The Zoo at Chehaw is home to 234 specimens representing over 73 different species. Enjoy natural, outdoor exhibits including Cheetahs, Black Rhinoceros’, Meerkats, Black Bears, Alligators, and many more, while you stroll through our scenic boardwalks and cypress swamp. Participate in animal feedings and keeper talks every weekend. Chehaw’s African Veldt Ride is free with admission, and will take you through our largest exhibit where seven different species roam in natural herds. The Zoo at Chehaw undergoes regular, thorough investigation to ensure that it has met, and will to continue to meet, ever-rising standards. These standards encompass animal care, veterinary programs, conservation, education, and safety. 

Varanus exanthematicus

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Native to Africa, savanna monitors are adapted to dry and hot environments. They are so adapted that even their feeding habits changes depending on the season. During the wet season, the savanna monitor can consume almost one tenth of its body weight. When the weather becomes dry, they will began to fast. They live off of the fat reserves from the wet season. The savanna monitor prefers to eat the poisonous millipedes as a tasty snack. It will rub its chin over the millipede in order for the millipede to emit its fluid and rub off the poison.

The savanna monitor is primarily a ground-dwelling species that finds shelter in burrows, low trees, and bushes. Its range extends throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

The savanna monitor ranges in size from 2 to 5 feet in length, with females measuring considerably smaller than males. The limbs are relatively short given the long body size. Coloration varies based on habitat, but generally they are covered in large tan or black scales with a striped or spotted pattern.

Young savanna monitors feed on crickets, scorpions, and various amphibians, while adults feed exclusively on arthropods and mollusks.

Females lay anywhere from 15 to 45 eggs, which she buries in a nest or burrow dug into the ground. The eggs hatch after an incubation period of 140 to 180 days. savanna monitors can live up to 11 years.

The teeth of a savanna monitor can crush snail shells. They also have the ability to dislocate their hyoid bone (bone in their neck that supports the tongue), which allows it to enlarge its throat and swallow its prey whole.