Alice Springs NT
giganteus is the largest monitor in Australia. It is a member of
the subgenera Varanus.
The coloration on theback
is mainly brown, with rows of greatly cream-colored to yellowish spots,
which are ordered in rows across the back and the tail. Every bright spot
is enclosed by a deep brown or black edge. The black borders on the nape
of the neck form a reticulation at the sides, which also extends over
the head and throat. The limbs are deep brown with cream-colored or yellow
spots. The coloration of the lower side is whitish. In youngsters the
back colaration is very intensive, however the contrast becomes poorer
with age. A temporal stripe isn't available. The head scales are small,
smooth and irregular. The nostril is situated at the side, it is approximately
twice as far away from the eye than to the tip of the snout. 240-290 scale
rows are around midbody. The tail is squeezed together strongly at the
side unless at the base with a clearly visible double keel on the lower
half. The length is approximately 1.3 times the SVL. The tail scales are
not keeled. Since the scales of the tail underside are greater than that
one of the top side, they are ordered in irregular rings. The average
total length is about 160 cm, but animals with more as 200 cm total length
were already reported.
habitat and behavior
distribution of Varanus giganteus extends from Mt. Isa in the east
across the center of the continent to the west coast between Carnarvon and
Port Headland. Its distribution goes down to Coober Pedy in the south and
Tennant Creek in the north. The Perentie is an excellent climber in rocky
area, however, you can also observe him in dune areas. But from medium-sized
to large Rocky Outcropss are his natural habitat, where he can look for
hiding-places within the crevices or dig large holes (MERTENS 1942d, 1958, KEAST 1959, WORRELL 1966, BUSTARD 1968, SWANSON 1976, STORR 1980, STORR et al.
1983b, WILSON & KNOWLES 1988, HOSER 1989, COGGER 1992,
EHMANN 1992). The food consists of bigger vertebrates,
like rabbit or other reptiles, in the main thing but also big insects are
eaten. Occasionally carrion is also on the menu of V. giganteus (LOSOS & GREENE 1988).
the size of this species only retile parks, zoos, or private keepers wit
huge enclosures are able to keep these monitors.
For this enclosure we use sand as substrate. As hiding-places we offer rock
piles, which however must be connected to each other well to prevent that
the monitors could let them break down during their digging activities..
The captive husbandry has been described already, but all present successes
happened in Australia. There the animals are kept in large out door enclosures
under their natural climate and photoperiod conditions. Under these circumstances
a successful keeping and breeding is not really a problem.
V. giganteus dug their eggs under the rocks. After they were removed,
they were incubated at temperatures between 30 and 32°C (BREDL 1987, BREDL & HORN 1987).
The young animals hatched after an incubation period of 228-235 days. The
coloration and pattern of the youngsters was extremely intensive. They had
a total length of about 37.5 cm and weighted about 40 g at hatching. The
rearing was easy.