The Life of Monitor Lizards along Lake Tanganyika

Monitors are the ‘in between’ lizard in central Africa. Larger (and more ferocious) than geckos, smaller (and – usually less ferocious) than crocodiles. This past week there have been nearly 200 hits on this blog looking for Monitor lizards; an article about them is here:

Visitors on the Wild Side of Lake Tanganyika – I

Probably due to the disappearance of a large ‘tame’ monitor in Riverside, California, a great deal of interest has been sparked about this and about Monitors in general in the media.

Here is some on-the-ground information about Monitors where we live, by Lake Tanganyika in central Africa.

Monitors do not make good pets, in spite of what pet shops or Monitor owners in the States may say. As they grow they become more and more unreliable – and have a very nasty LARGE bite.

Wild animals are simply too dangerous to try to turn into ‘pets’. Many folks here and elsewhere in Africa try to keep chimps, which as they grow older are not reliable.

On this blog I discuss a couple of chimps that I relocated to the local Museum, who had out-lived their ‘cute babyhood’ at the Hotel Club du Lac TanganyikaRelocating the Chimps
Reptiles can be kept, but not as ‘pets’. I don’t understand why the laws in the States allow Monitors to be individually owned. Or some large snakes.

We have a lot of Monitors here by Lake Tanganyika, and they are a constant problem with our baby goats. They climb the trees overlooking the ‘goat nursery’ and drop down and take them, if able. They are great tree climbers. Also, they have a great taste for chickens and are clever about getting into a hen-house.

One method of control is by eating them. Local folks like them very much, and as soon as one is spotted (usually in a tree), great efforts are made to catch, kill and BBQ the tail – which is pretty big.

Local folks like to BBQ Monitor tails. Source: Wikipedia

One day I was sitting outside reading and out of the corner of my eye saw a very large and fast creature making off down the driveway. It was a huge Monitor, and fortunately the dogs were in because if they had tried to catch it they would have been badly injured or killed.

But, it was a joy to watch this huge lizard sauntering down the drive, looking for lunch. Monitors and other wildlife are great. However, in my experience, they are wild and should be left in the wild.

Eye of a monitor lizard. Source: Huffington Post

About dianabuja

With a group of BaTwa (pygmy) women potters, with whom we've worked to enhance production and sales of their wonderful pots - fantastic for cooking and serving. To see the 2 blogs on this work enter 'batwa pots' into the search engine located just above this picture. Blog entries throughout this site are about Africa, as well as about the Middle East and life in general - reflecting over 35 years of work and research in Africa and the Middle East – Come and join me!
This entry was posted in Africa-Central, Burundi, Crocodiles, Hotel Club du Lac Tanganyika2, Indigenous crops & medicinal plants, Living here, Wildlife and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Life of Monitor Lizards along Lake Tanganyika

  1. Pingback: Cowboy Potatoes by Lake Tanganyika « Dianabuja's Blog

  2. Pingback: Christmas in Africa: Village-Style in Burundi « Dianabuja's Blog

  3. Pingback: Discovering the Rusizi River – Did It flow IN or OUT?!, Pt. I « Dianabuja's Blog

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