It has been said that the name of monitor lizards is derived from a superstition that the creatures would give a warning about the presence of crocodiles. However, this explanation may be apocryphal. According to Wildwatch (http://www.wildwatch.com/resources/other/monitors.asp), the name actually resulted from a mishearing of the Arabic word oaran (lizard) as the Germanwarnen (to warn), which was subsequently Latinized into monitor.
Varanus acanthurus: Spiny-tailed goanna or Ridge-tailed monitor
Varanus albigularis: White-throated monitor
Varanus brevicauda Short-tailed monitor
Varanus exanthematicus: Savannah monitor
Varanus flavescens: Yellow monitor
Varanus giganteus: the Perentie
Varanus gilleni Pygmy mulga goanna
Varanus gouldii Sand goanna (also Gould's goanna, or Ground goanna)
The smaller species, such as varanus acanthurus or "ackies" are ideal for first time monitors keepers.
The larger species, such as varanus salvator, varanus albigularis or varanus niloticus, although cute little lizards as hatchlings, grow at tremendous rates and can easily be 4'+ by the end of their first year.
All monitors, as of now, belong to the genusvaranus but they may soon be split into smaller groups including the Odatria group (Bennett 1998).
It is one of the largest Australian monitors, and is sometimes known as the "racehorse monitor" because it is capable of extreme speed, often running bipedally.
Varanoidea is thought to have evolved in Asia by at least 90 million years ago, whereas the oldest representatives of Varanus date to 25 million years ago.
The varanid skull is distinguished by a number of features, including an elongate fork-shaped premaxilla, fifteen scleral ossicles, and contact of the descending processes of the frontals below the olfactory tracts.
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