Green Tree Monitor (Varanus prasinus)

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Green Tree Monitor
Varanus prasinus
Green Tree Monitor (Varanus prasinus)
Name Green Tree Monitor
Name Lat. Varanus prasinus
Family Monitor Lizards
Family lat. Varanidae
Order Scaled Reptiles
Order lat. Squamata
Origin New Guinea, N-Australia
Habitat Rainforests
Diet Insects, small mammals
Humidity 70-90 %
Behavior ♂ territorial
Keeping Individual, pair
Care Level Moderate
Reproduction Oviparous
Housing Humid terrarium
Life Span 10 years
Protection CITES Appendix II; EU Annex B
Metric Units
Size 70-100 cm
Temperature 25-28 °C
Temperature Local 30-35 °C
Housing Size 120 x 60 x 150 cm
US Units
Size 28"-39"
Temperature 77-82 °F
Temperature Local 86-95 °F
Housing Size 45" x 25" x 60"

Distribution and habitat

The diurnal, arboreal (arboricolous) emerald monitors are native to New Guinea, the surrounding islands and the northern tip of Australia. They are good climbers, preferring to live in the trees of the monsoon and rain forests.


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 terrarium, with strong partly horizontal climbing branches, tree trunks, cork tubes and many plants, like Scindapsus, Bromeliads, Ficus etc. (hiding- shade places), structured back- and side walls (e.g. cork covering), a deep diggable substrate from a forest soil-peat mixture as well as a shallow drinking vessel. The substrate should always be kept slightly moist. Several times a day, especially in the evening, the inside of the terrarium should be finely sprayed with water (humidity), but a rain or mist system is better.

Temp. day: 25-28 °C Temp. night: 23-25 °C Temp. local: 30-35 °C Humidity: 70-90

Thermostatically controlled floor heating is recommended. Lighting duration must be 8-12 hrs. Daylight fluorescent tubes are ideal. They need sunny places with radiant heat and daily UV irradiation.


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 3-9 eggs in burrows she has dug herself. The incubation period is 93-186 days at a temperature of 28 °C

Life expectancy can be 10 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 spotlight

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

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