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Green Tree Monitor

Range:
Endemic to New Guinea and several adjacent islands, as well as a few islands within the Torres Strait, a body of water separating Papua New Guinea and northern Queensland, Australia
Habitat:
Forest and swamp
Characteristics:
The emerald tree monitor is bright green with black cross bars down its back. It can be seen with or without light blue flecks and has a light to dark-yellow throat and belly. This active, largely tree-dwelling species uses its long agile tail as a fifth limb. That long tail, along with its long tongue and slim body, give this monitor a snakelike look. The Green Tree Monitor's long limbs, long toes and long claws are all useful when it climbs trees. This upper jaw can move independently from the skull. Most squamates have that ability, but it is highly developed in monitors. It helps the animal move prey into a better position for swallowing.
Green Tree Monitor Click to View Bigger Picture
Behavior:
Specialized for an arboreal lifestyle, the green tree monitor’s slender body and long claws enable it to lie along slim tree branches without slipping. It also holds on by wrapping its long, prehensile tail around a tree branch. It is active during the daytime. When threatened, the emerald tree monitor will flee through vegetation or bite if cornered. It is one of the few social monitors, living in small groups made up of a dominant male, several females, and a few other males and juveniles.
Reproduction:
A female may lay as many as three clutches throughout the year. She lays her eggs in arboreal termite nests. The eggs hatch between 160 and 190 days later, typically from June to November, after which the young eat the termites and the termite's eggs within minutes of hatching.[ Sexual maturity is reached in about two years.
Interesting Facts:
The tail of the monitor is prehensile and works like a fifth foot. The reptile sleeps in the branches, holding on with one or two claws and its tail wrapped around a branch. In Paopao, this monitor is referred to in Indonesian ‘guntur-kilat' (thunder and lightning).
Green Tree Monitor Click to View Bigger Picture
Conservation:
The emerald tree monitor is bright green with black cross bars down its back. It can be seen with or without light blue flecks and has a light to dark-yellow throat and belly. This active, largely tree-dwelling species uses its long agile tail as a fifth limb. This lizard although beautiful and sought after as a pet but is considered a delicate lizard with exacting care demands in captivity.
Did YOU Know?
Unlike other varanids, this monitor defends its tail rather than lashing with it for defense when threatened.
Green Tree Monitor
Range
Class: reptile
Order: Squamata
Family: Varanidae
Genus: Varanus
Species: prasinus
Length: 30 inches; 80 cm
Height: N/A
Weight: 10.5 ounces
Average Lifespan: 15-20 years
Wild Diet: Small animals, such as insects and crabs, and eggs
Zoo Diet: Crickets, mealworms, wax worms and mice
Predators: Snakes and predatory birds
USFWS Status: Not Listed
CITES Status: Appendix II
Where at the Zoo? Small Animal Building: Tropics Zone


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