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Water Leguaan

Water Leguaan
Photo Information
Copyright: Anna Eksteen (Miss_Piggy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2285 W: 5 N: 5300] (18714)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-10-09
Categories: Reptiles
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC H9, Digital ISO 80
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/640 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-12-06 18:13
Viewed: 8397
Points: 106
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Water Leguaan / Varanus niloticus

In less than a month it is a year since I have joined Trek Nature, and the longer I am part of this wonderful site, the more difficult it becomes to decide which image I want to make use of as my next posting. I am very fortunate, should I not be able to photograph for quite some time, I do have a variety of archived images I will be able to use for future postings. Many are those we have taken during our trip to the Kruger Park.

I never thought I'd enjoy taking a photograph of a leguaan or even a crocodile. I am an insect or a birdie type of camera freak and I enjoy nothing more than to try and capture these creatures. We were sitting at the Sunset dam (just outside of Lower Sabie camp) photographing the waterbirds as well as the Guineafowls doing their welcome pecking alongside the car, when this leguaan appeared and walked along the shore of the dam. Actually Loot followed it with the car so we could get a couple of more shots as it went along. I thought I'll never be able to fit the whole thing into the photograph (it was about 1m in length and very close to the car), but snapped away as it moved ahead. I enjoyed watching this beautiful and most gracious reptile moving forwards, until it disappeared out of eyesight. At that time I did not think that one of the shots would be worthwhile for posting but at least I had some shots for the record. I was surprised with the outcome, and would like to share this reptile with you.

General Overview
With its giant curved claws and muscular tail the water leguaan, is perfectly capable of climbing trees, but it is happiest in the vicinity of water. It is a strong, swift swimmer and, like the crocodile, uses its tail as a kind of paddle to propel itself through the water. Leguaans reaches 1.3 - 2 meters in size.

The tail is also its chief defensive weapon, thrashed viciously from side to side. When molested, this outsized lizard also arches its neck and emits loud, deep hisses, creating an awesome and somewhat prehistoric spectacle. At a last resort it will feign death, sometimes for hours on end. However, these leguaans do prefer to avoid confrontation, and will run away from danger if possible.

Water leguaans spend a large part of the day basking in the sun at the water's edge. Their diet consists of fish, frogs and other small creatures, crabs and mussels (which their large, rounded, peglike teeth can easily crack). Crocodile eggs and the young, which hatch from them, is also a delicacy.

The female water leguaan lays her eggs deep within a hole she excavates in a termite mound, a location that ensures a constant temperature and humidity for the year long incubation period. Anxious to repair the damage, the termites set to work, enclosing the eggs safely from the sight of predators. Ungratefully, the hatchlings make a meal of their host termites and other insects, before heading instinctively for the nearest water.

Attractive leather can be made from the skin of the water leguaan and it was formerly exploited for the fashion trade. However, it is now a protected animal in South Africa.

Taken from: Animals of the Kruger Park and Lowveld - Heritage Publishing.

I hope you enjoy looking at this photo as much as I took pleasure in taking it.

goutham_ramesh, ramthakur, ellis49, wahclella, Alex99, horia, matatur, SelenE, Heaven, uleko, siggi, zulfu, xTauruSx, boreocypriensis, bahadir, Adanac, marhowie, JoseMiguel, Jamesp, albert, sranjan, jconceicao, anel, valy67, Hormon_Manyer, oscarromulus, Mikolaj has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To Wolfpower: Cold temperaturesMiss_Piggy 1 12-07 22:23
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Anna,

This is very interesting shot, very good composition of colours- blue and green with the reptile in the middle. Quite strong saturation is brighting up the image showing great details. Very good and interesting note.

Such a long tail and an amazing creature! its a pleasure to watch this amazing animal, which is so wonderfully presented here. The colors and the details are amazing.
Goutham R

Hello Anna,
I know, this is your version of a Long Tailed Tit. ;-)
Never seen such a long tail on a mammal before, it's made for a LP version.
Well composed with a small diagonal, lovely colours and with very fine details.
Thanks for you kind words and suggestion in my last post,
it would be like a dream for us to visit KNP, especially with you and with Loot as a driver.
Well done, my friend.
Have a nice Sunday and open the DB.

I can experience your experience through your very well told story in the note, Anna. Despite frantic activity and haste to capture this creature unknown to me, you have done a good job. I can see from the position of this Leguaan's fore legs that it is scrambling away at speed.
Caught between land and water, the subject looks perfect in every respect.
Thanks and regards.

Hello Anna,
This is an incredible capture on film or otherwise I should say, I'm an old film junkie as you can tell...LOL! Your image is well defined and the length of this reptile is awesome to see in the wild. He-she has lived a long span to be this length, a very hearty individual it is!
Well Captured,

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2008-12-06 22:42]

Wow, Anna, what a capture!
The thumbnail really intrigued me. as I could not figure out what animal that was from the tiny silhouette.
One of the amazing things about being on TN is how you can come here everyday and learn something new about our wonderful world.
I have never seen nor heard of a water leguaan. What an interesting reptile.
That is certainly an impressive tail. Look how thick it is at the base, and how long.
You did a great job of capturing the whole length of this unusual lizard.
Thanks for the very informative notes as well.
TFS. : )

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2008-12-07 1:58]

Hi, dear Anna.
When I bought my first camera, I could not imagine for what the macro lens is needed. Now you can see my gallery and understand me as I can understand you.

It is really not an insect :). This creature is large a little bit. I welcome brilliant cropping and diagonal composition which are so suitable for the subject. Colours of the shot are vibrant and very pleasant for look. As usual I am a fun of crisp sharp images and love yours for it. Superb job. Many thanks and best regards.

  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2008-12-07 2:26]

Hi Anna

What a terrific shot of this impressive Water Leguaan!
This is something we see very little of around here and especially to the few reptile lovers here, this is a special treat!
The details you managed to get are excellent and the natural colors and texture on the big lizard are very well retained.
A big bonus comes from the beautiful deep blue water behind it, which makes it stand out even more.
Spot-on exposure and POV and excellent composition - with the length of the entire Water Leguaan in the frame.

Bravo and TFS

A perfect capture of a healthy Nile Monitor from a revealing lateral viewpoint Anna, that powerful tail and the alert look on the face of this active predator are some of its salient features. Thank you my friend for sharing this beautiful image with us.

  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2008-12-07 4:23]

Hi Anna,
What a beauty! I like the composition and POV a lot. You managed to position this long lizard in the frame very well. Nice light, background and colors. TFS
All the best,

Hi Anna!

It must be quite an important change for you: a big Leguan reaching 2m of length versus your prefered insects of some millimeters or centimeters. And you did as well as you usually do with smaller subjects.

The panoramic view is a good ida, it allows to show the whole animal at a correct size of the picture and it highlights the Leguans dimensions. The dark blue water contrasts very well with the animal and with the foreground. A fine picture with interesting notes!

Kind regards


  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-12-07 7:11]

Hello Anna,
What a splendid capture of this Leguaan! I think it must be the same species as we've seen in Gambia where one was hiding under a sunchair by the swimming pool! I like the way you're showing its full length here and it looks good along the edge of the blue water.
Great sharpness and fine natural colours too.
TFS and best wishes, Ulla

  • Great 
  • gannu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 988 W: 4 N: 3277] (14761)
  • [2008-12-07 8:10]

Hello Anna, Superb one lovey shot. Great image and what a sharpness. WoW Ganesh

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  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2008-12-07 9:14]

Hello Anna,
This is an excellent shot of this Water Leguaan .Beautiful composition.Very beautiful colors . Well done & TFS.

Best Regards

  • Great 
  • eng55 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1256 W: 42 N: 1976] (5892)
  • [2008-12-07 13:06]

Hi Anna,
It's very nice capture.I liked sharpness,framing,colors,exposure and composition a lot.
Thanks for posting.

Ciao Anna, splendid iguana in a great diagonal composition with fantastic colors, good details and excellent sharpness, I like a lot, very well done, ciao Silvio

Hello Anna

I like the diagonal space in the composition.The brilliant blue looks quite good against the green foliage.
This creature is impressive and fits into the milieu of the shot well.
The details are sharp with excellent texture.
The light was very well managed.
Great job.

Going to be a cold night tonight,down to -20C they say.
Think about that if it is too hot where you are tomorrow.LOL.

Hi Anna,
Superb shot, very good composition of this "long" Varanus niloticus
Muchas gracias por compartir ...TFS
Greetings, Ferran

  • Great 
  • zulfu Gold Star Critiquer [C: 685 W: 0 N: 2] (43)
  • [2008-12-08 7:32]

Hello Anna, great capture of this giant lizard. Nice details and composition.
TFS and regards,

Hello Anna very beautiful image of a Nile varan in a fine composition. TFS and regards,

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-12-08 15:16]

Excellent shot of this loooong Water Moniter.
Really sharp and crisp.
I love the vivid colours.

Well done Anna!


Hi Anna,
An outstanding capture of this Nile Monitor or Varan ("Warn-Eidechse", a misspelling for Waran-Eidechse) with such lovely colours and sharpness in walking. Great it looks in this pose and the lighting is superb. Excellent DOF and composition. In popular belief a monitor seeing a crocodile begins to whistle loudly with fear:), so warning people nearby. Anyway, great capture in all around my friend.
TFS and cheers,


Wow, Anna, I havent seen one of these up close yet, thanks for sharing. Great photo!

Hello Anna,
Splendid shot of this huge monitor lizard with nice colours and details. Nice composition too. TFS and regards,

  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2008-12-09 5:24]

Hello Anna,
What an amazing reptile, your capture displays him and that huge tail superbly. The colors and details have been well reproduced. Thank you Anna for this great posting.

Hello Miss Piggy,
great details of the Water Leguaan.good composition and a superb background!looks like the animal is quite far off,...good timings and great efforts!

Hi Anna,
Nice details and you got em' all in the frame..That very long tail looks longer than the leguaan itself.
I like this split frame with the blue BG adding great color & contrast to subject..
Great shot & note!

hello Anna

excellent shot of the Water Leguaan, with fine POV,
i love the way diagonally it is framed on the image,
and also love that it is doing the seperation on the image
between the water and the ground, excellent contrast
between the colours of these 2 parts, excellent sharpness and details,



  • Great 
  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2008-12-10 10:00]

Hi Anna,
another gem to add to your very varied and growing gallery. Impressive looking specimen you found here, great details and very well framed, good work!

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-12-10 11:24]

Hello Anna,
The whole Monitor Lizard, or Leguaan in the same image, clearly seen from head to tip of tail and well composed in the diagonal manner. Not only that but well placed between its habitats, land and water! Brilliant!
Looks quite big too, perhaps almost full grown.
A fine image Anna, nice to view and thanks for sharing it!
Kind regards,

Hi Anna,
Hey, this is really a looong subject, it had to be very difficult to fit into the framing.
But you did in such a graceful way, with the slight slope used as the composition.
We can well appreciate the whole subject and its details, and the colours of water and grasses add some interesting colour contrast to the picture.
Great work and thanks for share it.
My best regards,

Bly ek het nie soveel los velle nie! Goeie foto Anna

  • Great 
  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2008-12-11 23:40]

Hello Anna

A great composition - the diagonal line is great -great detail on the monitor and lovely strong colours. Well seen, planned and captured.


Hello Anna,
Very nice "panoramic" composition with such a long Water Leguaan, nicely saturated colours and fine skin's details
Well done

Dear Anna,
I appreciate what you have clicked in this frame :). It is a unique creature with extraordinary long tail which it might be using as whip [similar to the monitor lizards we see in this part of subcontinent]. TFS.

Such a long guy, Anna,
you can be so happy to have such animals in your homeland, it's amazing to see them in free nature.
I like the colours here, a beautiful shot, thanks and greetings
Sabine - wishnugaruda

We have so much snow here in these days - and it's cold. Only some hungry birds to see outside, no insects, nothing else, sad!

Hello Anna,

Great capture.
Beautiful colours with fantastic details.
Focus,light and sharpness are excellent.
Good composition.

What a lovely shot, my dear friend Anna!I find it peaceful, this Leguaan doing its own thing, as it were!
Ah...peace...now I wish we humans had more of that!There's terror here in the land of Gandhi, terror and war in Iraq, Iran, Tibet.....it goes on!Why are we humans so destructive?So obsessed with creating horror?
I wonder!....
Thanks for this lovely shot!

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2008-12-15 1:38]

Hello Anna,
For me this species is new and I'm astonished to see how huge this creature is and how strong its tail looks; must be an efficient weapon!
You choice to present it close to water, makes a good contrast and also shows its natural surrounding.
Ineresting note too, like always.
Nice to discover unknown cratures.
Have a nice day and hello to Betsie

Hello Miss Piggy
The sharpness is stunning and the lighting very good in this image. The separation of colours is outstanding. The length of the tail is really spectacular and actually unbelievably beautiful. This reptile walks with grace and elegancy, and you have caught it displaying these characteristics very well. Although not very close to the eye, the details and colours of this leguaan is displayed well, especially the light blue around the face area. Your photography is really good and I do not think that you have to stand back for some of the more experienced guys on the site. Well that is my personal opinion. I always enjoy your notes and stories that go together with your postings.
Best regards
Aaltjie and Hettie

Ciao Anne,
bellissima composizione per questo lungo Varano catturato con ottima nitidezza in una bella prospettiva diagonale con lo stupendo BG dell'acqua, brillanti i colori.

Hola Anna, muchas gracias por tus comentarios, que lógicamente me animan. Tu toma no deja de ser curiosa para mí debido a la rareza de esa especie. Creo que hay un buen control de la luz ya que captar los colores y texturas, sobre todo de la cabeza y la parte delantera del cuerpo no es fácil. Precioso el contaste del verde con el agua. Un bonito trabajo.
Saludos: Josep Ignasi.

Hello Anna,

Very nice and interesting presentation of this Leguaan. Excellent focus from the head to the end of the tail of this very long animal. Excellent sharpness. Very nice to see the water in the background.

Hello Anna !
Great shot of this Leguaan ! It's wonderful that you managd to get the whole tail into frame, I understand how difficultit must have been, it it so long ! :-) Excellent details on the whole Leguaan, vivid colors, splendid composition and POV, and I LOVE this water in the BG - this blue is simplyamazing (I like blue as you like purple :-) You shouldn't spend so much time on deciding which picture to post, for I'm sure that whatever picture you may choose will be as great as this one. Very well done !

Hi Anna,

Nice capture... Framing and DOF is simply so awesome... That blue background adds so much to the beauty... I enjoyed this photo more than how much you enjoyed while clicking it ;)

Thank you a lot for sharing it,

Great shot! Good composition and colours.

Thank you for your nice comments :) ,... Merry Christmas and happy new year to you and your family.

Un beau cliché aux qualités graphiques indéniables.
Bonne journée et bonne année.

Hi dear Anna,
Fantastic diagonal composition, very good choice of background, awesome color harmony. Great cropping and semi-panoramic format also. Although You prefer birds and insects, the way You captured this reptile is something can't be passed through without commenting. A real masterpiece. Bravo.
Respectful regards, László

Exotic display.
Mario from Calgary with greetings.

striking monitor! TFS Ori

Hello Anna! Excellent laguaan! Wonderful scene. Good capture. Perfect colours and ideal sharpness. Great effect. Good luck!

Hello Anna,
it is great shot of Water Leguaan! I like very interestin photomodel, beautiful composition, great details and vivid colours.

Best regards, Leonid

Great shot! I like the composition very much and colors.

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