Varanus salvadorii (PETERS & DORIA 1878)
Crocodile Monitor

  salvadoriiVaranus salvadorii the only member of the subgenera Papusaurus. The Crocodile Monitor is one of the longest members in the monitor family. More then two thirds of the total length however belong to the tail. Rumors of animals which shall have reached more than 4 m appear from time to time. No animal with such a size has become known to the science till now. The largest till now known specimen measured 244 cm (MERTENS 1962).
Characteristic feature of this monitor is the blunt snout, which makes this monitor species looking different to other species. Since the Crocodile Monitor is a tree climber, the long tail seems here as an extreme counterbalance to the head. The teeth indicate this species as a bird eater. The teeth do not look like the teeth in other monitor species, where they are pointing backwards. Here they almost stand vertically from the jaw bones. They are suitable to get away with birds since they could be able to penetrate the feathers well and grab the bird so well with these teeth.
Stomach contents showed that the food consists mainly in big insects and vertebrates (LOSOS & GREENE 1988).
The ground coloration is olive-green. Several irregular crossrows, which are formed by pale yellow ocelli cover the back. The tail is banded in its total length.

Distribution, habitat and behavior


HORN, SWEET, & PHILIPP (2007) found out, that the distribution area of V. salvadorii is not only restricted to the southern coast of New Guinea from Port Moresby in the east across the Fly River area, and Merauke to Agats in Western Papua (Indonesia), but also found in the northern parts of the island. Collecting points were Jayapura (Western Papua, Indonesia) and Vanimo (PNG). Also on the Vogelkop peninsula and the island of Salawati some museum specimen were collected.
In this area the animals occur in mangrove swamps as well as in sklerophyll forrest from the western parts of the Vogelkop peninsula across to Port Moresby in the east (MERTENS 1950).

Keeping and breeding

The size of the monitors must be taken into account in the size of the enclosure. You can use wood chips as ground cover. Several big tree-trunks and a big water basin complete the furnishing.
PHILIPPEN (1994a) reported about three clutches of these to monitors, however unfortunately the eggs were not fertile. SCHMICKING & HORN (1997) describes a successful captive husbandry. A female laid altogether three clutches of eggs with together 22 eggs about 4-6 weeks after observed matings. Incubation of the eggs happened in damp vermiculite at about 29°C. Two young animals developed and hatched after 201 and 203 days of incubation. They had a total length of 420 mm and 425 mm and weighted 47 and 48 g.