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The savannah monitor latin name Varanus exanthematicus is a medium sized species of monitor lizard native to Africa. The species is known as Bosc's monitor in Europe, since French scientist Louis Bosc first described the species. It belongs to the subgenus Polydaedalus, along with the Nile, the ornate and other monitors.
Bosc's or Savannah Monitor lizards are a stoutly built species with relatively short limbs and toes, and a skull and dentition adapted to feed on hard shelled prey. Maximum size is rarely more than 1m (3 feet) in length, females are considerably smaller. The pattern and coloration of the skin vary according to the local habitat substrate. The body scales are large, usually less than 100 scales around mid-body, a partly laterally compressed tail with a double dorsal ridge and a nostril situation equidistant from the eye and the tip of the snout.
The main predators of Savannah Monitors are snakes, birds and people. It protects itself through camouflage and is much less conspicuous than the sympatric Nile monitor. It prefers to flee or play dead when in danger, but if cornered, defends itself with tail lashes and if need be, a powerful, vice like bite. When confronted by a predator, the monitor sometimes rolls onto its back and grasps a hind leg in its mouth, forming a ring with its body and making itself harder for the animal to swallow whole while playing dead. Other common defences for Savannah Monitors are hissing, tail whipping, "puffing up", and biting.
Savannah monitors will eat mainly arthropods and mollusc’s occasionally eating small mammals if they can catch them. In Senegal they were found to eat mainly giant millipedes whereas in Ghana they ate mainly crickets.