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Six black tree monitor lizards have hatched at Newquay Zoo. Staff are delighted with the 100% success rate, as it’s very unusual for all the eggs in a clutch to develop into healthy youngsters.

This is the third clutch for parents Django and Cora since the pair arrived at Newquay Zoo in 2010. Hatched between the 14th and 18th April, the infant monitor lizards are thriving. This species is native to the Aru Islands of New Guinea, Indonesia. Although not endangered the species is vulnerable to habitat loss and capture for use in the pet trade.

At 6 weeks old the infant monitor lizards are growing quickly and are being kept in individual enclosures off show, where they will remain for the next few months. In due course they will be rehomed to other BIAZA collections.

Senior keeper Gareth O’Dare and his team are really pleased with the progress of the six, and are particularly impressed with the survival rate: “During incubation so much can go wrong, often resulting in weak hatchlings, death in egg or death shortly after hatching - but this clutch remained healthy throughout with no discolouring, swelling or collapsing of eggs, resulting in six large healthy baby monitors.”

The breeding pair was separated and left off show for two months before the clutch was laid in January. Once found, the eggs were incubated separately for 132 days to give the hatchlings the very best chance of survival. The first hatchling to emerge was born on the 14th with the last of the six to hatch on the 18th April.

Black tree monitors are naturally solitary animals native to the Aru Islands of New Guinea in Indonesia. They can be found living in trees in the rainforests and mangrove swamps, eating a diet of invertebrates and the occasional small mammal. Animal staff at the Zoo have attempted to keep both the diet and habitat of the species as close to natural as possible, allowing them to demonstrate natural behaviours such as basking and climbing.

Newquay Zoo has four adult black tree monitors, three male and one female. The charity has bred a total of twelve since 2015. Staff are looking forward to developing the species further in coming years.

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