The Timor monitor is a dwarf species of monitor lizard belonging to the Odatria complex. Generally, it is dark greenish-gray to almost black in background color, with bright gold-yellow or sometimes bluish spotting along its dorsal surface and a lighter straw-yellow color on its ventral side. It has a pointed snout, excellent eyesight and hearing, sharp teeth, and a prehensile tail that measures two-thirds of its total length. V. timorensis also has long, sharp claws well-suited for climbing and defense. The species grows to a maximum of 61 cm, and weighs between 100 and 350 g.
Timor monitors are arboreal, diurnal lizards. Their diets consist of a variety of invertebrates, plus other lizards, such as geckos. Breeding takes place from December to March, and clutches of up to 11 eggs are laid; the eggs incubate three to four months, depending on the average temperature. Hatchlings are about 5 in long, but grow quickly.
Frequently bred in captivity, this monitor is also still imported in small numbers for the exotic pet trade. Wild-caught specimens can be nervous and difficult to handle, but captive-raised animals are much less shy. Its small size makes it an attractive choice for any varanid enthusiast, as they are easily housed in a vivarium oriented towards vertical climbing space (30-55 gallon, never less), ample hiding spots, a basking area between 95 and 100°F, with ambient temperatures between 75 and 90°F. A medium-sized bowl of water is recommended for the occasional soak, or the cage can be misted once every few days to maintain humidity between 40 and 60%. They readily feed on a diet of commercially available crickets, roaches, mealworms, and occasionally mice.
- Cogger, H. (1967). Australian Reptiles in Colour. Sydney: A. H. & A. W. Reed, ISBN 0-589-07012-6
- King, Dennis & Green, Brian. 1999. Goannas: The Biology of Varanid Lizards. University of New South Wales Press. ISBN 0-86840-456-X
- Species Varanus timorensis at The Reptile Database