ANIMAL: Black Tree Monitor Varanus beccarii Type of Animal: Monitor Habitat: Forests, mangroves/mangrove swamps, cocoa plantations Location(s): Aru Islands Appearance: Adults completely black & slender w/ long tails, small heads, & long necks, hatchlings/juveniles dark gray w/ regular rows of bright yellow-green dots, males larger than females, males have broader tails while females have rounder tails Food/Diet: Insects, insect larvae, other lizards, eggs, shrews, rodents, scorpions, birds, fish, snakes, shrimp, crabs, frogs, spiders, centipedes, worms Status in Wild: Stable Conservation: Breeding in zoos, wildlife centers, herpetoculture, & aquariums Lifestyle: Solitary or small groups of a male w/ 1-3 females Additional Info: Called: Male Female Young: Hatchling Group: Colony Weight: Male: 7.54 oz Young: 7.41 oz Gestation: 23 weeks Life Span: 10-15 years Body Length: Male: 3.5 ft Female: 3 ft Young: 1 ft Tail Length: Male: 2.1-2.45 ft Female: 1.8-2.1 ft Young: 0.6-0.7 ft Main predators are snakes, larger lizards, predatory birds, & carnivorous/omnivorous mammals. These lizards highly arboreal. Use long claws & long prehensile tail to grip branches. Sexually mature at a year old. Active during the day (diurnal). Like other monitors, use forked tongue to sense surroundings. Often use chemical cues to search out prey/mates. Also called Beccari’s Monitor after Italian explorer Odoardo Beccari & Aru Island Monitor. Females breed twice a year, having clutches of 2-6 eggs. When it can’t use jaws to reach prey in tight spaces, they’ll extract by reaching w/ forelimb & using claws to hook it out. They’re very shy & secretive in the wild. Courtship often involves male chasing female. Prehensile tail often serves as 5th limb. Fun Fact(s): Locally known as Waweyaro & people in Aru Islands don’t eat them. Females usually lay eggs in arboreal termite nests. Hatchlings eat termites/termite eggs within minutes of hatching. Like many monitors, they’re rather intelligent. Though sometimes kept as pets, they’re more of a look but don’t touch kind of pet. They prefer not being handled & are very nervous & high-strung animals. 1st mode of defense is to flee but if that doesn’t work, they may bite/scratch/poop on threat.