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Black Tree Monitor

Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House

Did You Know?

  • Tree monitors have prehensile tails that can wrap and grasp items, such as branches. Their tails can help monitor balance as they move through trees but can also be used like an extra limb.
  • Like other tree monitors, they have long, slender limbs and elongated digits with claws. Their soles have a sticky quality that helps them maintain grip and catch prey.
  • Because they are only found on one set of islands—and due to harvesting for the pet trade—researchers suspect that the populations of black tree monitors are decreasing.

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Why aren’t animals visible at all times? To promote positive animal welfare, we provide animals with choices. They can choose to spend time in areas that are out of public view.


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Scientific Name: Varanus beccarii

Class: Reptiles

Diet: Small invertebrates such as insects (also, mammals, amphibians, birds, and eggs)

Range: Aru Islands (off the coast of New Guinea)

Endangered Status: Not Listed

More Information

Black tree monitors have slender bodies and tails that make up two-thirds of their body length. Adults are solid black, between 3–4 feet long, while hatchlings are dark gray with rows of bright yellow-green dots. They are arboreal and mostly live in trees. They can move very fast and tend to be solitary within the forest environments they prefer.

During breeding season, females bury their eggs in warm, elevated places to incubate for around 164 days. They defend their hatchlings for a short time before young tree monitors leave the nest.

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