Reptile import-export and breeding since 1993

BION Events The breeding of Yellow-headed Water Monitor ( VARANUS CUMINGI ) breeding at BION Terrarium Center

The breeding of Yellow-headed Water Monitor ( VARANUS CUMINGI ) breeding at BION Terrarium Center

The Yellow-headed Water Monitor (Varanus cumingi) is one of the smallest members of Varanus salvator group, and one of the most bright-colored and attractive. It inhabits mangroves and tropic moist forest of Philippines(endemic species to Philippines islands), but can also be found in modified habitats in low- to mid- elevations. The density of populations is quite low.


Adult lizards usually attain a length of about 150 cm. The basic coloration of adults is dark with yellow bands mostly yellow head.

 AS other monitors V. cumingi is a diurnal  predaceous species. It’s preferable prey on fish, but small-scale rodents, lizards, amphibians, arthropods etc. could be eaten as well. Generally, we have fragmentary information about biology of these interesting  monitors.

The breeding in captivity of V. cumingi was successful several times, but still remains the significant event.

We recieved a pair of Yellow-headed water monitors as juveniles at 2013.  The first breeding in BION took place at 2015.

Keeping conditions

The size of enclosure is 150x100x100cm .

Substrate: bark pieces, leaf litter, wood scrap (from deciduous trees). The layer’s thickness is about 8 cm, providing a possibility of scrabbling.

Decoration: large water container about 25-30 cm depth, with filter, is provided necessary for drinking and swimming. The temperature of water is from 23 to 26 º C.

Illumination: full spectrum lamp. Day length from April till July is usually 14 hours, and from August till March 7 hours.

Temperature and heating: full spectrum lamp OSRAM 300 W provides 50º C  at  basking spot. UV light is  important for young animals, so we use UV lamp synchronous with full spectrum lamp. Temperature at the enclosure is 27-28º C at night and 28-32º C during daytime.

 Humidity: 60-80%.

Diet: adult animals receive rats, mice, fish, pieces of chicken hearts and eggs of quail. We feed them twice a week.

 Mineral supplements: 000.

Hibernation: gradually lowering of temperature and day length starts in October. Two weeks of wintering pass with the 24º C temperature and 7 hours day lighting. After the cold period, we return gradually heating and lighting   to the summer level. The warm period begins in April.


According our experience V.cumingi in captivity become mature at the age of 2.5 years.

Breeding season begin in April, when we start observing mating, and lasts up to July. Male is quite aggressive then, and can even injure female quite serious(personal observation)! So, female needs more shelters during this period.

The first clutch we  in July 2015=5 eggs, 4 hathlings

Temperature of incubation: 29-30º C

Duration of incubation: 200-204 days.

Humidity during incubation: 70-90% (a drop of water should appear on the surface of substrate ( vermiculate)  after pressing ).


Hatching of each egg takes over 3 days. Youngs are aggressive, and we keep them separately, at the conditions, common to adult’s ones.

Their SV length was about 120 mm, with total 33 cm, weight is 30-36 g.

We keep young animals in plastic boxes.

Substrate: paper towels.

Humidity: babies need spraying on a daily base  + a water bowl.

Feeding: crickets and pieces rat meat, every second day.

Calcium supplement is offered with every feeding.


Till this moment, only problems with traumatized female took place in our lab during mating seazon. Surgery helped to cure animal.

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