Timor monitor

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Biawak Timor
Varanus timorensis.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Lacertilia
Family: Varanidae
Genus: Varanus
Subgenus: V. (Odatria)
Species: V. timorensis
Binomial name
Varanus timorensis
Gary, 1831

Monitor timorensis

The Timor monitor or spotted tree monitor (Varanus timorensis) is a species of small monitor lizards native to the islands of West and East Timor.


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.

Geographic distribution[edit]

The Timor monitor is found in Indonesia, specifically the islands of Timor, Savu, and Rote, and in East Timor.

In captivity[edit]

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.