Blue-Spotted Tree Monitors Hatch At UK’s Bristol Zoo Gardens

December 5, 2019

A pair of endangered blue-spotted tree monitors (Varanus macraei) have successfully hatched at the Bristol Zoo Gardens in the United Kingdom, a first successful effort for the zoo’s breeding program.

Blue spotted tree monitor

Bristol Zoo Gardens

Endangered blue-spotted tree monitor coming out of its shell.

The lizards hatched from eggs that were 5cm in length, and were incubated at 31 degrees celsius at the zoo for the last five months. The weighed 13 grams and are currently 27cm in length, with two thirds of that their tail.

Blue-Spotted Monitor

“So little is known about these animals in the wild - their natural history is still largely a mystery,” Bristol Zoo’s senior reptile keeper, Adam Davis said on the zoo’s website announcing the event. “The breeding program aims to ensure a healthy population in European zoos and to do everything we can to better understand this species.”

“The programme is vital to their survival, so every single one of them is extremely important,” Davis said.

The blue-spotted tree monitor is a diurnal species that is believed to be completely arboreal. It retains a prehensile tail that enables them to grasp limbs, and its sharps claws aid in walking on tree branches. The reptile has been successfully bred in the Plzen and Cologne Zoos back in 2001. It is native to the island of Batanta in Indonesia. They were discovered and described in 2001 and listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species in 2007, due to illegal collection for the pet trade. 

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