Bengal Monitor Lizard

Wide angle view of a big bengal monitor lizard in grassland habitat. Tal Chappar, Rajasthan, India.

Tal Chhapar Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Northwestern Rajasthan on the fringe of the Great Indian Desert; The Thar. This small grassland habitat is surrounded by sparse scrub and dry dusty plains peppered with salt pans. Originally a hunting ground for the Maharaja of Bikaner it was declared a sanctuary in the 1960s.

India’s Grasslands are home to some of its most endangered species, many of which are endemic. This important habitat now only exists in a handful of places in India and is sadly becoming increasingly scarce.

This stunning grassland wasn’t always the paradise seen today. After decades of neglect and encroachment by the nearby salt production the sanctuary was in a sorry state. Thanks to efforts coordinated by Mr. S.S.Poonia, the range forest officer at Tal Chhapar, over the years the grassland has been transformed. After gradually stripping away the invasive plant; Prosopis juliflora a variety of grasses were planted such as Mothiya grass, a favourite of the blackbucks, which derives its name from ‘moti’ meaning pearl, as its sweet seeds look like pearls. The final result is vast swathes of pristine grassland bustling with animal life. 

About the Bengal Monitor Lizard

Monitor lizards are large reptiles in the genus Varanus. There are over 80 recognised species and they can be seen throughout   Africa, Asia, and Oceania.

The Bengal monitor (Varanus bengalensis) or common Indian monitor, are widely distributed over the Indian Subcontinent, as well as other parts of Asia. Monitor lizards are powerful predators with powerful tails, sharp claws, and well-developed limbs. Most monitor lizards are primarily carnivorous, preying on smaller reptiles, fish, birds and their eggs, insects, and small mammals.

You can find out more about Bengal Monitor Lizards here.


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Wide angle view of a big bengal monitor lizard in grassland habitat. Tal Chappar, Rajasthan, India.


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