Nest predation is the main cause of hatching failure for many turtle populations. For green turtles (Chelonia mydas) nesting at Chagar Hutang in Redang Island, Malaysia, Asian water monitors (Varanus salvator) are a potential nest predator. However, no studies have documented the space use of this species in coastal habitat adjacent to a sea turtle nesting beach to assess its potential impact on turtle nests. Here, we used Global Positioning System (GPS) data loggers to quantify space use of Asian water monitors in order to establish the extent to which they use sea turtle nesting areas. Asian water monitors had a diurnal activity pattern and spent most of their time in rain forest habitat behind the sea turtle nesting beach. The home range occupied by Asian water monitors varied between 0.015 and 0.198 km2 calculated by the Kernel Brownian Bridge method. The space use patterns of individual Asian water monitors varied between individuals. Two males had relatively small home ranges, whereas one male and the female had a relatively large home range. Because tracked Asian water monitors in this study rarely visited the sea turtle nesting areas, it is probable that only a few individuals are responsible for opening nests.
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Vol. 38 • No. 1