My name is ‘Johnny 5’ and I’m a Crocodile monitor, a very big lizard

My name is ‘Johnny 5’ and I’m a Crocodile monitor, a very big lizard


A new crocodile monitor is making himself at home in the zoo’s Predators area. 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 last fall 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.

As part of the Metro family, the Oregon Zoo helps make greater Portland a great place to call home. Committed to conservation, the zoo is working to save endangered California condors, northwestern pond turtles, Oregon silverspot and Taylor’s checkerspot butterflies, and northern leopard frogs.


To learn more, visit To plan your trip, go to Support from the Oregon Zoo Foundation enhances and expands the zoo’s efforts in conservation, education and animal welfare. To contribute, go to