Varanus salvator Common Water Monitor
Also known as:
Water Monitor, Water Monitor Lizard
Subspecies I've seen:
V. s. bivittatus
Two-striped Water Monitor
V. s. macromaculatus
Southeast Asian Water Monitor
V. s. salvator
Asian Water Monitor
Varanus salvator bivittatus Two-striped Water Monitor
Puri Kamandalu, Ubud, Bali, IndonesiaOctober 19, 1999
I saw a very young, brightly patterned individual between the hotel and the adjacent rice field. It vanished as I was getting my camera out. It was so brightly patterned that I thought at first it was a Harlequin Monitor (Varanus dumerilii), but all the references I later consulted assured me that the only monitor on Bali is V. salvator.
Varanus salvator macromaculatus Southeast Asian Water Monitor
Bako National Park, Sarawak, MalaysiaJanuary 25, 2017
Southeast Asian Water Monitor (Varanus salvator macromaculatus)
In some areas of southeast Asia, these monitors are a common sight scavenging in public parks, much like pigeons (if you ignore the size, shape, lack of feathers, predatory nature, etc.). But I had a hard time finding them. I expected to see some in Peninsular Malaysia, and even visited a prime water-monitor spot to no avail. So I was very pleased to come across this subadult chilling out on a large downed log near the Bako National Park headquarters.

My Travelogues and Trip Lists page includes a complete list of the herps I saw in the wild on this trip to Malaysia, as well as a travelogue of the trip.

Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, MalaysiaMarch 6, 2018
My friend Kurt and I had a farewell lunch planned at a seafood restaurant in Kota Kinabalu. We walked there from our hotel only to find that it was closed for a holiday. But the walk was not a complete failure because at least on the way we got to see a few large water monitors splashing in a filthy canal. I half-heartedly tried to get a photo, but they didn't hold still long enough.
Danum Valley Conservation Area, Sabah, MalaysiaMarch 9, 2018
I got a glimpse of a large water monitor as it clumsily crashed through the vegetation towards a river. You wouldn't think the biggest lizards around would be the hardest to photograph, but you would be wrong.
Varanus salvator salvator Asian Water Monitor
Ratnapura District, Sabaragamuwa Province, Sri LankaAugust 17, 2019
Asian Water Monitor (Varanus salvator salvator)
Water Monitors are widespread and common in the right habitats in Sri Lanka, but apparently we didn't spend much time in those habitats. The only one I saw was this medium-sized individual crossing the road. (Photo taken with iPhone out the window.)
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