I learned something new today. Well, a whole lot of things, really, but I’ll stick to the subject of monitor lizards for now. :p
Varanids are the largest lizards / saurians found in the country and in the world. Sri Lanka harbors two species of varanids, the Land monitor (Varanus bengalensis) and the Water monitor ( Varanus salvator).
Varanus bengalensis is mainly found in the lowland dry zone of the country, but reaches elevations of ca. 500m. It is one of the most widely distributed of the living varanids. It inhabit a large range of habitats ranging from arid desert fringes to rainforests, but is most common in farmlands (particularly the coconut plantations) and dry, open forests.
Funny how they don’t mention rooftops of houses.
Land monitors reach a maximum snout to vent length of about 140 cm in Sri Lanka and large specimens can weigh over 10 kg. Land monitors spend the nights in burrows, where their body temperature decreases. The following morning see enlarged image they must raise their body temperatures by basking before commencing activity, hence they are rarely active early in the morning.
The ones on our roof are up to four feet or perhaps a little more long, and the biggest weighing in at around 22 pounds sounds about right.
And yep, I’ve seen them sunning themselves up until about midday. Lazy beasts. As if they need a tan. :p
Younger Land monitors frequent the vicinity of rivers, and that adults are found in drier forest, scrublands and grasslands unlike the water monitors which do not usually venture far from the water. They are excellent climbers. Even large adults can ascend vertical tree trunks with ease, and they are reported to be agile enough to stalk and capture even roosting bats.
Ayup. They can climb vertical walls. I’ve seen them do it. Well, except when they fall off… But that’s kinda funny. :p
Despite their large size, these lizards get most of their nutrition from tiny prey and feed mainly on beetles, grubs, orthopterans, scorpions, snails, ants and other small invertebrates, which are consumed in enormous numbers. Hence they are important biological controllers of agricultural pests.
Oh. Not rats and squirrels, or yes to rats and squirrels? I have no idea…
At least Oberon is big enough that he wouldn’t qualify as "small prey" relative to these guys.