Local Names

Yellow monitor





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Yellow monitor

The yellow monitor (Varanus flavescens) or golden monitor is a monitor lizard native to South Asia. The yellow monitor occurs in the flood plains of the Indus, Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers in India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh. It inhabits wet areas, on the edges of forest and near human settlements and agricultural land. Due to its short hind toes, it is not efficient at climbing trees.
The yellow monitors thermoregulates by moving between sunny and shady areas, similar to other diurnal lizards. There is also one report of a yellow monitor lying on a pile of hot ash left by a human-lit fire, seemingly to gain heat from it. It may be capable of play behaviour. A yellow monitor in a wetland was observed alternating between swimming in a vertical position and floating motionlessly. Direct killing is the major threat to the yellow monitor. Lack of knowledge about the species among local people is the cause of most of the killing, most of the killing is related to use and trade of the skin. Ignorance is a root issue, with no campaign to spread awareness or education of the local people is being conducted. Creation of protected areas is insufficient for the species as most of its potential habitat lies outside the protected areas, and it is often found close to human settlement; this increases the threat to the species. In Nepal, its skin has been offered for sale in wildlife markets.
The yellow monitor is protected in all range countries except Pakistan, Nepal, India, Bhutan and Bangladesh. The actual population or population trends are unknown. However, the yellow monitor has low population density even in its preferred habitat. Limited studies suggest that the species is decreasing, however more studies are required to confirm actual trend of the species.