Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My Green tree monitors (Varanus prasinus)

I got my first V. prasinus this year in April as an early birthday present to myself. I have always wanted one ever since I first saw a picture of one many years ago. Back then they were terribly expensive(thousands of dollars) and I didn't have room for one. They are still expensive but not out of reach and now I have my own house. This first one I got was a captive born and bred(CBB) baby male. CBB V.prasinus are very hard to find because not many people have success breeding them here in the USA. As soon as I saw him on an internet ad I knew I had to get him, I was afraid of not finding another CBB baby for a long time. I was so scared in the beginning, worrying if he would be ok during shipping, would he dart out of the box and get lost when I opened it, and hoping that he would adjust to his cage once he came to my house. I had also heard they were a very delicate and skittish species so I was worried about that too. Well I had nothing to worry about at all. When he came, I opened the box and opened the bag he was in and he crawled right out on to my hand and looked at me. It was like he was sizing me up and not sure if he should run but at the same time he was curiously bold. He then started to stick out his tongue and check me out. He did not seem afraid at all. I put him in his cage and he drank water when I misted him and then went over to the food bowl and started eating crickets! I was amazed! He seemed right at home as if he had not just spent the last 24 hours in a box. He then wanted to come out. He would follow me as I walked in front of the glass. He would try to jump at me through the glass too. I couldn't take it so I opened the lid and stuck my hand in there. He walked over to it and then climbed right up and out of the cage and sat on my shoulder! I just couldn't believe it! He started to walk all over me checking me out, in my hair, around my neck and even flicked his tongue on my face for a few minutes. I put him back in the cage after about ten minutes because I was worried about him adjusting/stress from being shipped. He still wanted to come back out. Kept trying to come out the rest of the day every time he saw me. He still acts like this today. He is very friendly/curious. He likes to jump on me a lot when I get close enough for him to make it. I think it's funny. He follows me too. I named him Emeril. I absolutely love him, he is my spoiled rotten baby. In May I saw another ad for a juvenile V.prasinus that was wild caught. It looked to be a female and it was beautiful! I decided that if Emeril was so curious and outgoing maybe if I got a young wild caught one it would not be as afraid as an adult and might be like Emeril eventually, but if it wasn't that would be ok too. Well I had nothing to worry about again. After getting her she tried getting away when she came out of the bag but I just put my hand in front of her and she settled and looked at me. She just sat there staring at me while on my arm. I put her in her new quarantine home(not with Emeril) and she drank when I misted her and then went to her food bowl and ate crickets! Reminded me of when I got Emeril. She was not afraid to eat in front of me and did not try to hide from my view. She was not as active as Emeril was, just mostly basking and walking around, looking at me and looking at things in the room. The next day I saw her wanting to come out. I stuck my hand in there and she would walk over but not climb up. She was curious but still unsure of me. I slowly slid my hand under her and lifted her out and she sat there looking at me. I was ready for her to bolt at least that would make sense because she did come from the wild and should be afraid of me. She did not though. She sat there for a few minutes and then started walking around on me very slowly as if she still wasn't very sure about me but she was more curious than scared. She checked me out just like Emeril did but slower, more carefully, delicately. After 10 minutes I put her back in the cage. After a few days of this she started coming out on her own when I would stick my hand in the cage. She would beg to come out and just climb up my arm onto my shoulder! Her name is Jade and she is just as friendly/curious as Emeril is. These monitors do not seem skittish or shy at all to me. Both monitors are very spoiled and beg to come out and be held every day. I let them run around on my living room furniture, my fake 6ft tree(which they both jump out of and onto me frequently) and a vine/hanging branch hung across my ceiling. They love to crawl on me and anyone else that is around. They use me like I'm a tree, lol! They climb up and down my body and sometimes go in my clothes. I recently tried hand feeding them and they have no problem with it and actually prefer sitting on me to eat nasty roaches:( I do not like roaches by the way(something about living in FL and dealing with palmetto bugs!). They are very good at taking food and have never bitten me by accident or anything. I do feed the roaches with the tongs most of the time but sometimes I will do it with my fingers. I feed them crickets and superworms with my fingers sometimes too. They still have the food bowl in their cage they eat out of also. Jade is now done with quarantine and her and Emeril live together. At first she seemed annoyed with him because he was always nosing her and climbing on her checking her out. It's funny because she would just put her head down and submit, she is actually bigger than him and could get away if she wanted. Now they are fine and act as if they had always been together. It's really cute because they sleep in the bird house together and bask together even though there is more than one basking area. It's funny to watch them too because now they both try to get out at the same time when they see people and when I stick my arm in the cage they both jump and climb up at the same time, sometimes climbing over each other while getting to my shoulder. They both climb everywhere! I absolutely love these curious, friendly and bold tree monitors! I can't wait to get more, I'm hooked! Hopefully I will get lucky and Emeril and Jade will breed for me when they become adults:)

This is Emeril the day I first got him

This is Jade the day I first got her(a little skinny)

This is them basking together in front of the back patio door(Emeril is the smaller one)

Peaking out of the birdhouse:)

Jade on me

In since getting these Green tree monitors (V.prasinus) they have become my all time favorite species! I love their personalities!