Varanus melinus is a member of the subgenera Euprepiosaurus. It is very close related to V. indicus, but it is very easyly to be distinguished by the yellow coloration.
LENGTH: This species can reach a total length of 80-120 cm.
COLORATION: The coloration of the head, back, legs, and tail is a bright yellow. A black reticulation starts at the lower third of the neck and is most prominent at the body. There some yellow spots, sometimes forming yellow ocelli, are ordered in regular cross row over the back. The tail is banded alternately black and yellow on the first two thirds, getting more pale in the lower third. The underside from head, throat, body, legs, and tail uniformly pale yellow, only on the throat a light black reticulation is visible. 124-130 scales are around midbody. The nostril is situated closer to the tip of the snout than to the eye. The tongue is uniformly light pink.
DISTRIBUTION: restricted to the the island of Obi in the Moluccas, Indonesia. But because these data are only known by the dealer, who shipped some animals over to Germany and the USA, it is no sure, that it is correct (BÖHME & ZIEGLER 1997). It is also reported, that V. melinus might occur on the Sula Islands, western Moluccas. V. melinus also might occur on Taliabu, Bowokan, and Banggai Island.
FOOD/ HABITAT: Meat almost any kind, eggs (cooked so the risk of Salmonella is lowered), mice, rats, crickets (when small), fish, giant meal worms and I have found that canned cat food is similar enough to the canned monitor/tegu food to be fed. They are scavengers also so if you see that they don�t eat right away don�t be alarmed. I feed her twice a week but it can vary on size and what you are giving, if you give a big meal don�t feed them the next day if it�s a small meal maybe feed in another day or 2.
IN CAPTIVITY: Because Varanus melinus became known to the public and science only some years ago (BÖHME & ZIEGLER 1997) only very little is known of the captive husbandry of this monitor lizard.
DEDLMAR & BÖHME (2000) desccribed the first capive reproduction of this monitor. They kept 2.4 specimen in several enclosures, each measuring 180 x 110 x 200 cm with a water basin measuring 125 x 110 x 50 cm. The side and the back walls are covered with cork plates. Some big trunks and some plastic plants are for climbing and shelter for the animals.
Mice and big locusts build the major diet for the monitors. Live fish were never taken, but fish fillets and prawns were always welcome.
In April 1999 one of the females laid two unfertile eggs. The same female laid again 6 eggs inAugust of the same year. All eggs were fertile and after an incubation of 168-171 days at an incubation temperature of 28.5°C five babies hatched. The other one just died about 10 days before hatching. The offspring had a total length of 210-220 mm and had a body mass of 21-23 g. Some days after hatching the youngsters started to feed on house crickets. About one month later the first pinkie mice were offerd and taken. No further problems were reported.
Can grow up to Five feet long in total. There are black spots on the body and the tail can be banded. The teeth are really shapr and can draw blood easily but the bites don’t hurt much.
They’re skittish and handling them can calm them down. Catching them wild might take them longer to calm down. They still want to run and hide.
They have long sharp claws that will scratch your arms. Tail whipping and bowel evacuation are also defense mechanisms. Males have hemipenal bulges and females don’t.
WATER NEEDS: A Large water dish big enough for them to swim in, which needs to be changed daily as they will get it filthy with dirt and feces. They love to dig and create burrows. 3 or 4 feet of soil or soil mix would be good. Include a hide box and include lots of branches. They love to climb. The bigger the tank/enclosure the better.
LIGHTING: I have a combination strip light with florescent and incandescent light bulbs. Never go over the suggested wattage of the light fixture. Day cycle should be on around 10-12 hours and the night cycle should allow for cooling, but not too much. The light bulbs should be ones made for reptiles so they get the added UVA/UVB that is important for proper health.
TEMPERATURE: A basking spot of up to 125 or more. The rest of the tank should be from around 95 to 80 and the humidity should be kept high.