Black Tree Monitor

Black Tree Monitor Varanus beccarii

Type of Animal:

Forests, mangroves/mangrove swamps, cocoa plantations

Aru Islands

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

Insects, insect larvae, other lizards, eggs, shrews, rodents, scorpions, birds, fish, snakes, shrimp, crabs, frogs, spiders, centipedes, worms

Status in Wild:

Breeding in zoos, wildlife centers, herpetoculture, & aquariums

Solitary or small groups of a male w/ 1-3 females

Additional Info:

Young: Hatchling
Group: Colony
Male: 7.54 oz
Young: 7.41 oz
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.

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