March 8, 2023

Savannah Monitor

Savannah Monitor

In this episode we talk about the Savannah Monitor! Relax, unwind, and join me in a savannah in Sub-Saharan Africa, where we learn all about this little dinosaur.


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hello everyone welcome back to relax with animal facts I am stuff wolf and today I am going to be learning with you about her furry scaly or possibly even slimy friends ended today's case it is definitely going to be a scaly friend of ours because we are covering the %HESITATION so wonderful Savannah monitor this of course is a very special listener episode dedicated to to Charlotte breezy and teddy thank you for taking the time to send in your animal request and this episode would not have been possible without you for how to send in your very own animal request and for all of the facts that were used in this episode that info is immediately available in the show notes with a description but I will also go over it at the end of the episode if you love the show and would like more of it in the form of completely intro free content as well as exclusive content you can go to patrie on dot com slash relax with animal facts or just click the patron link in the description for only a dollar a month you get complete access to all of the exclusive content and they look forward to seeing you there and now let us begin to wind down as always I have three primary exhortations for you the first is to have a comfortable pair of shoes on we're going to be needing some versatile footwear for where we're going today and the second thing I encourage you to do is to notice perhaps where you were carrying tension it doesn't matter if it is in the neck in the shoulders in the hands everybody in this way is different but my encouragement to you is the same do your very best to impersonate hello Jello it seems to me is like the antithesis of tension and so bring up that cello in your mind and really go for the Oscar here and to your best impersonation relax whatever it is that you tense and my third exhortation to you is to keep your mind permission to wander and journey with me into a tropical savanna of sub Saharan Africa with the Savannah monitor resides this is quite a change of pace after our last track in the mountains of northern Canada but Africa has some of the most amazing wild life the world has to offer and so walking around in this dry savanna is a sure way to catch a glimpse of all sorts of creatures but we're most concerned with one today and so let's talk about specifically why we are in Africa we are here because the Savannah lizard really lives no where else at least natively the conditions of sub Saharan Africa are perfect for this creature and so that will include countries like Benin Burkina Faso Cameroon Chad Ethiopia Gambia Ghana and many more the dry heat is exactly where the Savannah monitor loves to reside but they are not only found in savannas they can be found in grassland areas rocky or even semi desert habitats and woodlands but all of these places of course in the context of sub Saharan Africa so before we get up close and personal with the Savannah monitor let's just cover some generalities about them that name that I am using Savannah monitor is their common name their scientific name is of course much more Latinized and more complicated it is Varanus accent the medicus that word for Ramos actually has its origination in the era pic language and it means something like a lizard beast that specific name however if the accent the medicus is Greek something that we're much more familiar with on this podcast and this refers to something like blisters or eruptions of the skin it is referring to the scales that are large and oval shape on the back of the Savannah monitor snack and so %HESITATION Varanus accent the medicus or the Savannah monitor has five subspecies in total different subspecies oftentimes very and can vary quite widely in the variables of size and weight the Savannah monitor is very compact creature it is well proportioned Starkey and quite thick it supports a very wide head shorts knack in the short tail at least when comparing to many other kinds of monitors when I am talking about the Savannah monitor this is referring to a species of monitor lizards so that term monitor lizard is sort of like an umbrella term that encompasses many large scaly lizards with long snake like tongues the usually sports something like large claws a powerful tail and significant length and so when the animal as an example that we have covered on the show already is the Komodo dragon the Komodo dragon gains some reputation because of its status as the world's largest lizards and it also happens to be a monitor lizard as well and so the Savannah monitor is a species that is included within that large umbrella of monitor lizards so while the Savannah monitor won't reach quite the size and stature of the Komodo dragon they will still reach lengths of up to one and a half meters long that is nothing to scoff at there are even some sources that site they can grow up to two meters in length but of course this will differ depending on the subspecies they will range from gray to brown in color and they will have spots on the back that are arranged like rows the spots will be yellow dark on the edges and circular the tale will have sort of a tapestry of brown and yellow wish rings and underneath their body and on the inside of their lives is going to be that familiar yellowish color blue tongue is going to look like a snake's tongue and will be blue in color all of these physical characteristics are going to play some sort of role in their environment in terms of their build or their body proportions this will make them very robust creatures adept at things like digging and they will also sport some powerful jaws with these blunt T. the Savannah monitor is a primarily terrestrial creature which means it spends the vast majority of its time on the ground they are diurnal which is opposed to nocturnal and means that they are primarily active during the day they will do their hunting they're taking mostly during the day time and save the night time for sleeping and other sorts of passive duties their day is chock full of roaming around the Savannah looking for insects and other little invertebrates to eat while they're in the wild they will completely quartz themselves during the rainy seasons in order to get fat is fat stores will give them a tremendous advantage during the dry fire seasons because they have a reserve of energy to draw from the only issue with this behavior would be in the context of captivity these creatures if not taken care of properly in the context of let's say a home or in some sort of reserve can easily eat themselves into obesity this mechanism or behavior however when it is in the context of their native range makes a lot of sense and that qualifying word primarily is important that is because they can sometimes be found in low trees or in bushes creatures that spend their time in trees primarily are cold arboreal now the Savannah monitor is in no way arboreal but will sometimes spend their time there now the Savannah monitors can get into these positions in the first place in the low trees or in the bushes by climbing they're not only excellent diggers but also excellent climbers as well now as they are climbing and digging and hunting during the day gorging themselves during the rainy season in preparation for the dry their diets will include things like beetles scorpions snails millipedes snakes small mammals birds other lizards and X. as well this makes them a carnivorous creature but a carnivorous creature with quite a large menu depending specifically on where they are they will also eat toads as well but you might notice that within the list of animals not all of them are so easy to eat scorpions and snails have some connotation not of being very tender and easy to eat but rather of being sort of hard shelled and difficult to access but this is where the powerful jaws of the Savannah monitor come in their jaws are perfectly suited to crush things like snail shells because the maximum leverage is placed at the back of the jaw instead of at the front this gives them a very high light force depending on where the creature is in its mouth this very well designed to draw in addition to their blunt teeth gives them the ability to eat some pretty difficult creatures scorpions and snails are no easy meal now housed behind those blunt teeth and on the inside of those jaws is a forked tongue in this town will act in much the same way as the snake's tongue does with every flick of their tongue they will be sending loads of information to their brain about the environment and to not only are those creatures with hard exteriors difficult to eat but their diet also is composed of some poisonous millipedes these millipedes form a very large part of their diet and the Savannah monitor has an incredible behavior that avoids consuming much of this poison they will rub their chins on the millipede for sometimes up to fifteen minutes before they actually eat it by doing this they wipe away that fluid that is poisonous upon ingestion that is a very important mechanism for the millipede as a defense so the Savannah monitors know exactly what they're doing now as much as they are voracious predators they can also be variations fighters with their own the male Savannah monitors are very territorial and will defend their territory with fervor they will chase away intruders by thrashing their tails hissing and inflating their throats in that characteristic way and if the intruder decides that these things simply won't scare them away they will get into something like a wrestling match there are no referees here in the wild and so they're wrestling will be one of aggression and will include things like biting if however a predator of the Savannah monitor makes themselves known the Savannah monitor will again hiss or strike the ground with their tail but if those intimidation tactics do not work they do have a last resort and that is playing dead there are many animals that we have covered on the show so far that play dead and they do it because it works perhaps not one hundred percent of the time but as a last ditch option there is no harm in trying it the mating season for the Savannah monitor is going to be the same time in which they are gorging themselves with food so in the rainy season so the females have a just station period of about four weeks and after those four weeks the female will dig a hole in the ground and Burry fifteen to forty five eggs that will hatch after just five months the hatch rate for the eggs is at one hundred percent which in the context of the wild is very very high sometimes the females will also use existing termite mounds because after the eggs have been laid within the whole the termites will close up that hole for the female and provide a warm environments during that in Q. Bashan period and now for the last fact let us move on to the name of the creature now the first part of their name the Savannah monitor is a little bit more intuitive as to why they are named that given their habitat and so what we're going to cover is the word visitors and the word monitor the word Lister as we use it today was coined in the late fourteenth century it means an animal resembling a serpent with legs added to it and that is quite an apt description for lizards but this word goes back to an Anglo French words to an old French word and back to Latin as the majority of English words ago where this Latin word the Kerr to came from which means lizard is currently unknown but we contracted back all the way to the Latin language monitor this word was coined in the fifteen forties and was used for senior pupils at the school charged with keeping order some senior students that would someone to be involved in the process of keeping order in the classroom or in the school hence the terms that are now falling out of favor but one of which includes whole monitor and this is a direct import from the Latin word monitor which is defined as one who reminds admonishes work checks so perhaps monitor lizards or cold so because they're creatures that admonish and check their environment and keep things in tune that is of course a speculation but I couldn't find anything else in this regard and now let us move on to the review portion of the show this review was written by forty six and two writing all the way from the United States of America and forty six and two rights I really appreciate your show as it has helped me relax through a few rough months for our family I immediately breathed a sigh of relief when I hear the first few soft piano notes at the beginning of each episode thanks for providing a safe and peaceful sound scape for all of us lastly I would love to hear an episode on crested geckos a very interesting animal my son has had as a patch for the last five years thanks again staff smiley face thank you for the six and two for taking the time to write to this wonderful review whenever I read reviews like this it makes me so grateful to be hosting this podcast and I am glad that for you personally the show has helped to relax in a tumultuous few months and the show will be there for the brighter future as well crested geckos are also a wonderful suggestion and so I will be sure to give you a shout out but I only have your user name forty six and two and so if you'd like a shout out more personally you can send me an email along with your name and your son's name if you'd like so I can give you a proper shout out on your future episode if the show has been helpful to you at all and you want to give back in a way that is very quick for you leaving a review is one of the most impactful things you can do it just a couple minutes you can tell me what you like what you don't like you can help the show gets better you can help more people find the show and so I greatly encourage you to leave a review whether it's one or five stars if you would like to request an animal to be featured on the podcast you can do so by going to relax with animal facts dot com and clicking on the animal request tab if you wish to reach out to the show for any other reason you can do so by sending a message to relax with animal facts on Instagram or by sending an email to relax with animal facts at the G. mail dot com the resources used in the making of this episode come from hide aways Africa dot com Britannica dot com a to Z. animals dot com animal sponsored dot net animal diversity dot org and at him online dot com all of those are listed in the show notes with a description and so encourage you to search to your heart's content and explore the other stuff that they have because without their individual contributions this episode would not have been possible for intro free episodes and exclusive content for only a dollar a month you can go to pay tree on dot com slash relax with animal facts and support the show while getting more of it what a wonderful creature we got to cover today it's always great to hop from Canada to Africa to Australia to Europe each place has a variety of environments and each place has a variety of cool critters as well I hope you all have enjoyed this episode as much as I did and they look forward to seeing you on the next podcast episode with the next animal take care