Varanus finschi BÖHME,HORN & ZIEGLER 1994
Finsch's Monitor
  Varanus finschi belongs to the subgenera Euprepiosaurus. Animals of this species can grow up to about 135 cm in total length. The tail is about 1.6 times as long as SVT.
The dorsal pattern of adults consists of black ocelli – often arranged in irregular transverse rows - with a yellowish center on a dark grayish background. These yellow spots often form distinct rings with a black center. Belly and throat are whitish. The dark head is speckled with numerous yellowish spots. Tongue color is pink (SPRACKLAND 1999).
The pattern of juveniles corresponds largely to that of adults, but is more striking. Sometimes the whitish belly shows dark gray transvere bands. Occasionally, throat and neck are speckled with gray. These ventral markings of juveniles fade more and more, and finally disappear when the juveniles mature.
Tail laterally compressed, more or less banded black and white with a dorsal double keel.
Compared with other members of the V. indicus group, V. finschi has fairly small scales. The number of scales around midbody (158 - 196) and the number of dorsal scales from hindhead to hindlegs (171 - 199) are high.
Snout vent length ranges from 105 to 305 mm, total length from 257 to 820 mm. Tail length averages 1.34-1.66 times snout vent length (BÜHME et al. 1994, ZIEGLER et al. 1999).

Distribution, habitat and behavior


Varanus finschi was only known from Blanche Bay, Ralum and Massawa in New Britain (BÖHME et al. 1994). Further research on available museum specimen enlarged the range of the species, which currently includes New Ireland (Bismarck Archipelago), New Guinea and Queensland, Australia (ZIEGLER et al. 1999, ZIEGLER et al. 2001). Unfortunately, the specimen from Queensland have no fixed locality data, so the exact distribution of V. finschi in northern Australia remains unknown.
This monitor species is found in different types of habitat: mangrove forest, inland forest, fresh cut clearings, coconut plantations and rocky beaches (HEDIGER 1934). He saw Pacific Monitors on the ground, in trees and sometimes also in the water (both salt and fresh water). But as V. indicus and V. finschi occur in broad sympatry on New Britain, the question of which observation belonged to which Pacific monitor species remains open.

HEDIGER (1934) analyzed stomach contents of several specimens of New Britain’s Pacific monitor lizards. He reported, that Pacific monitors from New Britain feed on crabs, scorpions, locusts and beetles. These observations HEDIGER’s reported, represent the only published data which are known to Pacific monitors from New Britain.

Keeping and breeding
No data are published on the captive husbandry of this monitor species yet.
But because of the close relation to other members of the V. indicus-complex, we should offer an enclosure similar to the setting for V. indicus.