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Varanus beccari Print E-mail
Black tree monitor, Beccari's monitor.

Extract from A Little Book of Monitor Lizards © D. Bennett 1995. Viper Press, UK

Varanus beccari Doria 1874

Beccari's monitor is usually considered a subspecies of Varanus prasinus. Sprackland (1990) considered it to be a separate species on the basis of its entirely black colouration and more keeled neck scales. It may also reach a larger size than the emerald monitor with a maximum size of 34cm SVL, 94.5cm TL. Beccari's monitor is apparently found only on the Aru Islands and nothing is known of its ecology. Like emerald monitors they are superbly adapted for an arboreal existence. They may inhabit mangroves swamps and crabs may form an important part of their diet (Pattullo, pers. comm.). In captivity they should be housed in the same manner as emerald monitors. Although the Aru Islands receive less rainfall than the rest of New Guinea the animals appreciate water as much as their green relatives. Like other members of the prasinus group, Beccari's monitors are sociable animals and can usually be housed in groups without incident. The presence of more than one male may increase the chances of initiating courtship. Unusual apparent appeasing behaviour, in which the weaker animal rubs his chin on the dominant animal's pelvis and tail has been observed in these animals (Branham & Wheeler, pers. comm.).
Image
Varanus becarri


Breeding has been reported on a few occasions (Branham, pers, comm., Wanner 1991, Eidenmuller & Wicker 1992; Biebl 1994b). Clutches of up to six eggs measuring 4.5 X 1.5cm are laid, which hatch after about 240 days at 27.7oC and 172-203 days at 27-30oC. Hatchlings often possess a bright pattern consisting of rows of green or yellow spots which completely disappear within twelve weeks. Unfortunately most hatchlings produced to date have died after a short time. They may be unable to tolerate humidity that is too low or too high and appear to be articularly susceptible to infections. Hatchlings should be handled as little as possible and housed separately. These bonnie wee beasties will feed on a variety of insects and occasional meals of small vertebrates.

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The Butaan Project
Monitoring Individuals 1

butaan1.jpgButaan are so shy they frequently remain in a tree for more than a week after being frightened. A large male we rescued from a trap hid in a tree for 22 days before coming down!* . Most lizards do not appear traumatised by being caught and released by scientists, and resume normal activity very quickly. But we think that butaan, especially older individuals, may permanently alter their activity areas after such an encounter. Because the animals are so shy, and highly vulnerable to human disturbance, we have had to develop a range of techniques that allow us to learn about them with the absolute minimum of interference.

 

 

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