Argus Monitor

The Argus monitor is a monitor lizard found in northern regions of Australia and southern New Guinea. The Argus monitor is a versatile predator and inhabits a large variety of biomes and habitats. They are primarily terrestrial, meaning they spend a great deal of time on the ground. The species is an avid digger and will dig large burrows or take over an already existing burrow, where they spend a sizable portion of their time.

Its prey consists of almost anything that it can overpower. This includes fish, crabs, small birds, rodents, insects and even other monitors. Argus monitors have great senses, with smell being the most acute. Like all monitors, the Argus has a forked tongue and a vomeronasal organ in the roof of its mouth. It uses this organ in the same manner as snakes do and can often be seen flicking their tongues in search of a meal.

Argus Monitor @ Safari Niagara

  • Our Argus monitors can be found at our reptile house and presentation area, located between Tram Stop #6 & #7.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Varanidae
Genus: Varanus
Species: Varanus Panoptes

Did you know?

  • There is a huge size difference between a male and a female of this species. Males can reach up to 120-140cm while females can measure not more than 90cm.
  • An impressive trait is its ability to stand erect – to “tripod” up on its hind legs and tail – allowing it to survey the landscape from a higher vantage point.
  • The Argus monitor is quite fast and can run up to 100 yard/meter to the nearest tree or burrow when they are chased.