Rock monitor sunning itself, Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana Rock Monitor (Varanus albigularis) or Leguaan sunning itself, Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana.

Camera: Canon EOS 50D; Lens: Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM; Aperture: f/5.6; Shutter speed: 1/400; ISO: 400.

Safari guide Roddy Smith, in his article Monitor Lizards – Fearsome Predators on Land and Water, writes: “Monitor lizards (or leguaans) are fascinating but neglected animals, possibly because only an enthusiast would find them attractive”.

While it’s true that monitors are not attractive in the cute or cuddly sense, they do have a quite spectacular bejewelled look on closer inspection (below):

Rock monitor close-up showing bejewelled skin

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