Description

In comparison to other lizards, Lanthanotus has unique morphological characteristics.

Adult earless monitor lizards reach a total length of approx. 40 cm on average.

The body is cylindrical; the tail takes almost half of the body length. The lizards are able to flatten their body extremely. They show this behaviour for instance, in cases when they need to be taken out of the box.

The entire body is covered with scales similar to osteoderms that are evenly arranged in rows from neck to tail and are partially unevenly distributed. Four to five larger scales are located above the temples. The head is flat and - unscientifically expressed- has elements of a head of a hippopotamus. The head is also covered with prominent osteal scales. The laterally arranged eyes are small and have semi-transparent eyelids for protection purposes.

The nostrils are far forward at the forefront of the head. The jaws are equipped with sharp teeth bent backwards, the bite of which may cause severe blooding wounds. A few animal holders report independent of one another (verbal message of inter alia Snyder, F.) that the bleeding ceased slower compared to other lizard bites and they also observed a reddish zone around the wound that subsided not until several hours. Whether this is true and if so, what the cause of this alleged phenomenon might be (possibly a toxic or allergic reaction) is unknown to our experiences made so far.

The tongue is flesh-coloured and forked. There are no external indications for ear openings. This remarkable anatomic peculiarity gave Lanthanotus its German name: ‘Taubwaran’, which is also found in English: earless monitor.

The limbs are short and massive. They end in five strong and sharp fingers/toes.

The basic colour of the animals is pale-yellowish, ochre or rusty the colour gradient of which changes to an irregular white-brown banding on the belly.

During the moulting process (‘Ecdysis’), the skin comes off in frazzles. The moulting itself becomes apparent a few days before by a whitely skin change around the nostrils and the front of the head and lasts several days.

It is noteworthy, that the colour of the side of both the body and the tail of the animals is almost white after the moulting process and darkens not until a few weeks later and transfers to the pale-yellowish, ochre or rusty colour again.

  
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