The emerald tree monitor, also known as the green tree monitor, is a small to medium-sized arboreal monitor lizard from New Guinea.
The reptile spends the majority of its time in tree branches – even when sleeping - holding on with its claws and tail wrapped around a branch.
The lizard is a very strong climber, with long limbs, long toes, long claws and a prehensile tail working like a fifth limb.
The emerald tree monitor's diet consists of large tree-dwelling arthropods, such as stick insects, cockroaches, beetles, birds and small mammals. Its upper jaw can move independently from the skull and this helps the animal move prey into a better position for swallowing.
In the wild, these monitors are found on mainland New Guinea and a few surrounding islands. They inhabit rain and palm forests, mangrove swamps and cocoa plantations.
The emerald tree monitor's conservation status is listed as Least Concern.
Emerald tree monitors are a EAZA European Studbook species (ESB), and Bristol Zoo works hard together with other European zoos to continue the population of emerald tree monitors in human care.
We also hold the very similar blue-spotted monitor lizard, Varanus macraei. This species lives on the Indonesian island of Bantana and apart from being blue, is almost identical to the Emerald tree monitor.
You can find our emerald tree monitor in the Reptile House, near Twilight World and the Aquarium
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