Varanus tristis

Varanus World.

Varanus tristis.

Common name:   Black headed monitor.

Subgenus:            Odatria.

Described:             1839 Schlegel.

Tristis is a larger member of the Odatria genus, and can reach a length up to 80cm.


We keep our group of tristis in a tall cage with the following measurements, 125x90x135cm ( length X wide X high ). Tristis is a active lizard, and will use the entire cage, so we create as much usable surface aea as possible for them. The usable surface is achieved by fake a rockwall and cork tubes.

 The substrate we use is a sandy soil that gets a bit hard when dry, but not too hard, so the females can still dig in it to make a nest for egglaying.

Light / heat.

LED tubes combined with LED projector are used as main lights.

UV light is provided by a single UV tube with a reflector.

Basking light is a normal halogen flood bulb.

 The daytime temperature inside the cage is 28-32c.

Basking area should be 48-50c.


Tristis is known to eat other lizards and insects in the wild. It is not possible for us to give them a larger amount of lizards as a stable diet, so our food for our tristis is made up by the following: grasshoppers, superworms, dubia, makes up the main part of the diet. We sometimes supplement the diet with day old chick pieces,snails, chicken heart and mussels.

Typical resting position of a gravid female.

Babies hatching.