Hello everyone I just wanted to share a few pics and info of one of my favorite types of monitors. The green tree monitor. I owned a pair before I joined the navy and I had to sell them.. :-[ I would like to get another pair but, don't have the funds..lol. They can be rather pricey..$1,500-$2,000. They also come in a royal blue wich is the blue tree monitor wich is reaslly expensive since they are not as common.
Varanus prasinus, also known as the Emerald monitor is a small varanid that exists in New Guinea and some of its surrounding islands. It lives most of its life in the treetops and vines of the forests and lowland areas of the island (Bennett, 1998). As with the Black Tree monitor there is not a lot of information available on its way of life.
This tree monitor belongs to a confusing group of lizards whose taxonomy is not fully understood. There are many similar looking tree monitors that are thought to be subspecific to Varanus prasinus and others that look similar but are given full species status. Some of these are Varanus prasinus kordensis, Varanus bogerti, Varanus teriae, Varanus telenesetes, and Varanus keithhornei. The object of this site is to shed some light on captive husbandry so i will not attempt to go deeper into the taxonomy aspect.
The Emerald monitor is one of the most beautiful varanids around. The body color can vary from an intense emerald green to a dull leak green color with very little black speckling showing through. Most of these monitors have some sort black pattern on the dorsal surface. It seems the more common pattern would be a series of black v-shaped marking starting from the neck and continuing down to the vent. The intensity of these markings vary from animal to animal. Some animals exibit a net like pattern instead of the v-shaped markings. These animals are sometimes referred to as Varanus prasinus kordensis.
The Emerald monitor is designed to live in the trees. They have long limbs and long digits tipped with sharp nails to better move around in their arboreal habitat. The body shape is typically Indonesian with a slender build and a tail that is almost twice as long as the SVL (Snout To Vent Length). The tail is fully prehensile and gives the Green Tree monitor a fifth limb.
Heating and Lighting Requirements
The island of New Guinea is surrounded by water and has a hot, humid climate. This is what Varanus prasinus will need in captivity as well. Being an arboreal monitor lizard it is a good idea to place the basking light in an area where they can utilize the heat without having to leave the security of the branches. Basking lights can be provided in a number of different ways. There are many "reptile" bulbs on the market that are geared toward focusing heat in a limited area. These bulbs are great but usually cost quite a bit. You can achieve the same results from halogen bulbs you buy at the local hardware store for half the price. Varanus prasinus should be provided with basking temperatures around the 110-120°F mark. Warning: Make sure your Green Tree monitor can not come into direct contact with the heating element because it can severely injure itself. Their sense of touch is not the same as ours and the monitor may burn itself without knowing it. Use some sort of screening or make sure the heating device is far enough away that the monitor can't reach it.
The ambient temperature of the enclosure should match that of their natural habitat. Depending on how large your encloure is and how it is set up you may need to use more than one bulb to properly heat it. Non-light emitting ceramic fixtures are good for this purpose. A good ambient temperature for a Green Tree monitor enclosure is 80-85°F or slightly higher. Keep in mind that your monitors will need a temperature gradient throughout their cage. So from the basking site to the "cool" end you will need to give them a range of temperatures to choose from.
If you find that the amount of light given off by the bulbs used to heat the enclosure is not sufficiently bright enough to light the cage you may want to add a flourescent fixture to your setup. These are relatively cheap and easy to install. I won't get into the whole issue of whether or not monitors need UV lighting, except to say that there is no definitive proof to show that they need it in captivity or to show that they suffer from receiving it. Many people have successfully kept monitors both ways. You can do some research and make your own informed decision on this one.
Depending on where you live in the world it may be neccessary to take precautions to avoid letting the enclosure become too cold at night. If you live in a hot climate then you won't really have to worry about this section. A Varanus prasinus enclosure should not drop below 70°F at night. Most monitors are hardy and can tolerate low temperatures but there is no need to over expose them to low night temperatures if its not needed. An easy way to prevent this would be to use a ceramic bulb in the enclosure or if you have a larger collection it may be easier to use a space heater to heat the room. A drop in temperature at night is normal and won't affect the well being of a healthy monitor.
Housing a Green Tree Monitor
Much like their darker colored counterparts, Varanus prasinus should be housed in a vertically oriented enclosure. The taller the cage the better, however, they will also need enough space lengthwise to move around in. As a minimum I would suggest you build or buy an enclosure with dimensions 5 feet long X 4 feet high X 2.5 feet deep to house a pair. This is only a suggestion . Of course the more space you provide them with the better off they will be. The enclosure itself can easily be constructed out of melamine and glass for a relatively cheap price.
Branches placed throughout the cage is a must for this varanid. They will spend most of their lives above ground so it is important to provide them with sturdy branches that are firmly fixed to the insides if the enclosure. There are a number of ways to do this but I find that drilling holes through the walls of the enclosure and using screws to secure the branches works best for me. Some of the branches should be positioned under the basking light so that they don't have to leave the branches to gain access to heat.
Another good choice for cage furnishings would be plants and vines. The artificial ones work best since real plants are easily shredded by their sharp nails. Plant do two things. Firstly, they give the Green Tree monitors a better sense of security because they will have access to more cover and secondly, they make the enclosure esthetically pleasing to look at. A nicely planted Green Tree monitor enclosure is quite a sight.
Hide boxes are essential for this species because WC (Wild Caught) specimens are usually very skittish and shy at first. Hide areas will help them acclimate to their new surroundings. These should be placed above ground and be large enough to completely hold the monitor with a suitably sized entrance hole. There are a number of products on the market that are designed for birds i.e. nesting boxes that work well as an arboreal hide box. The hide box can be lined with substrate and can by misted lightly to provide a humid area.
Good choices for substrate include cypress mulch, sphagnum moss, leaf litter, soil or a combination of any of these. Varanus prasinus will need a humid environment and these substrates allow for that with regular misting.
Feeding a Green Tree Monitor
Varanus prasinus is a small monitor that won't be able to eat some of the standard prey items often given to monitors such as large mice and rats. They can be fed many different types of prey and should be given as much variety as possible to assure a balanced diet. Acceptable prey items include crickets, eggs, mealworms, roaches, katydids and other large insects that are pesticide free. As well, they will eagerly take small mice and rat pups. Some keepers find that these monitors have a hard time digesting the hair of rodents and instead offer mice and rat pinkies or fuzzies. Note: Fresh water should be available at all times.
Size and Temper of a Green Tree Monitor
Varanus prasinus available in the pet trade are almost definitely WC (Wild Caught). There are a handful of zoos and private keepers that have bred this specie in captivity. Being wild caught they are usually skittish and quite nervous. Defensive behaviour includes biting, scratching and defecating. However, speaking with keepers of this species it seems that they have the ability to calm down with time. If you are able to get a juvenile monitor your chances of taming it to the point that it will not fear your presence are increased. I've read a number of different accounts of people that have Green Tree monitors that are pretty tame and will accept food right from the keepers fingers. At the same time there are numerous reports that say they are quick to bite and scratch with their sharp nails. So as you can see there doesn't seem to be a consensus on their temperment. It all depends on what age you get the animal at as well as how much handling time you put into it.
These are not large varanids and usually reach a maximum of 3 feet TL (Total Length). The tail is very long and makes up more than half of the monitors TL.
I hope you guys liked it enjoy the photos..