The Desert Monitor is native to arid deserts of North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and northern India.
Shown is the Caspian subspecies (V. g. caspius) taken in Kzylkum desert, Kazakhstan, by Alexandra Makhnina.
The Caspian is the rarest of the three subspecies and the largest, growing to around a metre and a half in length,
over half of which is tail.
The name "griseus" meaning grey refers more to the nominal subspecies with a greyer colour, called the Grey Desert Monitor,
although colour can vary to blend with its desert habitat. The Indian subspecies is the Indian Desert Monitor and this one
is the Caspian Desert Monitor. The young are a rich orange brown with tiger stripes; both colour and stripes fade as they
get older. The plain tail end is usual for the Caspian and not a regrowth of a shed tail.
It is generally solitary and lives in burrows where it hibernates in winter.
Diet is any smaller animal that this massive lizard can get into its mouth, including rodents, birds, eggs (particularly tortoise),
scorpions, other reptiles (including tortoises, snakes, lizards and its own kind) and carrion. Some say the lizard is venomous.