Black Tree Monitor

Varanus Beccari

Scientific Name

Black Tree Monitor:  
Varanus Beccari

Distribution and Habitat

Geographic Range

Black Tree Monitors are found exclusively on the Aru Islands of New Guinea.

Natural Habitat

These monitors are arboreal and prefer tropical rainforests and mangroves.

Physical Characteristics

  • While a relatively large lizard, the Black Tree Monitor is smaller than many other monitors. Their total length can reach up to three or three and a half feet, with the tail making up 60-70% of the total length. The tail, which is totally prehensile and can act as a fifth leg. They have sharp teeth and strong jaws. The Black Tree Monitor was believed to be either a subspecies or a color variance of the Green Tree Monitor and therefore is very similar in appearance. They have a long neck and a small head. Like their teeth, the claws are long and sharp. The legs are long and agile, and the sharp claws help the Black Tree Monitor grip onto branches. Black Tree Monitors, as the name suggests, are entirely black. Hatchlings often possess a bright pattern consisting of rows of green or yellow spots which completely disappear within twelve weeks. Males in general are larger in size. They have larger heads and the base of the male’s tail is more triangularly shaped. The base of the tail of female tends to be more roundly shaped.

Quick Facts

  1. Also referred to as Beccari’s Monitor.

  2. Unlike other monitors, they do not use their tails as weapons.

  3. They are nervous animals and usually hide amid the trees when humans are present.


Amphibian and Reptile Center

Conservation Status

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All monitors are carnivores. Black Tree Monitors eat insects, small reptiles, small bird hatchlings, crabs and mammals.