There are about 80 species of monitor lizards, living mainly in Africa, Asia, Australia, and New Guinea. Perhaps the most famous monitor is the Komodo monitor (often called the Komodo Dragon), which is the largest species of lizard living today (up to 10 feet long and 150 pounds!). But I chose the blue-tailed monitor for today's awesome animal, because I am fascinated by the smaller monitor lizards, particularly those with unusual colors.
Amazing facts about blue-tailed monitors:
The blue-tailed monitor is somewhat of a celebrity in Papua New Guinea and has been featured on one of their postage stamps:
Blue-tailed monitors are exported as pets to the U.S. and Europe. But since they often grow to four or five feet, require large, spacious cages, and live 10 to 15 years, they are only suitable for the most dedicated pet enthusiasts.
The blue-tailed monitor is not the only brightly-colored monitor lizard. Below is the blue-spotted tree monitor, which lives only on the small island of Batanta, off the west coast of New Guinea.
So, the blue-tailed monitor deserves a place in the G.A.H.O.F. (Gallows Animal Hall of Fame).
FUN FACT: Gallows originally meant "fit for the gallows," meaning, deserving to be hanged. But by 1789, it had become a slang adjective meaning awesome, in the same way that wicked and bad have come to mean their opposite. How gallows is that?
Monitor photo #1 - Reptile Fact
Papua Stamp - Mark O'Shea
Pet Monitor - Snakes at Sunset
Blue-spotted Tree Monitor - Australian Geographic