?

A water monitor uses its claws not only for self-defense, but also for hunting prey and eating. They eat by using their limbs much like mammals do, and holding their prey in front of their snout with the help of their claws.

How much is a water monitor?

A hatchling water monitor could cost as much as 175 USD  but it could well be more expensive than this.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other reptiles including sand lizard, or bog turtle.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our water monitor coloring pages.

Written By
Kidadl Team

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