Salvator Water Monitors in GURPS

Varanus salvator

The world's second largest lizard is also one of its most wide ranging. From the beaches and rivers of India in the west to the Phillipene Islands in the east, from the lakes of Southern China to the north through the Indonesian Archipelagos to the south, the salvator water monitor calls all of Southeast Asia its home. This massive lizard makes its home by water, any water, from mountain streams to ocean beaches. It is quite saltwater tolerant and an excellent swimmer, allowing it to cross long distances between remote islands. When the volcano of Krakatau destroyed itself in a cataclysmic explosion, salvator water monitors were the first vertebrate to recolonize the blasted remains left above the sea. For all of its aquatic proclivities, however, this monitor also spends much of its time on land, either basking, foraging, or resting in a burrow or other retreat.

As might be expected, the salvator water monitor feeds largely on fish and crabs. It is not picky, however, and like most goannas will chug down anything it can cram down its throat. It has been known to attack, kill, and eat dogs and small deer. Rodents and waterfoul fall prey to its appetite. People are not attacked directly but this lizard is an eager scavenger and will exhume and devour human carcases.

The salvator monitor is quite heavy bodied as an adult, with a rather rotund appearance and a thick neck and limbs. Its tail is long and deeply keeled for swimming. The wide ranging habits of the salvator monitor ensure it has developed many varied populations. The monitors of the Phillipenes, for example, are yellow in color and smaller than usual, while the animals of Maylasia are the largest. Many island chains have pure black or nearly black populations, other areas have salvators of other unique appearences.

Salvator water monitors are at home around people. They can be found along water courses even inside large cities. They gladly patrol rice paddies looking for destructive pests such as grain stealing rodents or crabs that burrow into and weaken the levies. The skin of these large reptiles makes fine leather, however, and huge quantities fall prey to the international skin trade. The high rate of reproduction and rapid maturation of this species, however, assures that it can withstand these onslaughts and thrive in the midst of persecution.

Typical adult salvator monitors are Large or Huge goannas. Rare and exceptional speciments will reach Giant size. Note that the longest goanna ever acurately and reliably recorded by modern science was a salvator monitor at over 3 meters!

Back to Varanoids