Nile monitor lays 27 eggs

On Wednesday 7 June 2023, a gravid (pregnant) adult Nile monitor (Varanus niloticus) was admitted into the care of the SAAMBR herpetologists stationed at Dangerous Creatures in the uShaka Village.

The Nile monitor was found in Umlazi attempting to lay her eggs in a domestic garden. The homeowners noticed that the monitor kept returning to the same spot over a period of two weeks trying to lay her eggs but unfortunately, each attempt at laying was unsuccessful. As they were concerned for her wellbeing, they contacted local experts who brought her to SAAMBR for treatment.
The monitor was visibly gravid with the eggs could be observed bulging from her sides. The herpetological team placed her is a quiet environment with sufficient substrate to dig a hole deep enough to lay her eggs and left her alone . Unfortunately, over the following four days, although she remained calm, she did not lay her eggs in the substrate.
On Monday morning the monitor was examined by the SAAMBR veterinary team who performed radiographs and an ultrasound which, as expected, showed her coelomic cavity to be full of eggs.
She was treated with supportive fluids for hydration, and medication to induce the laying process.
The following day (Tuesday 13 June), she proceeded to lay 27 viable eggs, which are currently being incubated in SAAMBR’s reptile rehabilitation facility.
The monitor will have a follow up medical examination and radiographs to confirm that all her eggs have passed. If she is found to be without any eggs and is eating well, she will be released at a suitable location.
Nile monitors are the largest lizards in Africa, growing up to 7ft in length and feed on insects, birds, eggs and rodents. They use their powerful tails to swim through the water as well as in self-defence to whip and intimidate their assailants.
The Nile monitor is a TOPS (Threatened or protected species) listed species and is protected by law in South Africa.

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