Earless Monitor Lizard – Hidden Gems of the Borneo Jungle

Science doesn’t know it well — The Earless monitor lizard (Lanthanotus borneensis) is among the lizards that are least known to science. It is the last remaining species in the entire family Lanthanotidae.

Until recently, only fewer than 100 specimens had ever been known since 1877 when the species was first described. Most are kept in major natural history museums around the world.

Couldn’t find even one single photo of its tongue on Google. So I took this myself.

Finding one Earless Monitor is already once in a blue moon. Capturing the moment of a millisecond when the secretive, timid lizards flick their tongue in the dark is just once in a lifetime. (Although I got more than a few photos of their tongues)

Not closely related to any animals on earth, but the Earless monitor does have a similar tongue to true monitor lizards and the venomous Gila monster which are the closest extant species they are related to now.
The forked tongue hides inside many small teeth on both jaws. Yes, they bite often.

And yep, I got bit.

Wounds are relatively deep and can bleed extensively, with blood clotting reputedly being slower than in normal wounds. Recent studies have found both venom glands and toxic compounds in the bite of this species. The main components are kallikreins (to a lesser degree CRiSP) with the primary effect being the cleaving of fibrinogen, which is important for blood clotting.

Finding one is once in a blue moon. What about a trio?

The breeding of Earless monitors in the wild is little known (to almost unknown). The estimated behaviors are, adult males are likely territorially aggressive, as a survey of a locality found twice as many females as males, and most of the males (but no females) had various injuries, such as loss of toes or tail, and scarring on the head or neck.