Monitor Lizard Outspeeds a Python and Clamps Down Right on Its Head

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Written by Zeek Lepakko

Updated: November 10, 2023

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Monitor lizard looks off to left
© Ruben PH/

There are many reptiles that are frightening as they are amazing. The monitor lizard and python may come to mind as two exotic examples found in nature. Have you ever seen these two go head-to-head before?

Monitor lizards are large, powerful reptiles found in many places, including Africa and Asia. Despite a stocky appearance, they swim amazingly well, can climb trees, and run quickly – some can even reach speeds of up to 28 miles per hour.

Pythons, another common powerhouse reptile, are one of the largest snakes in the world. These adept predators live in an array of locations as well. Instead of relying on venom, they squeeze their prey, as we see in the video below. There’s a hug you don’t want to get!

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Let’s find out more about how these reptiles excel in their habitat and who might have the advantage in a showdown.

Are Monitor Lizards Poisonous?

There have been varying opinions on the venomous nature of monitor lizards, especially Komodo dragons. However, we now know that all species of the monitor lizard are indeed venomous to some extent. While the venomous nature of a monitor’s bite might not be at the same level as other reptiles, it’s still enough to be a hazard. This natural advantage is used by these beastly reptiles in order to weaken their prey, sometimes only needing a single nip in order to succeed. These mild toxins are not lethal to humans, which is a relief.

While monitor lizards will usually avoid human interactions, they can be aggressive if provoked. Things that might anger a monitor include trespassing in their territory or threatening their food.

Are Pythons Dangerous?

monitor lizard

The monitor lizard has great eyesight and oddly enough, doesn’t blink.

©Chris Page, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons – License

Surprisingly, the massive python is actually a well-tempered snake – many people keep them as pets! They are generally only known to bite or constrict when threatened, or obviously while hunting in the wild. That said, the python could be considered quite dangerous to the animals it chooses to prey on.

Pythons do not have a venomous bite unlike many other snakes, but still have an impressive set of teeth spread across several rows. Some species can have over 100 teeth arranged in this fashion. This feature, seen in certain reptiles, enhances the grip they can exert on whatever they’ve bitten. Thankfully, pythons are timid around humans and are more likely to flee than to attack unprovoked.

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About the Author

Zeek is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering wildlife in Africa and international travel. Zeek has been studying animals for over 15 years and holds an Associate's Degree in Arts from Lone Star Montgomery, earned in 2011. A resident of Washington, Zeek enjoys designing video games and training his Shiba Inu, Cheems.

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