Are you faster than a monitor lizard?

I have a friend is afraid of butterflies, snakes, cats, dogs, fish, etc. I was surprised at her reaction when we saw a monitor lizard on the road. Instead of running away from it, she ran towards it to take a picture.

I asked her why she wasn't afraid of the lizard. She said it's because it moved slowly. I told her that they can run faster than human beings! I don't think she believes me though.

I didn't have the exact nunbers then but I just checked it.
Monitor lizard's top recorded running speed: 45km/h

Let's say an average person runs 400 m in 1 min 40 s or 100 s.

1 hr = 60 min x 60 sec = 3600 s
Speed = (3600 / 100) * 400 = 14.4 km/hr
That's really slow compared to a monitor lizard!

I'm slower than a monitor lizard for sure :(

Picture of a monitor lizard (this was taken by someone else on another trip)


David said...


I think to a monitor lizard I would appear a large bipedal tasty morsel.

I believe a monitor lizards bite can be be quite nasty.


Anonymous said...

Haha afraid of fish?! Thats a new one, unless one is talking sharks..

David, the opposite is probably true: humans are not natural prey items for monitor lizards (even for Komodo dragons, the largest species). In fact since adult humans are much larger, they will run AWAY from us rather than TOWARD us in an encounter. I hope such irrational fears and myths do not get propagated.


charlie hotel said...

I think you neglected to ask how far a monitor lizard can run at that top speed. I suspect as ambush hunters they can manage a short sprint at best. Even relatively unathletic people can outrun a monitor. Besides, they DO tend to run away from humans like the previous poster said.

reptiles shops said...

This lizard is huge. It's amazing how fun they can run despite their size.