I got a Savanana Monitor and was wondering if anyone else has one and..
March 25, 2008 9:55am CST
was wondering how to care for it the best. We have had other lizards, but they all ate greens, and this one is a meat eater and was wondering what others feed their Monitors. He is not tame and my son is working with him daily, but we just got him yesterday. I read that they are the smartest of all lizards, so what can I teach him to do and how can I really tell if it is male or female? He is about 2 feet long also. Any advice would be great. We have him in a huge tank right now and want to build a bigger one this summer. Would he do well when it starts getting really warm outside to put into an outside enclosure? Thanks so much in advance.
• United States
25 Mar 08
Here is a sight that might help. It also has pictures. http://aqualandpetsplus.com/Lizard,%20Monitors%20Savannah.htm Taming: Your monitor should be allowed to become accustomed to its surroundings(acclimated) before starting the taming process. This may take a couple of weeks or so, depending on the lizard that you have selected. It should be feeding on a regular basis, and appear to not be too "stressed out". With young lizards, it's a good idea to start by handling them and petting them on the neck and sides. This should be done for brief periods every day, a few times a day. How tame your lizard will become will depend on how much time you spend handling them, and the general personality of the lizard you have selected. In our experience, Savannahs tend to be very sweet and docile if handled frequently when they are young, and they can become almost like a dog. Young animals are usually tamed much easier. Some monitors, no matter how much they are handled, will remain wary and aggressive. This is why you really need to carefully choose a good "pet" candidate, when first purchasing a lizard. Housing: When selecting an enclosure for your monitor, you will want to buy one as large as possible to start. A 30 gallon to 55 gallon tank is a good size to start for a young Savannah monitor. The general rule for sizing a cage is one and a half to two or more times the lizard from nose to base of tail in length, two thirds to one times the lizard in width, and one to one and a half times the lizard in height. When your monitor reaches adult size, it will be necessary to either purchase or build a custom cage. The bigger the better as far as cage size goes. These lizards tend to become overweight and lazy if not given the opportunity to move around and get enough exercise. If you're lucky enough to have an extra room you can "lizard proof", this is another option. Costom cages: built out of plywood with plexiglass in the front, vents on the top and sides, lighting and heating fixtures, and a hinged locking door on the top. Whether you decide to build your own or have someone else build it for you, remember to make sure the cage is secure and has a locking door of some sort. Savannahs are very smart, very strong, and very good at escaping. Once they figure out how to get out, they will continue to do it over and over until the problem is fixed. A simple and easy-to-clean cage is the best thing, especially for adult Savannah Monitors. Unless you have the room and the time, overly decorated cages can be a pain to keep clean and maintain. These lizards "poop" often and in large amounts. They will also probably dig up, trample, or shred any plants or decorations that you put in their cage. There are several types of ground cover that you can use for Savannah Monitor cages. Use artificial turf, It can be cut to fit, taken out and washed when dirty, and inexpensively replaced when worn out. Other types of ground cover that we have used are wood chips and newspaper. If using wood chips, avoid using cedar since it is toxic. Newspaper is definitely the easiest, and probably the cleanest option if changed frequently when dirty. Your Savannah be provided with some type of shelter. They enjoy having a place to go where they can feel safe and enjoy some privacy. You can use cork bark shelters and cardboard box shelters. You can also build them a shelter out of wood, or use an enclosed kitty litter box or something similar. Savannah monitors come from a hot, fairly dry climate. They need to be kept pretty warm in captivity also. The daytime temperature should reach 85-95 degrees fahrenheit during the day, and about 10 to 15 degrees cooler at night. You will need a thermometer in the cage to keep track of the temperature. Heat during the day can be provided with basking lights. You can also use heat tape, reptile heating pads, and hot rocks to supplement the light heat. Heating pads and hot rocks should be checked often to make sure they are not getting hot enough to burn your lizard(105 degrees and above can cause burns). Savannah monitors are active during the day, so they should be provided with between 12 and 14 hours of daylight. At night, your monitor can be kept warm with infrared lights, ceramic heat emitters, heat tape, or some sort of reptile-safe heating pad. It's really up to you what you prefer. Be sure to follow all directions on heating and lighting equipment to avoid a fire hazard. Your lizard's cage should be kept clean for the sake of their health and well-being. Feces should be cleaned up as soon as possible after your lizard defecates, and the cage should be cleaned and disinfected thoroughly at least once a week. It is best to use a disinfectant solution made specifically for animals, preferably reptiles. Feeding: Savannah monitors are usually pretty eager feeders, unless they are sick or in breeding season. Juvenile monitors(1 foot to adult size) can be fed one to four adult mice twice a week. Adult monitors(3 feet and up) should be fed twice a week. You will have to use your judgment to determine how much to feed them. They tend to eat more than is good for them if given the chance. Feed small to medium-sized rats, one or two per feeding depending on the size of the rodent. Use canned cat food occasionally, but don't offer it as a staple diet. Cat food is very rich and fattening and can cause diarrhea. Some monitors seem to also like ZuPreem Tegu and Monitor food. Feed this to them only on occasion, and it doesn't seem to cause the runny stools like cat food. Also supplement there diet with crickets. They seem to enjoy them, and chasing the crickets around also encourages them to exercise. If Savannah monitors are not allowed to exercise enough and fed too much, they will get VERY fat. This is not good for them, in fact it can shorten their life span. On the other hand, if young Savannahs are fed only small amounts of food while they are growing, they can become stunted. Most healthy Savannahs will eat at any opportunity, and like many of us humans, they will eat more than is good for them if given the chance! Again, you will have to use your judgment to decide what feeding regimen is best for your lizard. Savannah monitors also drink water regularly, and enjoy soaking if provided with a large enough container of water. Your lizard should have water available at all times, and the water bowl should be cleaned and disinfected frequently. HOPE THIS HELPS!
• United States
25 Mar 08
WOW, thank you SO much. I am going to print all of this out for my son to keep on hand also. He is 17 and it is in his room. The other owner had told me NOT to give his crickets and I thought that it would be good for them to have and chase around. We have a big tank, way over 55 gallons. I like the newspaper idea and will be a lot easier to clean up also. The other owner also would feed him chicken, hot dogs, pork chops, whatever meat they were eatting.
22 Jul 08
i live in the uk and my monitor is about 3ft hes about 3 years old i have had him for 9 months and hes grown his in a 6ft viv at the time being as he stole it of my bearded dragons. in the summer when it is worm anough i do let my monitor run around the garden i have an outside area wich is lizard proof but i will not leave him out over night bcouse of the temprature drop he also has a lead and harnis and he comes to the shops and i take him to the woods with the dog. eddy (the monitor) loves being outside so when i finnish off his new viv of 12ft by 6ft by 8ft high i am also making a hatch wich i can lock for him to get into the outside area. my lizard was on a diet of monster mice and the occasional day old chicks but now hes 3ft i have mooved him onto mid rats and when he gets fully grown he will go to full size rats. yes u can taame them it takes time and effort it took me 3 months to train him to come to call he knows his name and verry frendley. the peaple i kno who keep all sorts of monitors say he is the most placid monitor they have seen. it takes alot of handerling and alot of pationts with them but u get thear in the end. i hope this has been some help to you and wish me luck coz my next lizard is a white throught mopnitor wich is one of the largest ones u can own.