The water monitor (Varanus salvator) is a large lizard native to South Asia. Water monitors are one of the most common monitor lizards found throughout Asia, and range from Sri Lanka and India to Indochina, the Malay Peninsula, and various islands of Indonesia, living in areas close to water. The water monitor is a large species of monitor lizard. They are the world’s second-heaviest lizard, after the Komodo dragon. Their bodies are muscular, with a long, powerful, laterally compressed tails.
Water monitors defend themselves using their tails, claws, and jaws. They are excellent swimmers, using the raised fin on their tails to steer through water. They are carnivores, and have a wide range of foods. They are known to eat fish, frogs, rodents, birds, crabs, and snakes. They have also been known to eat turtles, as well as young crocodiles and crocodile eggs. Like the Komodo dragon, they will often eat carrion. Water monitors have been observed eating catfish in a fashion similar to a mammalian carnivore, tearing off chunks of meat with their sharp teeth while holding it with their forelegs and then separating different parts of the fish for sequential consumption.