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One of Africa's largest lizards found in Umlazi garden

Suthentira Govender Senior reporter
The Nile monitor that tried to lay her eggs in the garden of an Umlazi home.
The Nile monitor that tried to lay her eggs in the garden of an Umlazi home.
Image: Saambr

A Nile monitor — the largest lizard in Africa — was found in the garden of an Umlazi home, south of Durban, where she was trying to lay her eggs.

The South African Association for Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR), based at uShaka Marine World on Durban's beachfront, has taken the huge reptile into its care, where it eventually laid 27 eggs.

The association said residents noticed the monitor kept returning to the same spot over two weeks, trying to lay her eggs, but was unsuccessful. 

It is unclear how she found her way to the house.

“As they were concerned for her wellbeing, they contacted local experts who brought her to SAAMBR for treatment,” said a spokesperson from SAAMBR.

Nile monitors are the largest lizards in Africa, growing to more than 2m in length. They feed on insects, birds, eggs and rodents. They use their powerful tails to swim through the water as well as in self-defence to whip and intimidate their assailants.

The Nile monitor is a threatened or protected listed species and is protected by law in South Africa.

“The monitor was visibly pregnant and the eggs could be observed bulging from her sides. 

“The herpetological team placed her in a quiet environment with sufficient substrate to dig a hole deep enough to lay her eggs, and left her alone.

“Unfortunately, over the following four days, although she remained calm, she did not lay her eggs,” said the spokesperson.

“The monitor was examined by the veterinary team who performed radiographs and an ultrasound. She was treated with fluids for hydration and medication to induce the laying process.

“The monitor laid 27 viable eggs which are being incubated at SAAMBR's reptile rehabilitation facility.

“The monitor will have a follow-up medical examination and radiographs to confirm that all her eggs have passed. If she is found to be without any eggs and is eating well, she will be released at a suitable location.”


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