Black-headed Monitor (Varanus tristis tristis)

From Pet Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Black-headed Monitor
Varanus tristis tristis
Black-headed Monitor (Varanus tristis tristis)
Name Black-headed Monitor
Name Lat. Varanus tristis tristis
Family Monitor Lizards
Family lat. Varanidae
Order Scaled Reptiles
Order lat. Squamata
Origin Australia
Habitat Shrub savanna
Diet Insects, small mammals
Humidity 50-60 %
Behavior Peaceful
Keeping Individual, pair
Care Level Moderate
Reproduction Oviparous
Housing Semi-humid terrarium
Life Span 12-15 years
Protection CITES Appendix II; EU Annex B
Metric Units
Size 70-80 cm
Temperature 25-30 °C
Temperature Local 40-45 °C
Housing Size 120 x 60 x 150 cm
US Units
Size 28"-31"
Temperature 77-86 °F
Temperature Local 104-113 °F
Housing Size 45" x 25" x 60"

Distribution and habitat

The diurnal, tree-dwelling (arboricolous) mourning monitors are native to northeastern Australia. The good climbers live in the dry to semi-humid rocky regions as well as in tree and bush savannahs and are rarely found on the ground.


Minimum dimensions for the terrarium, according to the size and number of animals

1-2 animals 4KRL x 2KRL x 5KRL (L x W x H)

Head-torso length (KRL) is measured on the largest animal. For each additional animal, increase the footprint by 15%. A terrarium of e.g. 120 x 60 x 150 cm is recommended, which should be placed in a quiet and vibration-free place

They need a spacious terrarium, with strong, horizontally mounted climbing branches, tree trunks, cork tubes and rock structures (hiding place and privacy screen), structured back and side walls (e.g. cork covering), a deep graveable substrate made of a sand-clay mixture and a stable, shallow drinking vessel. Part of the substrate should always be kept slightly moist. Once a day, preferably in the evening, the inside of the terrarium should be finely sprayed with water (humidity).

Temp. day: 25-30 °C Temp. night: 20-24 °C Temp. local: up to 45 °C Humidity: 50-60

Thermostatically controlled floor heating is recommended. The lighting duration must be 10-12 hrs. They need high light intensity and daily UV irradiation as well as sunny places with radiant heat.


The predatory monitors eat everything they can overpower, but also carrion. The food supply consists of insects (crickets, grasshoppers, zophobas, etc.), small rodents, eggs (raw or cooked), etc., as well as meat of beef and game, according to their size. Commercially available ready-made food is also accepted without problems. Wax moths should rarely be fed in very small quantities because of their large fat content. It is important to add minerals and vitamins regularly (e.g. by dusting the feed). Young animals should be offered food daily, adults 3-4 times a week. Drinking water must always be available

A varied diet promotes health and prevents deficiency symptoms.

Reproduction and breeding

The sexes are difficult to distinguish. A reliable sex determination is only possible by x-rays or endoscopy.

The female lays about 9 eggs in burrows she has dug herself. The incubation period is 110-130 days at a temperature of 30 °C. The young are 14-18 cm in size.

Life expectancy can be 12-15 years.

Species protection

The animal population must be reported in writing to the competent authority immediately after the start of keeping. Subsequently, all arrivals and departures must be reported.

Protection of species: WA Annex II; EU Annex B. The proof of purchase is the required proof of origin for the animal. Please keep it safe! Your pet store will be happy to provide you with further information.


They need hiding places and according to their need for warmth sunny places with radiant heat, e.g. stones or branches irradiated with a spot. Males engage in comment fights at the beginning of the mating season. Especially adult animals tend to become obese, therefore a fasting period should be inserted occasionally

A hibernation period of about 2 months at lowered temperature and reduced illumination time is recommended.

The quality of the food animals can be upgraded by giving fruit and honey water.

The terrarium must have good ventilation without drafts and meet the species specific needs. Measuring devices such as thermometers, hygrometers, etc. are necessary. The lighting has to correspond to the species-specific day-night rhythm and has to be placed in such a way that the animals cannot injure themselves. The terrarium should be locked in such a way that neither unauthorized persons can open it nor the animals can escape. Contamination must be removed regularly.

Further literature can be found in your pet store.


Text: petdata; Image: Franz Lowak 

Source: BMELV (1997): Tierschutzgutachten - Mindestanforderungen an die Haltung von Reptilien; ENGELMANN (2006): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Reptilien und Amphibien, Harri Deutsch Verlag

  • Gemäß § 21 Abs. 5 Tierschutzgesetz idgF