Emerald Tree Monitor

Emerald Tree Monitor

Varanus prasinus

Conservation status:  IUCN – LC (Least concer), CITES Appendix II.

Geographic range: Indonesia (Papua), Papua New Guinea.

Physical description: This medium-sized lizard can grow up to 90 cm long. Their tail is twice as long as their body and because of their thin body and long tail, they have very good balance. It is impossible to separate males from females by visual appearance and the main difference between them is that the males mature faster than the females. These lizards usually are dark green in colour, but sometimes pale green individuals can be found. They have long and thin stripes on their back and long sharp nails that help them climb trees. 

Biology: This species typically lives in groups of one dominant male, a few females and few young males. They do not sacrifice their tails when protecting themselves but rather actively protect it. During the mating season, a female usually lays 3-7 eggs, preferably in abandoned termite hills. This is a perfect place to keep a stable temperature due to natural insulation. The eggs hatch after 165 days and the young grow very fast, fully maturing at 2 years old. 

Lifespan: 10 – 15 years.

Food habits: Insects, amphibians, other lizards, small snakes, birds, eggs.

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