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Zoo welcomes new crocodile monitor

Oct. 27, 2022, 1:21 a.m.
Topic: Arrivals and departures
Crocodile monitor at the Oregon Zoo

The mysterious lizard, nicknamed ‘Johnny 5,’ moves in at zoo’s Predators habitat

A new crocodile monitor is making himself at home in the zoo’s Predators habitat this week. Visitors can find the giant lizard — nicknamed “Johnny 5” because he was the fifth in his clutch to hatch — in the area between lions and dwarf mongooses.  

Crocodile monitors live in the swamps and lowland forests of New Guinea and its surrounding islands. At up to 9 feet in length, they’re one of the longest lizard species in the world. According to care staff, Johnny 5 is quite an impressive sight.

“Crocodile monitors are great climbers and swimmers,” said Steve Hash, a keeper in the zoo’s reptile and amphibian area. “Guests will have a lot of fun getting to know Johnny 5 and seeing him in his new habitat.”

Crocodile monitors are carnivores and scavengers, feeding on small mammals, eggs, carrion and fish using their sharp serrated teeth. Because these mysterious reptiles live in densely forested areas, people are still learning about them.

Johnny 5 arrived here in late September from the Honolulu Zoo. His move was recommended by the Species Survival Plan for crocodile monitors, a cooperative program among accredited zoos to promote genetically diverse, self-sustaining populations of at-risk species. 

In the wild, crocodile monitors are threatened by hunting, habitat loss and human encroachment. They’re also at risk from the illegal pet trade.