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Black-headed Monitor


Quick Facts

Scientific name: Varanus tristis
Class: Reptile
Length: 20 to 24 inches (50 to 80 centimeters)
Number of eggs: 5 to 17 eggs
Age of maturity: 2 years
Incubation: 85 to 140 days
Conservation status: Least Concern



Black-headed monitors are always looking out for threats and easily frightened. They burrow into the ground, climb into tight rock crevices, or climb trees if they sense danger. Their sharp claws allow them to climb rocks and trees quickly. Their dark bodies help them hide in tree or between rocks

Mmmm… food!

The black-headed monitor preys mostly on insects, but they’re not picky! In Australia, they will eat nearly anything they find, like bird and lizard eggs, small mammals, and small lizards.

Sun tan

Lizards love hot weather and sunshine. The dark head and tail of black-headed monitor help them absorb sunlight and warm up their bodies quickly. They thrive in temperatures between 77 degrees and 113 degrees Fahrenheit!

Keep the eggs safe

In October, females will lay multiple sets of eggs and bury them in 8-inch-deep (20 centimeter) holes. The female will defend her nests, dig up her eggs, and rebury them until the eggs hatch in February. Baby monitors (hatchlings) sometimes sit for a day or more in their shells before they dig toward the surface.



Learn more about our efforts, our conservation partners around the world, and the simple steps you can take to contribute.