Savannah Monitor – Feast and Famine
Feast and famine, high variability in areas of success, periods of abundance followed by periods of surviving on little, savannah spirits, savannah magic, being able to create great success when you put your mind to it, having an unusual eye for opportunity in difficult situations, the symbolism of the ring and the circle, being capable of defending yourself wherever necessary, the power of the sun, learning how to defuse toxicity, adjusting to poisonous people, creating reserves.
The savannah monitor (savanna monitor, Bosc’s monitor) is a terrestrial monitor lizard endemic to Africa. They are most common in savannah, but can be found in rocky deserts, forests (though not rainforests) and woodlands. They shelter in burrows, bushes and low trees. They are solidly built, with short limbs and toes. They are gray-brown in colour, with yellow spots along their back and a blue tongue. They are coloured to camouflage well in their surroundings. They use their tongue to read their environment and locate prey. They specialise in eating prey with hard shells. They will take molluscs, arthropods, mammals, birds, other reptiles, eggs and amphibians. They can consume millipedes that are poisonous, and have developed methods of removing the poison first.
They are diurnal, and rest during the hottest parts of the day. They breed during the feasting season, when food is abundant during the wet season. Males will follow and bite a female on the neck until she allows him to mate with her. They have an extremely high hatch rate of 100%. Males defend their territory aggressively, using physical posture and then violence when encountering another male. They can cause severe, mortal injuries to one another. When cornered, the savannah monitor will prepare to attack, though if attacking (using their lashing tail or bite) fails, they will flee or play dead. As a last resort, they will form a ring by biting their hind leg, making themselves more difficult to swallow. Their feeding patterns closely follow the weather, with a feast and famine/fast period. In the latter, they survive off fat reserves built up during times of abundance. They are predated upon by snakes, raptors and humans. They are hunted for food and leather, and are common in the pet trade.