Gray’s Monitor: A Fruity Friend Among Lizards

The butaan – better known as the Gray’s monitor (Varanus olivaceus) – is a fascinating lizard species native to the Philippines. Here’s a quick overview and some links to learn more:

Unique Features:

  • Large: Growing up to six feet long, they’re among the largest arboreal (tree-dwelling) lizards in the world.
  • Fruity Diet: Unlike most carnivorous monitor lizards, they primarily eat fruits like Pandanus, but also supplement with snails, crabs, and insects.
  • Shy and Endangered: Found only in specific regions of the Philippines, they’re listed as vulnerable due to habitat loss and illegal poaching.

Want to Learn More?

Bonus Fact: The Gray’s monitor has a unique “false head” on its neck, which might confuse predators while allowing the lizard to escape.