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A Species Bioprofile for the Asian Water Monitor (Varanus salvator)

Venetia Briggs-Gonzalez1,*, Paul Evans1, Cassidy Klovanish1, and Frank J. Mazzotti1

1Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, University of Florida, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314. *Corresponding author.

Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 21, Issue 3 (2022): 187–210

Abstract
Varanus salvator (Asian Water Monitor) is the second largest species of lizard in the world and is a member of the Varanidae Family. This highly aquatic species can also be found in arboreal environments and is an active predator and scavenger. Originating from southeastern Asia, including parts of India, this species is common in the international pet trade. Its popularity in the pet trade has led to multiple introductions outside of their native range, making this a species of concern as potentially invasive to the southeastern US with ready access to the Caribbean and Latin America. As a generalist species that has already been identified in Florida, there is a high likelihood for establishment as an invasive species. In cases such as these, implementing early detection and rapid response for successful management of invasive species is critical. Here, we provide a comprehensive summary of natural history findings on the Asian Water Monitor, including management methods and potential ecological impacts as an invasive species.

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